By Matt Perdue
Pentecostal churches? How do you reach for souls that have walked away from the church? The mission is overwhelming at times, but this is where you must revisit the fundamentals of the church. I want to share a few things that have been helpful for our church in New Castle concerning these questions.
We show our love for God by how we love His people. The Scripture teaches us that it is impossible for us to love God whom we haven’t seen when we can’t love our brother whom we do see. We have worked tirelessly on creating a culture of love in our church. People will come through the doors for the first time because of an invitation, but they will come again when they feel a congregation expresses an authentic love for them. I really love the phrase “Let’s love them to God” instead of “win them to God” because people respond to genuine love. A church must show itself friendly and be taught consistently the importance of loving people. Let’s face it, the kingdom of God is all about people. Christ died for people, and it is people He is coming back for. We need to develop and cultivate a culture of love among the congregation or people will not come back.
There is an old saying that I believe is so important in ministry. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” For us, the best way to knock down walls with people of any circumstance within a com- munity or inside the church is show them how much you care about them. From cooking dinners for families in the community that just lost a loved one to visiting all of the contacts you get your hands on, Christians should look for opportunities to care for souls both in and out of the church. The church, whether we like it or not, is too easily labeled as being snobbish toward the community. We must do our best to avoid that label by going out of our way to show kindness and love to any guest or anyone else for that matter. Caring for others will stimulate evangelism and follow-up. As a result, your retention rate will grow. Caring for souls puts a lock on the front door and the back door while everyone’s needs are met. There are countless ways that your church could be involved in the community.
For our church, we are involved with the schools in New Castle. We launched a backpack ministry for elementary students in our local schools who aren’t getting the food they need. We started two years ago with dropping food off at the schools on Fridays. We started with 5 students, and we now have 392. We call the ministry Little Blessings. This has created community wide involvement from other churches and organizations. This past year, we started the Little Blessings College Scholarship Fund. All local high school seniors are candidates, and we have a huge service where they show up to be honored. We have the mayor, local principals and special speakers in attendance that day. Because of our involvement with schools, our church was awarded the contract to supervise and oversee the LatchKey Program for New Castle Schools. I could go on and on about the importance of getting involved with your community because it continues to open door after door for ministry and evangelistic efforts.
I do my very best to cast vision every week. We all understand that without a vision the people will perish. Every family or couple that comes on board at the church should know and understand the vision of the pastor and the mission of the church. Vision casting creates excitement and momentum. When you share your heart as a leader, it becomes contagious. The vision and mission of the church is up to each pastor, but I believe it should be soul driven. We set “soul goals” every quarter with our directors, and we focus on reaching those goals every quarter irra strategic way. Take what number of people you have and move forward. Don’t get discouraged with who is not on board with your vision; focus on those who have caught the vision and move forward!
Instead of doing ten things average, find two or three things your church can be known for in the community and do them great. For us, it is our bus ministry and our kids’ ministry. We are blessed with people who love working with kids and do a great job. Find a few areas in your church where you have the resources and showcase your strengths to the community. As your church grows, you can add more areas of ministry, but until then keep it simple!
These are just a few fundamentals that we focus on in New Castle to make sure we don’t drift from the purpose of the church. If I can share any- thing else or be of any assistance to anyone, please never hesitate to call me at 765.524.5397 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. •