Tag Archive | Church Growth

3 Teams That Are Critical To Church Growth 28-8

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The Impact Of Church Conflict On Church Growth 28-3

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Church Growth Through Home Bible Studies

Church Growth Through Home Bible Studies

By: Wayne Huntley

The key to the remarkable growth of the Book of Acts church is revealed in Acts 6:7: The Word of God increased and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly. Methods and means are transient and variant, but the Word of God is forever settled (Psalm 119:09).

I. The Success of this Principle of Growth is as Sure as the Holy Scripture

Joshua 1:8, Success is sure because we are obeying the Word. Related Scriptures: Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 55:11, Psalm 126:5.

II. Home Bible Studies Bring Growth in Many Various Areas To The Local Assembly

A. The Local Assembly grows in its city wide ministry.

B. The Local Assembly grows in its maturity.

C. The Local Assembly grows in its membership.

D. The Local Assembly grows in more money.

III. The Home Bible Study Ministry Satisfies the Spiritual Depravity of this Hour.

(Amos 8:11) “…not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

IV. The Total Productivity of this Principle is Contingent Only Upon One Thing: How much do you want?

(II Corinthians 9:6) Sow sparingly, Reap sparingly, Sow bountifully, Reap bountifully!

V. A, B, C’s of Church Growth Through Home Bible Studies

A. Attitude –Your attitude will determine your altitude (I Corinthians 13:1-8).

B. Burden –Jeremiah 13:17.

C. Confidence –Ecclesiastes 8:4.

VI. How Do I Get Started In The Home Bible Study Ministry?

Three Necessary Components To Start

A. Vision Proverbs 29:18 Eyes

B. Passion Romans 9:3 Heart

C. Action Matthew 20:3-6 Feet

Practice It!
Preach It!
Teach It!

FESTIVAL OF EVANGELISM

By: Marrell Cornwell

INTRODUCTION:

Why have a home Bible study program in your church? The last commission given to the disciples before the ascension of Christ was Matthew 28:19-20. It contains 3 parts:

A. Teach all nations who Jesus is.

B. Baptize them into Christ.

C. Teach them to be disciples.

Home Bible studies has been shown to be the most effective way to carry out this commission.

Related Scriptures, James 5:20, Psalms 126:5-6

I. WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN YOUR CHURCH AS A RESULT OF HOME BIBLE STUDY?

A. A healthier church family (involved people are happier people).

B. Many new families can be added.

C. Finance will increase (home Bible study is most economical form of outreach).

D. Revival will break out and retention will be higher.

E. Baptisms will increase.

1. 10 Bible studies per week yields monthly baptisms.

2. 25 Bible studies per week yields monthly baptisms.

3. 50 Bible studies per week yields family per week baptized.

4. 100 Bible studies per week yields a family per week retention in the local church.

With these proven statistics it’s time to put forth a great effort toward home Bible studies! Note these statistics below:

A. 7,000 preacher X 1 Bible study per week X 4 Bible studies per year
= 28,000 Bible studies per year X 25% success X 4 people per household
= 112,000 per year added to United Pentecostal Church by ministers.

B. 3,500 churches X 10 Bible studies per week/ church X 4 studies per year:

= 140,000 studies per year X 25% success.
= 35,000 families X 4 people per family.
= 140,000 people added by lay people.

140,000 + 112,000 = 252,000 people per year.

Is it possible to double the membership of the United Pentecostal Church in a short time?

II. HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL HOME BIBLE STUDY PROGRAM:

A. Determine that home Bible studies will be the hub of your evangelism.

B. Home Bible study is the thing that make the others successful.

C. Motivate your congregation. May be done by a series of special services. Bible studies cycle, motivate often.

D. Have a commitment service.

E. Set your goals – determined by the size and determination of congregation.

F. Train your congregation. (More on training later).

III. CHURCH LEADERSHIP MUST BE INVOLVED.

A. Pastors

B. Assistant Pastors

C. Sunday School Teachers

D. Bus workers

E. Every Leader

NOTE: Be cautious in putting someone over Bible studies in order to fill a position. A suggestion is for pastors to be over it in smaller congregations.

IV. KEEP GOOD RECORDS

A. Know who is teaching.

B. Know who is being taught.

C. Know the progress of each lesson.

D. Knowing how many Bible studies are going on and how far along they are will help to have a reaping harvest.

NOTE: Pastor, work with your soul winners.

V. TRAINING OF WORKS

A. Motivate your church.

B. Get commitments to teach.

C. Teach all 12 lessons in 6 nights. Monday thru Saturday night. Two lessons each night.

D. Give certificates to all who attend all six nights.

E. For the instructor (pastor), you must keep your training lessons to one hour.

F. One fatal mistake in starting Bible studies is taking a long time to train your people. Many pastors have spent 6 to 8 months to teach the charts. This is a disaster.

G. Follow up training:

1. Sunday morning 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

2. Class last 12 to 14 weeks.

3. Again the instructor must go through lessons in one hour.

* Reason for this is to give confidence to the student that they can do it in one hour.

