PART ONE: DO IT NOW!
A Total Implementation Schedule
The American Indians tell a parable of a brave who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up as one of them.
All his life, the changeling eagle, thinking he was prairie chicken, did what prairie chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief
thrashing of wings and slurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens are supposed to fly.
Years passed, and the changeling eagle grew older. One day, he saw a magnificent bird far above him in cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
“What a beautiful bird!” said the changeling eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?”
“That’s an eagle – the chief of birds,” the neighbor clucked. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.”
So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.
What a tragedy! Built to soar into the heavens, but conditioned to remain earthbound, he pecked at stray seeds and chased insects. Though designed by God to be among the most awesome of all birds, he instead believed his neighbor’s counsel: “You’re only a prairie chicken . . . come on, let’s go find some insects.”
Right now, you may be finding yourself in a situation much like that of the changeling eagle. You know God has empowered you with the ability to have a far greater church than you have right now. You know you are filled with a spirit which enables you to reach and obtain the impossible. But for some reason, a voice in the back of your mind keeps saying, “But your only Pentecostal. You’ve always been small. What hope is there of growing now?”
You try to shrug off the voice of the enemy, yet he persists, “It’s so much easier to scavenge for insects than to soar among the heavens. It’s so much easier to just do like everyone else than to venture out and risk failure.”
Of course it is. It’s also easier to read book after book and attend seminar after seminar on “How to do it” than to sit down, roll up your shirt sleeves, and get the job done.
Sure you risk failure. Risk is a part of it. As a wise man once observed, “The only thing in life that’s achieved without risk is failure.” Nothing worth obtaining and striving for ever comes easy.
Not even for the so called “natural geniuses” of our world.
J.C. Penney once observed, “Geniuses themselves don’t talk about the gift of genius. They just talk about hard work and long hours.”
Edison believed that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
So if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Remember, it took Thomas Edison over seven hundred attempts before he saw the light. Why wait? Do it now! Today is yesterdays tomorrow, and you’ve been telling yourself “tomorrow” for a long time.
He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few thing ill, but he will do very few things.
– Charles Baudelaire
Dr. David McClellan, professor of psychology at Harvard says, “Most people in the world can be divided into two broad groups. There is the minority which is challenged by adversity and opportunity – willing to work hard to achieve something. Then there is the majority, which really does not care all that much.
People do not like change. Most people shy away from adversity. It does not challenge them, it repels them. But the successful pastor is aware of peoples resistance to change and is willing to put forth the effort in spite of it.
Hundreds of years ago, Machiavelli, the famous Italian politician wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a
new order of things.” It is for this reason that no pastor will fight his way to consistent growth without exercising the fullest measure of faith, courage, determination, and resolution. The man that gets somewhere does so because he has first resolved in his own mind that this direction is the will of God, then has enough stick-to-it-iveness to transfer God’s will into reality.
Some or all of the material presented in this binder may be new. The Growth Spiral most assuredly is new. The management structure (the four-part planning process) has several new elements that few pastors are using. The evangelistic tools and the New Convert Care program is being used by a number of pastors, but perhaps not by yourself. But for you, perhaps it is all new. So it is important for you to realize that putting these elements into practice will not be easy. Most will require some changes and adaptation to fit your situation. We have found that most pastors go through four distinct phases in putting this material into process. These are:
1. Confusion – This is the initial learning stage. People will not understand at first. Mistakes will be made. You will find yourself explaining the material three, even four times. This is why it is
important not to go too fast. The pastor needs to have a firm grasp upon what he wants accomplished and how he is going to do it. Put your plans in writing but be sure to stay flexible. Keep your eye on the end result, regardless of the opposition – press on!
2. Communication – After several months of struggle and misunderstanding, people will begin to get a grasp on what you are trying to do. They will begin to give you feedback as to how they
understand it – some positive and some negative. Be patient. Evaluate the suggestions and make changes if they are needed. Few things fit fresh out of the box. During the next several months you will adapt the principles to fit your needs. Let communication flow both directions.
3. Cooperation – After six or eight months, the resisters stop resisting. It’s hard to “kick against the pricks,” and you are tougher than they are. With cooperation will come results. You will now begin to see the fruit of your labor. Souls will begin to be saved in abundance (you’ve sown a lot of seed!). Your organization will begin to flow, your outreach will be effective, and your new converts will stick. The pastor that gives up to soon will never see the final revival that results from applying the principles of the Word of God.
4. Commitment – The last stage begins after about a year of consistent use. You have custom designed everything to fit your specific needs. Most all the “bugs” have been worked out. You know you have reached this stage when you begin to hear comments like, “now we’re really moving” and “this is the only way to go.” The longer you use it, the better it gets.
So the question a pastor must ask himself is, “Am I willing to pay the price of hard work, patience, sacrifice, and endurance to have a growing, thriving church?” Your answer is important, because the cost is great. The true definition of the work “commitment” is “being willing to give up something to gain something greater.” That is the “cost” that lies within the work “Pentecost.”
In his book “Making It Happen,” Charles Paul Conn writes:
Whatever it is
However impossible it seems
Whatever the obstacle that lies between you and it
If it is noble
If it is consistent with God’s kingdom
You must hunger after it
You must stretch yourself to reach it
In the midst of the gathering storm, in the heat of the raging battle, the people of God must stand firm. We must heed the words of the prophet in saying, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet!”
We do not have time for rationalization and debate. We, the church, are responsible for this generation. The next five years, should the Lord tarry, will present even greater opportunity in the midst of crisis. We must be equal to that challenge.
