Archives For Missions

It’s a waste of time to fish in a spot where fish aren’t biting. Wise fishermen move on. They know that fish eat at different times of the day in different places. To apply this to ministry, you need to focus on the most receptive people in your area.

This is not a marketing principle. It’s a basic New Testament principle. Jesus told it in the parable of the sower. When you sow seed, some of it falls on rocky ground, some on stony ground, some on hard ground, and some on good soil. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what the good soil was and sowed all your seed there? Why waste seed, time, effort, energy and money? It’s God’s job to prepare the soil. It’s our job to sow the seed. You don’t do the soil preparation. God uses all kinds of sovereign things like divorce, crises, death, economic problems, government shutdowns, being out-of-work, a new baby, and a new job to prepare the soil. But God uses you to sow.

The fact is, receptiveness to the Gospel varies widely at different…

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Anyone who has written a book knows the feeling of satisfaction when you finally see your long, hard hours of work make it to the printed page. (It usually takes about a year even after the completed manuscript is turned over to the publisher before the book finally arrives!)

So, I am particularly excited about a book I have been working on for nearly ten years which Wesley Publishing House will soon be releasing—Side Door. It’s my effort to share with church leaders a powerful missional process that has a proven track record in almost every larger growing church today. But the strategy of building church side doors is definitely not limited to larger churches. In fact, it has tremendous potential for medium and smaller sized churches that want to “break the mold” of traditional (and often ineffective) outreach methods, and begin a strategic new missional ministry in their community.

I have reproduced a conversation that recently appeared in the Wesley Publishing House blog about the idea of side doors. I hope you find it instructive in learning more about the principles behind the book, and that you will be encouraged…

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What Crossroads Church in Hinesville, Ga., is doing to obey God and penetrate lostness in Toronto seems crazy. They are, you might say, at a bit of a crossroads and have decided to take the path less traveled.

Crossroads Church is selling their church building and its 16 acres, setting aside more than $1 million and — with no solid prospects of where they’ll meet — continuing to call themselves a church and make plans for future ministry. They have hopes a local school will let them use their space.

The church has designated the funds from the building and property sale for church planting work locally, throughout North America and globally — and has no plans yet to start building anything new. To top it all off they’re sending their pastor, Danny Eason, to another country to start a church just as things were getting good.

Eason and his family are leaving where they’ve been their whole lives and moving to Toronto, a place they’ve been twice. He admits this is a miracle in itself.

“Sometimes I think I am nuts for leaving,” Eason said. “The church is a great church. They’re willing, with…

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New Word: Evange-cipleship

By Greg Stier

evange-cipleshipEvangelism + Discipleship = Evange-cipleship

Okay, the word is kind of corny but it communicates my point. And what is that exactly? Simply this: When teenagers are equipped and unleashed to share their faith it is the ultimate discipleship accelerator.

It’s exactly what Jesus did with his disciples in Matthew 10 immediately after he appointed them as apostles. He chose them as leaders and immediately deployed them as evangelists. What they learned on the road sharing the gospel was infinitely more than any rabbi could ever teach them sitting in a synagogue.

But Jesus did more than deploy them, he trained them along the way.

He taught them to trust him (John 14:1.)

He showed them how to deal with persecution (Matthew 5:11,12.)

He trained them not to be impressed with the “sizzle” of miracles but to be more in awe of the “steak” of salvation (Luke 17:10-20.)

He gave them a crash course in systematic theology as they launched on a 3 year long evangelistic campaign together. He fed them doctrinal meat in bite-sized pieces. It was just the right amount of spiritual protein to fuel their evangelistic efforts and transform them personally at the same…

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100 LargestOutreach Magazine just released their Outreach 100 issue for 2013. LifeWay Researchdoes the research for this issue. I was particularly encouraged to see the list focus especially on fastest growing churches. You can subscribe to the magazine here. Here is my article with a bit of analysis of some of the fastest-growing churches in America.

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Each year at LifeWay Research, we work together with Outreach Magazine to create the Outreach 100 listings of the country’s Fastest-Growing and Largest Churches. On one hand, these lists are one of the most anticipated things we do each year. People seem to eagerly await the lists so they can learn from these churches about what God is doing to build his kingdom across the United States. On the other hand, there are those who complain about the lists. They seem to think this is a way of exalting “big churches” in an effort to make them look better than the churches that are not on the list, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Remember folks: facts are our friends.

I love to learn. I have spent a significant portion of my adult life in the…

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When we planted Grace Church in a local movie theater two years ago, we assumed that one day we would have a more permanent location. Meeting in a theater is not without challenges, and we assumed we’d eventually have a place for offices and more permanent meeting space, etc.

We also had plans (which are currently in process) of sending out a planter and were excited about planting a new church. We think it is essential to plant and to do it early so that multiplication is part of the life of our church.

We think it is essential to plant and to do it early so that multiplication is part of the life of our church.

However, we did not expect that we would be multiplying our local campus so soon.

None of us could have expected how that would happen. But last week, we announced the launch of a new second campus of Grace Church after Indian Hills Church voted to dissolve and transfer their assets to Grace Church. Their desire was for Grace to start another campus there—and we are glad to do so.

So, now we are launching a new campus. In other…

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StatsI am a trend watcher, particularly among churches in America. I am not particularly insightful or smart; I simply listen and speak to many churches. In fact, through my travels, blog, and other social media, I hear from thousands of church leaders every week.