4. Limit the class to 12 to 15 students

VI. HOW TO GET BIBLE STUDIES

A. Visitors.

B. Prophecy Sunday.

C. Classified Ads.

D. Direct mail.

E. Bus Ministry.

F. Film ministry.

G. Relatives.

H. Friends.

I. Co-workers.

J. Dial-A-Prayer.

K. Survey – Finding The Field – Lincoln, Nebraska.

L. Referrals.

M. Prison Ministry.

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Church Growth

By Tim Massengale

For a number of years I traveled full-time assisting churches in setting up a church growth and evangelism structure. While traveling from church to church and working with various directors and Christian workers, it is common to hear lay leaders say over and again: “I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing.” On the other side of the picture, I would often hear pastors give a very different, complaint: “Why can’t I get my directors to do their job?” The problem here is obviously that of communication. Good communication is a vital key to church staff performance, whether it is for paid or volunteer workers. One of the most basic and important tools of good communication is that of job descriptions.

Why The Job is Not Done
Let me tell you about a pastor who got a call one Sunday morning. The call was from one of his bus drivers. The bus was broke down on their Sunday Morning run to pick up children.
“Broke down” was putting it mildly. The engine was blown. And he felt he knew right where the problem lay. His Maintenance Director had neglected to insure that the oil and water was.checked before clearing the bus for use chat morning. “What’s the problem?” the pastor said. “Why woulda normally dependable man neglect an important job like that?”

At first glance, it would appear that the director is clearly at fault and obviously incompetent. But a closer examination revealed that the Maintenance Director had thought the Sunday Morning inspection was the responsibility of the bus driver. The bus driver thought it was taken care of by the Bus Ministry Director. The whole thing was an unfortunate mix up. So now let me ask you, who’s really at fault?

The problem this pastor had was a typical one. When a department director does not do their job, or is not following through with their responsibilities, a pastor must first check to insure that the person appointed meets the two prerequisites of good delegation – that of faithfulness and desire. But most often the response from the pastor is “yes, this person was a faithful, dependable worker before I placed them in the position of leadership, and they expressed to me a desire for this area of Christian service.”

Most pastors are already aware of these two basic requirements and hold to them strongly. Yet, in spite of these two criteria being met, the job is still being neglected and responsibilities are going undone. Why? Why will a faithful, dependable individual who has a strong desire to work for God not do their job? The reason, most likely, lies in one of the two following areas.

Knowing What To Do
First, they do not know fully what to do. When an individual does not know fully what to do, obviously, it is difficult for them to do it. A pastor might say “Well, I brought. them into my office and sat them down for two hours. I told them everything they were supposed to do.” But unless that individual has a photographic memory, or is extremely adept at taking notes (few are), then they will remember little. And even if they do take notes, they are apt to miss key points that are critical to their position.

Research shows that an average person retains less than 10% of what they hear. After six weeks, this retention drops further to 3%.
Unless you place their duties in writing, there is a good chance that they will forget much of what you told them. For this reason, the written job description is very important. Your delegated director will refer back to it repeatedly. Job descriptions are not documents to be locked away in filing cabinets, but tools to be continually used, examined, and updated.

Knowing How To Do It
Secondly, they do not know fully how to do it. Herein lies the problem of many pastors and department leaders. They may prepare a job description that explains what to do, but unless the individual also knows how to do it, they will be fearful of failure. This is human nature. It is not enough to tell someone what to do. They also need training.

In this lies the difference between knowledge and skill. What they need is a pattern, or example, to follow. In following another’s example, they will learn the job and all its details. Then, after they have learned the job, they will often improve upon it. The Apostle Paul said, “But join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you (Phil. 3:15 NIV). Providing a good pattern of service is just as important today as it was back then. This pattern of “how to” needs to be in writing also. Some pastors have developed a basic “procedures manual” to help in this training process. Only when the “what” and “how” of a job are covered is a person capable of doing it properly. Without. these two, if a person does the job at all, it will often be wrong or incomplete, resulting in even greater insecurity when they are made aware of this. It is the responsibility of leadership to insure this does not happen.

What Will Job Description Do?
A properly written job description will put teeth into an organizational structure. It will give it substance, strength, and clarity of purpose. It defines boundaries. It shows who is responsible for what and to whom. And more than any other single device, a job description gives goal-orientation. It is a responsibility check list as well as a training tool. A job description is all of this and more. Without written directions, a leader is asking for misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustration.

In the volunteer environment of the church, job descriptions are especially important. Some of the most effective, growing churches in Pentecost today not only have job descriptions for their department directors, but also for their Sunday School teachers and choir members. Pastors have found that the old saying is still true, “a good understanding makes a lasting relationship.”

How To Write A Job Description
First, lets look at the job description header. Begin with the job title. The title should describe, as nearly as possible, the work that is being filled or accomplished by this position. Next, you need the name of the individual involved. The job description should be personalized as much as possible. Finally, put the Date or year. This is important because once twelve months have elapsed, it is out of date. There are very few job descriptions that can go on for more than a year without alterations, because the environment changes, the capacities of the individual change, and the needs of the position change. The pastor must keep the position constantly in review.
Beyond this, the job description consists of six parts:
1. THE JOB PURPOSE. A single, well written paragraph that states clearly what this position seeks to accomplish.
2. JOB QUALIFICATIONS. These are the basic performance requirements (spiritual maturity, character, knowledge, and skills) necessary to do this job. Set your standard high, but keep it realistic.
3. THE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES. These are the activities necessary to accomplishment the above purpose. When listing duties, it is important to be precise and specific. A vague, general job description is worthless. Give the job description some detail.
4. ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS. Here you explain what their relationship is to the pastor, their relationship to subordinates, and their relationship to the other department directors. It should also spell out how they will be made responsible and when.
5. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. Everyone responds to a challenge. This area says “I know you are good, but you can be better. I believe in you, I have faith and confidence in you.” Assign your leaders books to read, training CD’s to listen to, seminars to attend, churches to visit and observe. Help them to grow.
6. GOALS FOR THE YEAR. List exactly what improvements you would like to see in that department in the coming year: New ministries, new programs, new positions, expanding existing ministries, numerical goals – the list could go on and on. Again, be specific.

