In church ministry today, many people get caught up with different programs thinking that they are going to help the church grow. Sometimes, all it does is keep church people really busy. I think we have that backwards. When a church planting pastor goes into a community, he doesn’t sit in his office all day and dream up great programs for his as of yet non-existent church. He gets out into the community. As church leaders, we should be involved in areas of the community that have nothing to do with our church! Where else do you meet people who don’t know the Lord and who need to meet HIM? It doesn’t matter what it is. Be a Boy Scout leader, a Girl Scout leader, join a yacht club, speed skating team, car club, bag piper band, gym, rock climbing group, or even a political party. The point is to get involved in things that are NOT church related. Then you have friends who you can invite to church, and they won’t be just skipping church where they attend to come visit yours.
Archive for the 'church growth' Category
My church is exploding! We are one of those crazy churches that plants new campuses because people are driving from far away. Last night, we announced three new church campus plants. (FYI Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach and Greenwood all in SC) One of the things that is often asked of our senior pastor and the leadership team is, “What is your system?” While there is no doubt that a ton of planning goes into every service and every series, there isn’t a “system” for explosive growth in the church. Well, there is one and it is quite simple. Do whatever God tells you to do. That’s it. Do whatever God tells you to do. There is no guarantee that your ministry will suddenly have thousands of people just because you follow that, but I will guarantee you that if you do whatever God tells you to do, you won’t be wrong. When you stand before the Lord having done what He told you to, having shown as many people as possible the way to a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, it will be a good thing.
In the book The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, the first line is “It is not about you”. As leaders, this is even more important to remember. It isn’t about us. We must be constantly working ourselves out of a job by forming up leaders who will step into our shoes, take over parts of our ministry, and not only replace us, but go above and beyond what we ever dreamed possible. If we aren’t training up those leaders, what we end up with is the second generation blah blah blah movement. Churches are a great example. Think of a dying church in your area, every community has one. There are 5-15 people attending, it hasn’t grown in years and the congregation is literally dying off of old age. That church didn’t start that way! Someone had a great vision for your community! They got out there and did the hard work! They spread the gospel and reached people for the Lord! The church grew, built a building and loved on lots of people with the love of Jesus…then that leader moved or died. The next generation just did what the leader had done, but not quite as well, and without quite as much enthusiasm. Passion for God was replaced with “That is the way we have always done it.” …and the church began to die. Train up great leaders so that when you are gone, they continue with the passion for the dream God has given you!
Over the last few weeks, God has been challenging me to do what I can to help some of the small churches in my area. My own church is not small at all, but I know that there are tons of pastors out there struggling with churches with less than 30 people in them. Do I have an exact plan? No, I must admit, I don’t. If you have any suggestions, or are a pastor of one of those churches and would like to have lunch with me or have me come and speak at your church, feel free to contact me.
We have all had challenges in our lives, but my question is, what is God challenging you with LATELY? We can’t rest on what God took us through last year, or a decade ago, or when we were teenagers. (Unless you are a teen now…in which case, I hope God is challenging you to do great things for HIM!)
The Sunday School lessons about David always included a lesson on David and Goliath, but did you ever spend much time talking about David’s fight with the Lion or the Bear over the sheep? If he had backed down then, I wonder if he would have had the chance to fight Goliath? For more on that idea click here .
I am proposing to my college a “new” idea to make us a Kindle Campus. All books, or at least all general education class books would be available as Kindle Downloads that way students wouldn’t have to carry around a backpack full of books anymore. (Sorry to The North Face company and other backpack makers.) This involves a change in the way teachers think about a text book. Can we now embed video in the middle of a text book? Can we make it so that students can click on difficult words and it gives them a definition? I know this isn’t a “churchy” post, but as a church, are we looking for new and innovative ways to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people or are we like many professors who want to keep teaching the way they have always taught. If you haven’t made creativity and innovation a part of your gospel presentation, then you are missing the boat! If you sit back and wonder why people are falling asleep in the service, maybe it is because nothing is there to get their attention. No, I am not saying you have to have lights and smoke just to keep people entertained. I am saying that to bring people to the Lord, the same methods that worked in 1950, might no longer be the most effective. Try something new!