The three trends I’ve recently noticed are not new. What is new is that a relatively few churches embraced these concepts a few years ago. Today, they are becoming normative. These three approaches have moved from the category of “exception” to the category of “mainstream.”

Changing Trend #1: Entry Point or New Member Classes

When I wrote High Expectations in 1999, I talked about the very early trend of churches requiring a class before granting membership to someone. In other words, a membership class was an emerging facet of expectations for church members.

Today, membership classes are pervasive. In an informal survey I did this year of churches with over 250 in worship attendance, more than 80 percent had some type of entry point class as a requisite for membership. In 1999, that number would have been less than 10 percent.

Changing Trend #2: Churches with Multiple Venues

I have to admit that the growth…

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Planting New Gospel ChurchesDid you know that only 4% of 46,000 Southern Baptist Churches are directly involved and connected to planting new gospel churches? If this is true in a missional convention of churches like the Southern Baptist Convention, I wonder what it is like among all evangelical denominations or networks of churches? Yes, when a Southern Baptist Church contributes through the Cooperative Program of the convention, these contributing churches are indirectly involved in church planting. I am calling for churches to not only do this, but directly be connected to planting new gospel churches. Why?

Gospel Churches Plant Gospel Churches

Since January, we have been preaching through the book of Acts. Again and again, we see the biblical precedence of planting churches. When the apostles went into towns, cities, and regions where the gospel had never been before, they won people to Christ and planted a gospel church immediately.

Gospel advancement and gospel community were both a significant part of the churches discussed in the book of Acts. It appears, at times, that it is difficult to separate the advancement of the gospel and the planting of a new gospel community or church. For…

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Role of Campus PastorThis past week I was contacted by a minister that was getting ready to start his new role of Campus Pastor at a multisite church in 2014. He asked me to share with him what my week looked like, my responsibilities and explain the role of the Campus Pastor. Believe it or not, this is something I do often and will be doing more in the future as a resource and partner on my friend Scott Williams’ new website: campuspastor.tv.

Basically, I told this future Campus Pastor that it all comes down to people. I spend my time with, for, helping, serving, leading, training and equipping people. How is this different from a Senior Pastor? I guess I would say it’s the amount of extra time I have for investing in personal relationships. A good portion of a Senior Pastor’s week is locked away in a study preparing a sermon for Sunday. That’s the hard reality of his job. I don’t have that pressure. What I do have is time. Time for people.

I counsel, I shepherd, I lead, I invest, I build teams, I work on strategy, vision,…

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Reaching MillennialsI recently had a conversation with a church leader about how to reverse the declining attendance of their 20-somethings audience.  This same conversation is most-likely happening at thousands of churches across the globe.

There has been much information written on this subject.  Most solutions to retaining this generation fall into four categories:

  • Creating a new type of creative and more relevant worship service.
  • Becoming more cause-minded.
  • Incorporating social media.
  • Being authentic and real.

While I agree these four solutions are necessary, we need to look even deeper into millennials and how they are feeling.  Many experts feel 20-somethings are apathetic.

I want to propose to you that millennials are not just apathetic.  Millennials are angry.

This theory flows from a September 2013 Fast Company article featuring comments from Nancy Lublin, CEO of Something.org, and Umair Haque, director of Havas Media Labs.  They are experts in helping companies adapt and better understand social change, causes, the needs of millennials and how to more effectively engage them as customers.

Their insights are something all pastors and church leaders can learn from in creating churches angry millennials love to attend.

  • Angry Millennials Will Love Churches Who Admit The World Is Broken – Whether it is…

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Requirements for Church PlantersStarting new churches is one of the best ways to reach new people and introduce them to Jesus. When done right, with the right people, in the right place, and at the right time, God can do remarkable things through what is commonly called “church planting.”

In the past thirty years or so of ministry, I’ve had the pleasure of being directly involved as the senior pastor in two church plants and indirectly involved as a team member in three others. I’ve watched it done with God’s favor and wisdom, and I’ve also seen it done poorly too. Through all of these experiences, I’ve learned a lot.

There are many qualifications for success, but here are what I consider to be the top ten non-negotiable requirements for those called to plant a church:

  1. A clear call to church planting which is confirmed by other leaders and pastors who know them and have worked closely with them.
  2. A supportive spouse and a stable, healthy marriage and family.
  3. A strong emotional resilience. (Without it, they won’t likely survive.)
  4. A heart for evangelism with a proven gift and ability to reach the lost.
  5. A capable teacher who is…

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Young Adults Leaving ChurchKANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Why young adults leave the church is one of the most vexing questions facing the church today.

A LifeWay Christian Resources survey from 2007 indicated that 70 percent of 18–22-year-olds stop attending church for at least one year. Surveys by The Barna Group repeatedly have shown that a majority of 20-year-olds leave church, often never to return.

Citing a recent study by the Brookings Institution, author Rachel Held Evans recently suggested, in essence, that millennials are leaving evangelical churches in search of more progressive fellowships because of dissonance with the more conservative doctrinal stances and cultural convictions of their former congregations.

Yet it seems to reason that if compromising biblical convictions attracted millennials, then mainline denominations would be teeming with young adults. On the contrary, mainline churches are proof positive that liberal theology does not magnetically draw young adults to church.

Causation for young adults exiting the church has been studied for decades, yet little has been accomplished in the way of reversing it. As a Gospel preacher, seminary president and father of five young children, to me this is more than a theoretical concern.

At the risk…

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