In Cone union
God has always had a specific sign or symbol of every covenant or commitment that he made with his people. To Noah He gave a rainbow. Abraham had circumcision. The church has been provided with baptism – a “circumcision made without hands,” and the seal of the Holy Ghost. God never gave a “verbal only” promise. Neither should a pastor. We, too, are following the pattern established by God and the early church. The covenant or agreement of service to help the man of God lead the people of God should be clear, precise, and in writing. This is what the Job Description provides.

Bro. Tim Massengale is the author of “Total Church Growth Vol. l& 2” and “Let My People Grow.” He is also the director of the Apostolic Information Service, Editor of IBC Perspectives Magazine, and an instructor at Indiana Bible College. He travels often to teach Church Growth Seminars.

Indiana Apostolic Trumpet / July 2007 17

This material is copyrighted and may be used to study & research purposes only

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Commissioning For Church Leaders

COMMISSIONING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Acts 6:1-7 Delegation…..

I thank the Lord for leaders like these that are Faithful and have a Desire to do the work and will of God in their life!! In essence I am multiplying my ministry in their hearts and lives…! Since I as Pastor am entrusting these capable leaders with the respective Departments under their care, when you have a problem with a Dept., go to that Dept. Leader who will in turn work with me. They
will maintain close communication with me through a Weekly Tag-In (which you have seen on Wed. nights), and a Monthly Planning Council, It’s with delegated leadership like this that I believe we will experience even greater results in this end-time…

* Call each Director and spouse to stand across the front of the church as you mention each Department (Including T.C.G. Secretary an 1st Lady of the church).

Church Growth Coordinator (Assist. Pastor)- Bro. Tim Clark

Church Division

Church Growth Sect. – Sis. Gregory

Ladies Auxiliary Dept. – Sis. Cindy Martin

New Convert Care Dept. – Sis. Barbara

Men’s Ministries Dept. (Assist. Pastor) – Bro. David Bragg

Music Dept. – Bro. Nathan Clark

Youth Dept. – Sis. Teresa

Evangelism Division

Sunday School Dept. – Bro. Roger Baker

Outreach Dept. – Bro. Anthony Harden

** Have a few testify about T.C.G. and their Dept?

Giving Of Charge

I am now going to ask each of you leaders to pledge yourself, to the best of your ability, to the following charges for the next 12 months – which is the term of your office.

1. Do you accept the charge to maintain the qualifications for church membership faithfully supporting the church with your tithe and offerings?

2. Do you pledge to work in harmony with others?

3. Do you pledge to maintain a compassion and burden for the souls of people?

4. Will you be faithful and dependable in accomplishing duties, remembering that inconsistency breaks down fervency, commitment and desire?

5. Will you be an example to the church in spiritual growth by endeavoring to come at least one-half hour before each service to pray?

6. Will you be an example to the church in faithfulness by endeavoring to attend all church services and functions?

7. Will you be an example to the church in soulwinning by being continually involved in the Home Bible Study ministry, or some other form of outreach ministry?

8. Will you pledge your loyalty to your Pastor and also to your fellow Dept. leaders in word, deed, and attitude always upholding the Pastor and Leadership in all conversation?

9. Will you pledge to maintain your family requirements in accordance with scriptural requirements?

Now the church will stand and we will pledge our support and prayers to the church leadership.

Pray For Leaders Now

(The above material was provided by Whitehaven UPC, Memphis TN.)

Christian Information Network

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Fishing in a Small Pond

Nestled in the Texas Hill Country an hour north of San Antonio is a small community of 1,100 people. It is a town poised for revival because one apostolic church is full of people dedicated to making that happen, undeterred by the size of their field of labor.

Pastored since 1993 by Bro. Greg Steele and his wife, LaKay, who heads their vibrant music department, the House of Mercy Evangelism Church of Johnson City draws primarily from four small communities within a radius of 35 miles in a county of only 9,000 people. Their new building, just over three years old, stands on the highway through town as a beacon, not just notable in size but also in ministry to the community.

The Steele’s three young adult children and spouses are also heavily involved in the church ministries, as are others in both their extended families. This is a family that knows God is at work here.

Keys in Church Growth

Bro. Steele believes prayer is the major key to revival in any church. This church has been a church of prayer since it was birthed 50 years ago. We’ve also always had a major desire to see the lost saved. That comes from the prayer life. But coupled with that has to be a method. Prayer is the spiritual side of it, but the mechanical part of it is what a lot of us have a hard time getting our hands on and making it happen.

The church has a history of effectively using Bible studies and continues to rely on them as a key in church growth and soul winning. Primarily, we use three, said Bro. Steele. One is a qualifier, a one-day Bible Study, Into His Marvelous Light. Next, we use a five-lesson Bible study by Bro. James Jackson, Salvation Made Simple. It’s very powerful and easy to teach. Then, we use Search for Truth II, not necessarily to initially get people plugged into the gospel and get them to salvation, but as a tool to continue their salvation experience and give them some grounding and discipleship.

