Archives For Missions

Exhausted

The pastor, church leaders and members are wrung-out-exhausted after all the extra preparations for Easter Sunday. Some planned Good Friday service, egg hunt, breakfast, sunrise event. Extra effort was put into greeters and music and invitation counselors. One church painted their entire interior. It was all worth the effort. God was honored.

People came. In droves! New people. Missing members. Strangers. Many of them don’t really go to church often, but they came on Easter. Maybe it was for grandma or the kids, but God tickled something in their hearts to entice them to worship Him on Easter Sunday.

They could have ignored the guest card, but for some reason, many guests completed it. Deep down, they knew it might trigger some type of follow up.

So now they wait.

You’re exhausted…They’re waiting.

When we exert huge effort to make Easter special but fail to do immediate follow-up, it’s like planning a grand party but forgetting to attend. The critical work begins now!

Here are three simple follow-up tips you can still accomplish before Sunday.

#1 – Send an email. On Saturday, write a brief, personal email to every guest or rare attender who came. Send a copy…

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Keep Out

Growing up, anytime guests were coming to visit, we would “clean house” to get ready. The more important the guest, the more we cleaned up.

Every church (no matter the size, median age, location, or resources) can quickly communicate a lack of concern for visitors by the way they keep their facilities. Here are three quick ways to display a lack of welcoming hospitality:

1)   Don’t change the message on your sign for weeks on end. This is a real pet-peeve of mine. If you are going to have a message-changing sign (or a website for that matter), keep it current. There’s nothing that screams “nobody cares” more than having your fall festival advertised in December.

2)   Leave up old concert posters doors and walls. Seriously, when the event is over, take them down. This is not your teenage daughter’s “brag wall.” When visitors see that you don’t pay attention to detail, they wonder if you will pay attention to them.

3)   Don’t keep-up your facilities and grounds. When someone in your neighborhood lets their yard go uncut and has UPS packages piled up on their front porch, you typically think they are out of town on vacation. Is…

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Big EasterEaster is one of the two biggest weekends for most churches in terms of attendance. I see this as a great opportunity for evangelism to begin and for a relationship to start between your church and all of the visitors who come that Sunday. You should do everything you can to leverage Easter weekend for growth.

At the same time, it’s important not to ‘put all your eggs in the Easter basket.’ What I mean is, Easter is a great starting point for evangelism, but it’s not the finish line, at least not for a purpose driven church. In our culture, it usually takes multiple exposures to the gospel for someone to make a decision to follow Jesus. Let me explain.

Give People More Than One WEEK

Many churches offer a come-forward invitation, which by the way, I used to do myself, Billy Graham, style when I would preach evangelistic crusades. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with altar calls. But often the emphasis is on making a decision in the moment and often there is a…

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Map with pins 

Mission leaders like to talk about Church Planting Movements (CPMs), but I believe it’s unlikely we will ever see one in our current context.

A Church Planting Movement has a specific definition: a movement of church planting characterized by a rapid, even exponential, multiplication of churches within a people group or population segment.

Something like that will be unlikely to happen in the society in which we live. In an industrialized society, like our own, with labor segmentation in place, people assume specialization. Whether we like it or not (and I don’t) people have a hard time seeing the mechanic as the pastor.

This type of thinking hinders an exponential movement, which is why we find CPMs most often in non-industrialized societies. But that doesn’t mean all movements are impossible here. In our context, we should target a different goal.

Church Multiplication Movements happen when the number of churches grow by 50 percent in a given year.

There may be various factors that prevent a Church Planting Movement in our context, but I believe we have seen and can continue to see Church Multiplication Movements. As Warren Bird and I explained in Viral Churches, these Church Multiplication Movements happen…

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Refinery

It’s inevitable. Every single time we publish an article on pastors.com designed to help Pastors lead their churches to grow, people react with defensiveness and pseudo-spiritual comments. Everyone seems quick to point out that “it’s not about numbers,” “bigger doesn’t mean better,” and “my small church matters just as much as your big church.”

Yes. We know. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a small church. Small churches do awesome things for the kingdom and for their communities. And Pastors of churches of fifty people can have just as much integrity and just as much of God’s blessing as Pastors of churches of five thousand. Transfer growth is not a net gain for the church – we need to talk about conversion growth. All true.

Some go even further to imply that if you’re big, you must have gotten big by compromising the gospel or watering down God’s truth. These critics can’t help but grit their teeth when they talk about “thosemegachurches!!”