One day a veteran missionary in Taiwan, was faced with tremendous demands on every side. Depressed, she broke into tears, saying, “I just can’t meet all these demands!”
A voice seemed to whisper, “Who can’t?”
She later recalled, “I was stunned by such a thought. Did I presume to think it was I who had this mission burden by myself?” Would I dare to say what the Lord can’t do?”
Pastor, the battle is not yours, but His. This is His church. He will return for His bride which shall be dressed in white, without spot, nor wrinkle. How is the garment washed clean except by agitation? How are the wrinkles removed except by heat and pressure? The road to revival is not an easy one – but, oh, how great the rewards!
At the conclusion of this chapter is a suggested schedule of implementation for part one of the Total Church Growth material. Certain things must be done first before others will work properly.
We have implemented this program time and again. Please take this suggested pattern to heart. The temptation is to jump right in, launch the Growth Spiral right off. Get the evangelistic ball rolling. The results will be disappointing. The Growth Spiral requires a good organizational base. Developing this organizational base must be your first priority. The harvest should not be cut until the barns are built. All of this takes time.
Set aside time to make your own schedule of implementation. It has been stated over and again in this material, “No body plans to fail. They just fail to plan.” Plan your work – work your plan. The key to the entire program is you. Don’t wait. Do it now!
I’ve dusted my desk and I’ve wound my watch
I’ve tightened (then loosened) my belt a notch.
I’ve polished my glasses, removed a small speck.
I’ve looked at my check stubs to check on a check,
I’ve searched for my tweezers and pulled a hair,
I’ve opened a window to let in some air,
I’ve straightened a picture, I’ve swatted a fly,
I’ve shifted the tie clip that clips down my tie,
I’ve sharpened each pencil till sharp as a dirk,
I’ve run out of reasons for not starting to work.
PLAN OF IMPLEMENTATION
For “Part One” of Total Church Growth
Date to be
1. Read the story “Let my People Grow.”
2. Listen to the tapes and allow them to walk you step by step through the written binder material.
3. Take notes as to what will apply to your situation.
1. Purchase a copy of “Let My People Grow” for all of your current department heads and prospective department heads.
2. Give copies of the material in this binder to your key leaders to read and evaluate. Note: be sure to keep a “master copy” for yourself. You may wish to purchase a second binder to divide up and distribute to your department leaders.
3. You and your wife should try to get away by yourselves for a few days if possible. Review your material notes. Pray and seek the direction of God. Dream, plan, set goals and objectives. Evaluate every ministry and outreach. Catch a vision of revival.
4. After much prayer, complete your own “Five-Year Numerical Goals Worksheet” and “Church Growth Spiral”. (Although you not be implementing the Growth Spiral ministry until your
organizational structure is developed and in place, you will need to know your numerical goals in order to properly make quality improvement goals.) From your notes and plans, fill a “Five-Year Quality Improvement Goals Worksheet.” Determine which of these goals are to be done this year and when each should be completed. Write it down.
5. Call and make reservations for your Planning Retreat three months from now.
1. Begin designing your organizational chart. Select your key departments (no more than fourteen – twelve is best.) Place all positions and ministries on this chart. Make as many departments as you have faithful individuals to oversee them.
2. Read through the sample job descriptions. On a photocopy, cross out what does not apply, write in what is missing. Give a photocopy to your existing directors and ask them to do the same.
3. Redesign each departments’ monthly report – customize it to fit that department exactly.
4. Pray about and select any new directors you will need (Home Bible Study, Visitor Follow-up, New Convert Care, and so on.)
1. Meet with each director individually. Go over the two “rough draft” job description and the monthly report retyped.
2. Explain carefully to each director the Four-Part Planning Process and your organizational chart.
3. In this meeting, discuss that department – problems, new programs they wish to add, and so on.
4. In your discussion, come up with three to five topics for the upcoming Retreat. Get a commitment from each to attend with their spouse.
1. Assemble the needed materials for your first planning Retreat.
a) Purchase a binder for each director.
b) Place the following materials in each binder:
* Organization Chart
* Finished Job Description
* Sample and blank Departmental One-year Plan
* Blank Monthly Report Forms (about 15)
* Loose-leaf Calendar
* Note paper
* Fountain pen
2. Have the Retreat Agenda typed (see sample) and place in binder.
3. Have a quick meeting after a service to explain
directions and anything needed for the Retreat.
4. Have your first “Annual Planning Retreat.”
1. Two or three weeks after the Planning Retreat, have each department hand in their One-year Plan. Have these retyped if needed.
2. Have your first Monthly Council
a) Be sure to make an agenda
b) Monthly reports will not be due until next month
c) Hand out the tape for leadership training. This will begin next month.
3. The week following your Monthly Council, begin your Weekly Tag-ins.
4. Find an individual to come for a week to promote and train in Home Bible Studies three months from now (month nine).
5. Begin reviewing the material again from volume two on the Church Growth Spiral. Your Growth Spiral commitment service will be coming up soon.
1. At the second Monthly Planning Council
a) Start leadership training from the tape
b) Collect first Monthly Report
c) Plan Spiral Commitment Service
2. Review each department and insure that each one is handing in the reports that their Job Description asks for:
a) Weekly – Visitor Follow-up, Home Bible Study, Sunday School, CCC
b) Special reports in addition to regular monthly report- New Convert Care, Music
c) If you are having trouble getting the reports handed in, teach why they are so important using the binder material on reports – see chapter 3 (part 4).
(The above material was prepared and published by Tim Massengale from Total Church Growth. You may order the entire 2 volume set from Pentecostal Publishing House.)
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