Small Town Mindset

Concerned about the rate of people dropping away even after going through Bible studies and receiving the Holy Ghost, Bro. Steele said, we found out we were having babies born, but we didn’t know how to take care of them. Our nursery wasn’t prepared.

At first, our delivery room was a problem too, because we didn’t believe it could happen in a small town. You hear a lot about revival in larger cities, but when it comes to a small town, you only have so many fish in a pond. That was a mindset we had to get over. Prayer and fasting plus positive preaching of the Word of God helped change that. Our mindset changed to, you know what, we can grow; we can have something happen here!

Growing as Pastor

Bro. Steele admitted that one of the first steps was to realize that he didn’t have a clue. Recognizing that not growing personally and as a pastor would hinder the church; he looked for leadership materials and seminars to attend. I went all over our district getting my hands on any nuts and bolts of things I could do to make myself personally better and pass on to the church. I became a student of church growth and of leadership. I’m still a student. I still haven’t got it all figured out. But I know more today than I did yesterday.

Growing Leaders

With personal growth came the desire to grow others. As I began to grow personally, I wanted to build our leadership, said Pastor Steele. If you build people, they’ll build other people.

Hearing John Maxwell at a Because of the Times conference was inspiring. I began to see the principles, not necessarily that they were real spiritual, but you could apply them spiritually. You could take a lot of things he was saying and apply those leadership principles to start building people.

Having key people in leadership roles was important. I still have those same key people today, he said. Incredible people! They have been a main ingredient in our church growth. When the leadership began to catch the vision, it stimulated a hunger for growth. These leadership principles that we were teaching and being mentored in didn’t just affect us in the church, he said. They affected us everywhere, in our families and our businesses. Suddenly, we were seeing people begin to make so much more money because of these principles. They were taking them back to their businesses and applying them there, too.

Bro. Steele brought Dr. Fred Childs in for the church’s first leadership seminar that gave them prototype methods on teamwork, synergy and unity. It was just incredible, he said. We began to take off with that. We were just so excited; we could have tackled hell with a water pistol!

Growing the Church

By the time Bro. Steele was elected pastor, he had already been a part of the congregation for 20 years. Raised under the ministry of the founding pastor, Sis. Billie Fluitt, who also became his mother-in-law, he assisted her for 10 years prior to her retirement in 1983. He assisted the three pastors that followed for another 10 years. Needing a pastor again, the church of around 60 people voted him in 14 years ago.

The steps and principles outlined in Tim Massengales book, Let My People Grow, motivated Bro. Steele. I brought to the church a five-year growth plan called It Takes Five To Survive. I preached, if we don’t have godly growth, souls being saved and retention at the same time, within five years, we’re going to die. We have to grow. If you don’t grow, you are dying. I laid out Bro. Massengales book and we just did that.

One of the things I believe has been a key to our growth is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If somebody else has something going and we can tweak it and make it fit our own thing or save me 25 years of putting things together, why not do it?
At the end of the five-year plan he proposed, the church had not completely reached its total vision, but was a long way down the road. They had 125 people and were out of room.

What they had learned and implemented from Bro. Childs was so effective that Pastor Steele asked him back a second time for vision building. It was also hands-on with action items, he said. There are some actions that you’ve got to take to make it happen. It wasn’t the spirituality of our church that was the problem. The organizational structure just wasn’t there.

Growing the Structure

With Bro. Childs help, the church took on a model and structure they have been developing and refining for the past two years.
We had a strategy team group come together and meet every two weeks to think and pray and plan and organize, said Pastor Steele. We put together a model that moves people. They adopted a special kind of model, rather than the more traditional organizational chart. Ours is totally different because it’s made up of three concentric circles.

In this model, people enter the church in the outside circle. When they come in, we try to move them into the center bulls eye called the point of origin, explained the pastor. This point of origin is the basic doctrinal foundation truths of scripture. We want everybody to be a part of that because if we ever get them there, they’re going to make it.

Focusing first on connection, they work to connect people to the church, its people and programs. Recognizing that almost 100% of their church ministries are about connecting people, they started teaching from this perspective. We’ve got to get every one of our ministries to think, I’m the connect point of every person who comes into this church. I have something to do with connection by the way they see me dressed on Sunday mornings, to the way the parking lot looks, to the way we handle ourselves as hosts and hostesses, and so on All this is connection. It’s a mindset.

After the initial connections that lead, ideally, to receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized, the model takes them to the next area of training and equipping. We do Bible studies, new convert classes, and mentoring so we don’t lose track of them, explained Pastor Steele. Then, the next step in the model is involvement. We want to get everyone involved in a ministry somewhere as we keep on moving them toward the center circle.

Not only is the core or center circle made up of the apostolic doctrinal truths, it also contains the church’s mission statement and set of values. We have six or seven values that we prize very highly in this church. We want everybody to learn those values, our mission statement and our vision. These are brought before the church regularly in different venues, including the weekly bulletin and media during services.

Also in development is a system of measurement that involves creating a spiritual profile on everyone in the church. We want to know everything about those people, said the pastor. Are they growing? If not, what’s the problem? Did they skip a step? Did they not have a Bible study? Oh, let’s go back and teach them a Bible study. Were they not mentored by someone? Well, let’s do that. Whatever it takes.