Here’s the problem. When we celebrate smallness as though growth is optional, we show that we think of the world around us as…

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Rick Angel Stadium

Last week, I wrote about the 9 reasons why your church should make the most of ‘big days’ for growth. And I told you that ‘big days’ have been very instrumental in Saddleback’s growth over the last 34 years. We’ve learned the art of pyramiding growth through special days.

But how? How do we maximize those big days for all they’re worth? Here are nine ways.

1. Plan your big days around your main worship service.

You might host other special events, but if you’re hoping to enlarge your main service attendance, then you will get the most benefit out of big days if they are planned around your existing, primary weekend service(s). It’s very difficult to try to get people who attend a special event during the week to become part of your weekend service.

2.  Plan big days on a naturally high attendance day.

Have your special day on a day when people are most likely to come anyway. They include without a doubt Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas Eve. Those are a…

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Pyramiding

Easter is coming! And it will be one of the most well-attended Sundays for churches this year. Wise church leaders will take advantage of the opportunity to present the simple but profoundly hopeful message of Jesus’ resurrection to all of the extra guests who come.

One of the secrets to Saddleback’s growth over the years is big days. There are three holidays we’ve used powerfully – Easter, Christmas Eve, and Mother’s Day – and then a few other weekends such as the kick-off or celebration of a big campaign. We plan for those days and we use them as an evangelism tool and as a stimulus to motivate our members on to growth for the rest of the year.  These days are big high points and there are some real advantages to planning big days with a special emphasis, particularly around Easter.

Here are nine reasons why high attendance days can be so meaningful. 

1. Big days build morale.

Without a doubt, people enjoy being a part of something big, something exciting. It develops unity and pride among our people. When people work together, there’s just a sense of excitement. It’s hard…

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Evangelism-and-Discipleship-Cover-Final-copyEvangelism or Discipleship: Can They Effectively Work Together? by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull Evangelism and discipleship are not two things; they are one. Jesus has commanded us to “make disciples.” In this new eBook, veteran discipleship leaders Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull focus on the need for leaders to bring together discipleship and evangelism and plant churches with that mindset. The two authors offer Bible-based insights into how evangelism and discipleship work together to accomplish the Great Commission, sharing stories and examples of leaders and churches that have successfully brought the two together for kingdom impact.

Jesus’ Matthew 28 commandment included the expectation of reproduction—that new disciples would become well-taught disciples who would in turn embrace the mission and make other new disciples. Anything less is to sabotage the master plan. Evangelism is simply a form of pre-conversion discipleship. When we engage in this disciple-making process, Jesus tells us that He will be present with us—to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). Download the free eBook.

Key highlights:

  • Helpful observations of the state of evangelism and discipleship in the West
  • The theological significance of discipleship and how it encompasses evangelism.
  • Experienced perspective from…

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Giving Coffee

Your God is awesome. Your church is wonderful. Yet guests who visit your church don’t often return. No true connection was made.

A parking lot greeter in our church expressed that concern: “We’ve got to figure out how to actually connect every guest with another person. Our flippant hellos or glad-you-cames just aren’t adequate.”

Why not challenge every member of your church to use these seven tips to connect with guests:

1)     Make a personal commitment to intentionally “connect” with one guest every Sunday. Ask God to make you aware of visitors. Be diligently alert—in the parking lot, foyer, nursery, hallway, worship service—to notice them. If you accidentally welcome someone who isn’t a guest, no problem. You’ve found a new friend.

2)     Once you’ve found a possible newcomer, pray for God’s guidance. Smile, greet the guest warmly, and introduce yourself. Pay careful attention to his name. Repeat it. Write it down. You will want to call him by name next Sunday when he returns.

3)     Chat casually and purposefully. You may ask, “Is this your first time to worship here?” Ask nonintrusive questions such as, “Did you just move to town?” or “What brought you…

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Ukraine Man

KIEV, Ukraine (BP) — Tensions rose to dangerous levels as Russian forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in late February, but Ukrainian Baptists aren’t slowing down their ministry to a nation battered by months of internal crisis.

In fact, they’re picking up the pace.

“The response from the churches has been fantastic,” said IMB worker Shannon Ford, who lives in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev, during a March 4 interview. “It really has been a time for prayer — not simply saying we’re going to pray, but actually going and being seen and guiding other people to pray,” even in the far east near the Russian border.

IMB personnel are serving right beside them.

“We’re able to do our ministry,” Ford insisted. “We have a family in right where the Russian fleet is parked. I talked to them this morning, and they were telling me all the different ministry things they did last week and what they’re planning this week. So despite all the uneasiness and the frightening pictures from the zoom lens of the media, our personnel and our national brothers and sisters are still doing their job, still having outreach…

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