For many churches, we know we’re supposed to reach and evangelize our communities, but the people… they’re so…. Different! It feels like we have nothing in common with them. While evangelizing in today’s very sensitive and contentious society can be intimidating, we can’t let that stop us from obeying God.
How Do You Shepherd A Large Flock?
I recently attended a church service where a pastor admitted they have always taken the perspective of “people are responsible for themselves. If they choose not to engage and participate, it’s not our problem.” That same pastor also admitted that he and the rest of the staff are haunted by Colossians 1:28 and the call to “present everyone fully mature in Christ.” They struggle with getting attendee engagement at the church. Thousands attend; maybe 40% of them are in small groups, and a far lower percentage volunteer. They’re trying to figure out how to improve engagement, and their new strategy is still to offer small groups/classes and wait for people to sign up. The difference now is how frequently they talk about small groups and serving.
Just like football has its “Super Day” every year, many churches view Easter Sunday as their “Super Day” for reaching out to the community. People who only come a few times a year are getting their “Sunday Best” ready and you want them at your church! For those of us who have been in ministry for any amount of time, we lovingly have words like “Creaster” or “CEO” (Christmas and Easter Only) for the people who only show up twice a year.
The New Year is a great time for your church leadership to meet and set goals for your next year of ministry, and to lay down the framework for how those goals will be achieved.
Guests come to your church for many reasons, with many different interests and goals. That means they’ll have different questions they need answered as they decide to join your church. How do you give people answers to the questions they’re asking, and also the questions they haven’t yet asked, but soon will? Like a hammer in the hands of a skilled carpenter, Guest Welcome Packets can be a wonderful part of your Guest Ministry if you use them to their fullest potential.
It seems in our post-Christian culture that the courage (or perhaps even willingness) to share our faith is becoming rare. Why is that? Why is sharing our faith so challenging for most people? I suspect the answer is “sharing your faith”or “evangelizing people” are such a nebulous phrases. What does it mean? When do you do it? What do you say? How do we teach people how to do it? How do we normalize it?
We know we want our churches to be healthy and experience growth. Sustained growth means we are consistently reaching new hearts for Christ! But with roughly 80% of US churches experiencing decline, what is keeping our churches from growing?
While many of us would agree that prayer is an essential part of the believer’s life sadly it’s usually not the first place we turn when we experience hardship. It’s our nature to turn to someone or something tangible I think when stuff hits the fan…we are more inclined to talk with a spouse, friend or mentor. Why?
If you were to ask ten people in your congregation what your churches vision is what would they say? How about ten random people in the community? I always loved Andy Stanley’s definition of vision:
“Vision is a mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be.”
Perhaps more than ever there are people analyzing the health of the Christian Church in real time.