We’re seeing incredible things happening. But it’s also a process of change. Some people don’t want to be measured; some people don’t want to get involved; and some people don’t want to have values placed in their lives. And, if people don’t want that, it’s going to be an automatic separation. Some would rather go and sit at someone’s table, eat, then leave and never have to get involved. That’s not our deal here. We want everybody involved. I believe this process will take us from superficial growth to good, solid, consistent revival growth.

Now the strategy team of six members meets monthly. They work in pairs and each is responsible for several ministries. Every team member also meets monthly with the ministry leaders they oversee. Bro. Steele does not have an assistant or associate pastor but points to the strategy team as the administrator of the church. It’s a team; it’s not just one person, he said. So there are six people carrying the ball instead of one.

The Ripple Effect

Bro. Steele is convinced that being in a small town or community doesn’t have to limit anybody. Last year they averaged around 186 in attendance. The different things we practice and do here, anybody can do, he said. It just takes a God mindset. God is big and He thinks big. When we went into this new building, we went from zero payment to $7,500 a month. It was a huge leap of faith. We didn’t know where the money was going to come from and, to this day, we still don’t know how we’re doing it. God makes up the difference.

But what’s incredible is what God has done for us in our thinking since we’ve been here. A lot of key people have caught the principle of scripture that says, Give and it shall be given and they have gone from being good givers to great and supernatural givers.

If there’s anything I have learned in this process, it is that whatever we do, we’ve got to learn the power of giving. Giving makes the Kingdom of God grow. The way were going to have growth is to give. The Lord says, if you give, I’m going to open up the windows of heaven and you cannot contain and that’s huge! That’s a key that always works. You just can’t out give God. You give and God will give back.

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Creating a Growth Climate in Your District

Creating A Growth Climate In Your District
By E. L. Holley

That a growth climate now exists is an accepted fact. For this we are thankful; first, to God; and to our leadership. Brother Urshan has, in addition to a multitude of other duties, inspired and promoted the revival that is in our midst. We know that such a growth climate didn’t “just happen.” We have been led of God!

In such a season, a local assembly, a section, or a district can either take advantage of the conducive environment or let it slip by. Once lost, it isn’t always easy to recapture. In the same sense that a pastor must be sensitive to such an opportunity, a District Board must also.

Furthermore, I am convinced that the District Board is the key to developing a growth climate at a district level. No department can do it. Only the District Board can ignite fires of growth on the district level.

I cannot discuss your district. But, I can relate some developments in the Texas District which resulted in growth. These developments are especially pertinent to you because they involve a project undertaken by our District Board.

Background

From 1977 to 1980, our district was beset with problems—serious problems—time-consuming problems. You name it—we had it! We were in danger of becoming problem-oriented reactionaries.

To avoid this, we assigned as much time as possible into our board meeting agendas to goal-setting, planning, and dreaming. We had spiritual “brain pumping” sessions where we refused to talk about “reasons we can’t” or “things that won’t work.” Clearly, we wanted to “build a few fires” instead of waiting to “put ’em out.”

Birth of a plan

At one of our board meetings in 1980, an intense hunger began to rumble through our hearts. Each member expressed the same desires. It was spontaneous and infectious. God was stirring our hearts. It was time to act on a district-wide basis.

I appointed a very unusual Evangelism Commission. It was more of a Growth Commission. I asked for, and received, constructive criticism. There were no sacred cows. We wanted input-suggestions, ideas for improvement. No area was exempt.

The men on this committee understood that they were not expected to formulate a detailed “plan” or “program.” They would report and the District Board would work from their suggestions. This they did.

I held pastoral councils. Six or eight pastors would meet with me in their section. After prayer I would ask them to talk to me. I took copious notes. The meeting never deteriorated to a gripe session. The response was purposeful and profitable.

I met with every departmental committee in the district. We talked development, improvement, and growth. Each meeting made invaluable contributions. We corrected “bottlenecks.” We eliminated unnecessary routines that had out-lived their usefulness. We opened communication lines.

There emerged a “plan,” and we called it that with all the evidence against it! District growth would call for new churches. This meant preachers-able ministers-would be needed. Further, they would need training and assistance. We would need all the help available from our pastors and churches.

The “PLAN” formulated

A newspaper article regarding a state-wide study of population trends caught my attention. I asked Brother Ken Gurley, our Administrative Aide, to contact the firm who made the study in an effort to obtain the data. To our pleasant surprise; they responded without charge.

We developed charts and comparative data lists. We learned that the 145 counties of Texas District had undergone quite a change between 1940 and 1980. More importantly, we found that the projected population trends for the next twenty years would further alter our District.

For instance, in 1940, 65% of the population lived in rural areas. But, by 1980, only 20% of the population still lived in rural areas. This means that more than 80% of our people live in metropolitan areas. Yet, 80% of our existing churches are in rural areas.

Clearly, we had built our churches during the past 40 years where the people were at that time. But now, we only have 20% of our churches where 80% of people live today! In fact, we learned that 2 out of 3 people in the District lived in three metropolitan areas:

NOTE:
HOUSTON . . . . . . . . . . . .17 churches { 1980 } 10% of our churches
DALLAS/FT. WORTH. . .12 churches { FIGURES } were in most densely
SAN ANTONIO . . . . . . . . 3 churches populated areas.