For more ideas, don’t forget to check out the “In Search of the Great Pastor Conference” coming up in February!
This morning, I am a little sore…no, not upset or miffed, just physically, some of my muscles are complaining. Two days ago, a friend wanted some help moving a piano. Now, for those of you who move pianos all the time, this is no big deal, but to myself who am a teacher for a living, lifting a 1/2 ton piano was more than I am used to lifting in the average day. Are we like that as a church? Are we so not used to doing the “heavy lifting” in this world that when it does happen, it causes pain? When we have to reach out to others in our community, is that so out of the ordinary that it makes the church groan a bit? If so, there is a solution, just like my own situation. Just like I can decide to either stay out of shape or hit the gym so that I won’t feel this weak next time someone needs my arms to help move a piano, the church can sit back and say “We won’t do that again.” or get the congregation used to stepping out of the comfort zone until it becomes natural and normal…then you have to up the workout!
The secret to reviving a dead church at the base level is simple. People must fall in love with God to the point that their love is contagious! Have you ever noticed how on a personal level, there are people that you like to be around? They inspire you to be a better you. There are also people that make you cringe when you see them coming. Admit it, there are those negative people that inspire you to be a better you by getting out of there as quickly as possible. Churches are the same. Is your church one that inspires people to live and love like Jesus? Or is it more the discouraging church that drives people away? Before I get any hate mail, I am not talking about watering down the gospel so as not to offend people. If the WORD OF GOD offends people, they need to be offended, but when the church offends them, then the church has a problem to fix. Beg God that your church can be one that is making a difference in your community through the contagious love of Jesus Christ! When that is taking place, you will no longer be a dead church!
When Church planters enter a community, they usually do some research first. They figure out where the people are, where they can meet the needs of the people they intend to reach etc… In established churches, sometimes the community changes while we aren’t paying attention. Maybe we need to take a walk around the neighborhood with some new eyes. Plant a new church within the established church! Rose White (Sorry Rose, I don’t have a link to you on the internet) recently did some incredible research into the idea of the “Christo-centric Walkabout” finding where people would and wouldn’t go in a city and why people might find certain areas or even churches “inaccessible”. Has your church become inaccessible to the people of the community where it is located? Do changes need to be made so that you can meet the people where they are in order to create relationships in which the Gospel of Jesus can be shared? Maybe it is time for a Walkabout…or even just a walk around the neighborhood with your eyes open to how God would have you reach the people there.
Last night, as I thought about the sermon for this Sunday, a question popped in my head, really a series of questions. It is a survey of sorts. Since I am not the pastor of this church, just a guest speaker, my feeling is that if they hate me for it, that is fine. If the question gets some attention from them, then it was worth it. Here is the question series.
- How many of you have come to Christ in the last month?
- Last 2 months?
- Last year?
- Last two years?
- Last 5 years?
- 10 years?
My guess, sadly, is that in the first few questions, there may not be many hands going up. My second question then is “Why not?” If people will really ask that question and then do something about the answer, I believe we could have real revival and watch God do some incredible work in this country! Would you ask your church these questions? Would you be thrilled with the results, or does the idea terrify you? Oh, and like a boy scout, be prepared! God is doing AWESOME things in churches that are willing to actively take the gospel to the unbelieving and unchurched around them! You may have to get uncomfortable if/when you start dealing with the “Why not?” question. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!
Henry Ford may not have invented the automobile, but he was quite successful in his creative “new” way of building them. He had an idea to have men specialize in one part of building a car and then pushing it down the line to the next guy to do his part. Back in 1913, it was a brand new idea! Think if car companies hadn’t updated at all since then what we would be driving! The model T was a great car for its day, but most of us would be quite disappointed with going 20 miles per hour on the open road now! In the church, we must be constantly begging God to give us new creativity! We don’t change the message that God has given us! We do change the method in which that message is conveyed. Just as I am sure Henry wouldn’t be content with still cranking out the model T in 2010, we shouldn’t be content to just do things the way they have always been done. I heard a quote recently, “Your organization is perfectly suited to get the results you are getting.” If you don’t like the results your church is getting, then something needs to change, or you will keep getting the same results. Change is scary! Some people won’t like it! Even a model T can be changed to be a hot rod!