We presented this to our District Board in 1983 along with the Evangelism Commission’s report. Fifty-one (51) counties had no United Pentecostal Church. Metropolitan areas such as Corpus Christi and Austin were virtually untouched. The Rio Grande Valley was projected to be a hot growth area. Laredo had 90,000 souls and no church.

And, we had almost 300 uninvolved preachers somewhere in Texas! (We learned later there weren’t quite that many!)

A loosely structured strategy for action was adopted. The District Board divided the district in to 4 zones-A, B, C, and D. Each zone was comprised of 3 or 4 sections. The presbyters, along with their respective Home Missions representatives, became zone committees. Each committee elected a chairman—one of the presbyters.

The District Superintendent, District Secretary, and District Home Missions Director became the Executive Committee. They would coordinate the effort. Each zone would operate as it felt best. Information would be fed back to the Executive Committee.

The “PLAN” implemented

The growth areas were targeted. While each zone was gearing up for action, we devised a recruitment program. Brother Ken Gurley assisted Brother Vernon Neely in conducting “Launch Your Ministry” seminars over the district. Volunteers were carefully screened and we began in January, 1984, to invade the targeted zone and establish “beachheads.” Invasion Communiqués were mailed to every minister and church in the District. The “Strike Zones” established war chests to help in the effort.

The “Launch Your Ministry” seminars were kept to less than ten participants. These were ministers who had their pastors’ approval, and they were invited to pray and consider the need in the light of their call. After showing them slides and answering questions regarding the high growth areas, they were asked to make a trip to the city of their concern and talk to God about it. Then, upon return, report their feelings. If they decided to go, they were then turned over to the Home Missions process. If they were undecided, we urged them to return to their pastor and make loyal members of the church. We also contacted the pastors in the target zones to secure their cooperation. We assured them there would be no churches started off of their flocks. We have backed up our assurances with positive action and there is little tension over the matter now.

Pastors across the district are supporting the effort in various ways. Some are going to new works to hold revival meetings. Others are providing Home Bible Studies. One pastor took a van load of good witnesses to a city and spent 3 days and nights with our Home Missionary there. They passed out tracts, prayed people through, and did some excellent public relations work in the area.

There are so many facets to the effort which became known as Evangelistic Invasion ’84 that I cannot relate them all. In fact, I’m not even acquainted with them all! One thing is certain: Our District Board became the catalyst of the effort, and I’m grateful to them. They are responsible for the attitude that prevails in our district.

What are the results?

1. We have adhered to one guiding principle. The entire plan was to remain flexible and involve everyone. It has been modified so many times we hesitate to call it a “plan.”

2. In November, 1984, we reached our goal for the year. We had promised God a “tithe” of our churches and in the last board meeting of the year we approved the starting of our 33rd new work in Rockford, Texas.

3. Our Home Missions offerings increased in every category during 1984. Undesignated offerings were up! Designated offerings were up! And, Christmas For Christ broke our record, becoming #1 in the nation.

4. Section 11—part of the targeted zone—doubles in the number of churches in 1984! Section 12—the other half of the targeted zone—is also greatly increased in number.

5. Though we have a late start in 1985, our Home Missions Director and our District Secretary are conducting “Launch Your Ministry” seminars over the district. The momentum is still present!

6. The greatest blessing and benefit from this growth climate is a beautiful unity throughout the district! For this we are exceedingly thankful.

Article “Creating A Growth Climate In Your District” written by E. L. Holley is taken from an unknown source.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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The Keys to Church Growth

The Keys to Church Growth
By Chip Arn

Between you and your father, Win, you’ve studied church growth and helped churches to accomplish it for 35 years. Our culture has changed a lot in that time. Are there some things that used to be true of church growth that we now need to unlearn?

It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between church growth principles and church growth methods. The methods change, but the principles are really timeless. One of the most important of them is as true today as it was in the New Testament: the social networking principle. In the hundreds of times I’ve surveyed congregations—a total of at least 50,000 people or more—and asked why each person became a Christian, there’s a list of eight things that are always mentioned.

1. A special need arose in my life, such as a death or catastrophe. That’s 1 percent to 2 percent.
2. A spontaneous walk-in—I just decided to go to church one Sunday. That’s 2 percent to 3 percent.
3. I had a relationship with a pastor or someone else on church staff. That varies from 1 percent to 6 percent.
4. I was visited; somebody just knocked on my door. That’s 1 percent to 2 percent and continually dropping.
5. I participated in Sunday school or some other Christian education. That’s 4 percent to 5 percent.
6. Participation in evangelistic crusades, television, and radio ministries is less than 1 percent.
7. Church programs, such as special events or other advertised activities, drew 2 percent to 3 percent of those surveyed. If you’ve been following the numbers, the percentages are still very low and there’s only one item left to list.
8. A friend or relative talked to me about Jesus. Of all the tens of thousands of people we surveyed, 75 to 90 percent of them said they’re Christians because a friend or relative talked to them about Christ. That’s not just a U.S. thing, that holds true from my visits to Korea and India as well.

The word that comes up often in the New Testament is oikos, frequently translated as household or house. In the first century that really meant a lot of people, such as extended family, servants, and servants’ families. There’s some indication that it might even have included work associates. So the timeless principle is that we need to be intentional about identifying and utilizing existing social networks.

It’s amazing that the percentage is that high. How do you effectively utilize social networks?

That question really leads to another timeless principle: the principle of receptivity. When Jesus sent his disciples out, he told them to go to the towns and villages that will listen to you and shake the dust off your feet in the places that won’t. Paul stayed much longer in places like Ephesus that were receptive, and less time in places like Athens that were resistant. So good church growth strategy says within your community there are different groupings of people, some of whom will be more receptive than others. And some people will be receptive to one church and not another, so you can’t expect everyone to respond to your style. Look for receptive people and work there.

Another principle is to make evangelism a priority. It’s a fascinating dynamic to observe the life cycle of churches. The general observation is that the longer a church exists, the more the people in leadership become concerned with self-preservation and self-service, and less concerned with their original goal of reaching people. Growing churches continue to focus on outreach.

Presumably the final principle is related to our conversation on assimilation, so that once those friends do come to church they keep coming.

Exactly. Welcoming new believers into the fold and building community with them is a universal principle. It’s not a natural thing for outsiders to be automatically welcomed into a new group. Effective growing churches will intentionally develop systems and strategies to build a consciousness in the congregation to welcome newcomers.

Chip Arn is president and CEO of Church Growth Incorporated.

This article “The Key To Church Growth” By Chip Arn is excerpted from the Church Growth Inc. Newsletter. September 2008.

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Why Smaller Congregations Have an Edge

Why Smaller Congregations Have An Edge
Dan Kimball

If the people in your small church are loving and kind to others, you already have what so many are longing for.

We can talk a lot about the numbers of people who are part of our church, how many services, campuses or video venues we have, and how big we are growing. But I believe most church leaders would admit that generally the most important aspects of spiritual formation occur in some sort of smaller setting.

At Vintage Faith Church, we put a lot of effort into our three Sunday worship gatherings that have preaching and music. We hope they are as big as possible, and we are praying right now about adding another one. But when I listen to stories during baptisms of people who have become Christians or people who made major life decisions, they speak about the small meetings and relationships formed in them. My life also was changed eternally in a small church. As a local church body, we dream of seeing hundreds more become part of Vintage Faith, but we know that the “small” is where God really does deeper things and decisions are made.

Finding Community
It may sound strange, but big churches should strive to be “small” churches. I believe this resonates with emerging generations. I am in enough conversations with young adults to hear that “big” is not always better. They define “community” as much more intense, open and vulnerable than their counterparts in generations past. Emerging generations also generally are suspicious of church leaders. The smaller the church, the easier it can be to build deeper relationships and gain trust. However, the good news is that even megachurches can achieve this “small” feeling and experience, if they place a value on it and design things accordingly to see people get into small communities within the whole. A church of 10,000 can feel like a church of 100 if it emphasizes the “small” in addition to the “big.”

Growing the Kingdom
For small churches today, this desire for “small” is something to celebrate. If the people in your small church are loving and kind to others, you already have what so many are longing for. But while we fully celebrate being small, we can never lose the vision of becoming big. I don’t mean wanting to become a megachurch. I simply mean “big” in terms of the passionate prayer and hope of seeing someone come to know who Jesus is and put faith in Him that never fades. We can take pride in being small like the house churches of the early church, but it can’t be at the expense of failing to help new people who aren’t already in our small church come to know Jesus. Too many small churches today are staying small because they’re content with their tight community of believers, to the detriment of the people outside their church who don’t yet know Jesus.

In big churches, we need to remember the importance of “small” for life transformation. And if small churches don’t have “big” prayers and dreams about seeing someone who isn’t a Christian become one, we need to remember the truth that church is about mission, which includes taking action to see the Gospel proclaimed to people outside our small churches.

Having all kinds of churches of all sizes is wonderful. But no matter the size, may we be concerned with those following Jesus experiencing life transformation in community and those who don’t know Jesus coming to know Him. May our size never interfere with seeing people find and experience new life.

Dan Kimball serves on the staff at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and is professor of missional leadership at George Fox University. His new book, Adventures in Churchland (Zondervan) is slated for release spring 2012.

The above article is from www.outeachmagazine.com web site and the July/August 2011 issue of Outreach Magazine.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.

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Winning On Your Home Court

Winning On Your Home Court
By Carlton L. Coon, Sr.

When a team plays at home… it sits in the chairs is selects, the home team’s band plays and the fight songs are those of the home team. Everything possible is done to make it a winning environment. Some of what I share is more relevant to those beyond Home Missions status, but the principles are applicable to virtually any church setting.

Create A Warm Atmosphere

There is something about the mood in the home of a true hostess. It is more than the décor… I’ve been where the decor was exceptional, but it was cold. People are like moths, they gravitate to light and warmth. Creating that atmosphere begins with understanding the significance of certain people.

Prioritize The Right People

In training ushers and greeters, John Maxwell identified the ten most important people on Sunday morning in your church. It is important to note the one Maxwell denotes as number one.

1. A Visitor Any visitor is a “VIP.” Their attendance has been motivated by a friend or deep need. He brings his hurts, questions, and apprehensions. A visitor looks for warmth, acceptance, and smiles. If he finds these, he will return.

2. The Usher Ushers are important because they are usually the ones who have the first contact with people. They help people with directions. They are the ones who represent the church to newcomers.

3. Nursery Workers As soon as space makes it possible, a nursery should be added. Young parents seeking a church will initially select that church more on the nursery care than on the doctrinal statement of the congregation. Nursery workers are frontline warriors in the work of growing a church. Training will give them confidence. Well-trained nursery workers give assurance to the parents that their child will be cared for.

4. Greeters welcome people with a smile and a handshake. They personally escort visitors to the appropriate rooms. Greeters watch for people who appear lost or hunting for the right place. These people also look for the newcomers at next week’s service. In the early stages, your usher and greeter might to be the same person.

5. The One Who Sits Beside A New Person Church people can be distant toward the guest sitting in the chair beside them. Train four people to reach out to new people. It creates a warm atmosphere when they smile and introduce themselves. Simple things like helping them locate a song, handing them a welcome card, sharing a Bible means a lot.

6. The Service Leader makes or breaks this warm environment. This person must relax and draw people into an atmosphere of praise and worship. Spend a few moments greeting people at the beginning or during the service. A service leader must be warm, personable, positive, and real. If the pastor leads the service use the time to build a rapport in preparation of preaching to the congregation.

7. The Worship Leader must be friendly and have the ability to put people at ease.

8. The People Who Sing must smile and look as if they enjoy what is going on.

9. The Pastor must convey warmth and a sincere interest in people. Notice that many impressions are made before the pastor gets a chance to make his. If those already attending are not equipped to welcome a visitor… then a warm and sincere pastor will not be effective.

10. A Follow-Up Person must show appreciation for the newcomer’s visit and extend them a gracious invitation to return.

Action Items

* Evaluate each of these ten key people at your church. This Sunday, look at things with a “Visitor’s Eye.” Rate things on a scale of 1-10. Would it feel good to be there? What needs to be worked on?

* Consider ordering a training program like Ushers And Greeters by John C. Maxwell, (INJOY Ministries, 1991)

Things A Pastor Or Service Leader Does To Create Warmth

1. Pause during the service to have people greet someone they do not know well.
Let music play in the background.

2. Pastor, get off the platform and out from behind the podium. Become real to the people who are there. The ivory-tower preacher, who descends twice a week to deliver an oracle and then retreats into his sanctuary, may have great scholarship and homiletical excellence; but he will not have warmth and a personal touch, It may well be as mysterious as the “sea of glass” not “mingled with fire.” A while back I was in Madison, Mississippi. It was interesting to see Pastor Jerry Dillon get off the platform to touch visitors. He shook hands and hugged the jail inmates who were there; he kissed babies and got acquainted with those visiting. All, while the worship service was going on. Pastor Dillon is an outstanding preacher, but in my estimation his approach to connecting with people is as much a key to his effectiveness as is his energetic preaching.

3. For some who visits, our Pentecostal praise is a mystery. It makes them extremely uncomfortable. Take time to explain what is happening. Use the Bible to validate what things that are happening: You can say, “I realize that this might be new to some of you. Let me take a moment and validate all this through the scripture. The Bible speaks of…

Kneeling in worship (Phil 2:9-10)
Bowing heads (Micah 6:6-8)
Raising heads (Psalm 3:3-4; Heb 4:16)
Lifting hands (Lam 3:40-41; Ps 63:3-4)

Waving hands in praise (Lev 9:21)
Dancing with joy before the Lord (Ps 30:11)
Clapping your hands (Psalm 47:1)
Shouting to the Lord (Psalm 47:1)
You don’t have to praise just like someone beside you… but take time to praise the Lord.” A short explanation demystifies all of this for the visitor. In a few minutes, you will see them start trying some of those things.

Action Items

* Last Sunday, while church was going on… did you get off the platform to go get acquainted with people? Would you try it… just this one Sunday? You might even take the opportunity to invite the visitor to go to diner with you.

* Develop a pattern you will use for explaining Pentecostal praise in two minutes or less. Use that pattern often. Eventually you will have it memorized. This is not aimed at your saints, but at visitors.

I’ve spent much time focusing attention on practical things we can do to connect to those who visit our home court. However, there is something else to consider. This moves into the realm of the spiritual. We must also:

Be Conductive To The Spirit

Jerusalem was never a major banking center or a world-class city of commerce. Her claim to fame was her beauty and joy. In those days if you told a travel agency you wanted to do worship, they’d send you up to Jerusalem. Their joyful praise and worship of Yahweh, their feasts and celebrations captured the attention of the pagan world. An Ethiopian traveled to Jerusalem, “…for to worship.” What are you known for?

Psalms informs that “…God dwells in the praise of Israel.” Other translations say, “He is enthroned in the praise of His people.” A Japanese translation expresses it, “Where people praise, God brings His big chair and sits down.” Praise celebrates what
Jesus Christ has done for us. A by-product of praise is to create an atmosphere where the Lord Jesus is warmly welcomed.

In Genesis, God created environment before he created the creature that would exist within the environment. We humans are gifted at creating the environment in which we exist. It is our responsibility to create an atmosphere conducive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Before

Train your people to gather for prayer before church. If you really want them to do it – be there yourself. Visit Alexandria, Louisiana on Sunday evening and at 5:30 Pastor Anthony Mangun is in the prayer room with his men. Visit Calgary on Sunday evening and Pastor Johnny King is in the prayer room with his people. By the way, both prayer rooms are full… both churches are vibrantly alive with worship and praise. Prayer before church should be a non-negotiable for you, the musicians and leaders.

Seek To Worship But Begin With Praise

Worship is the deepest expression of relationship with God. It is what every gathering should pursue. In reality, real worship – that attitude of inner prostration at the presence of God – is rarely attained. It is hard to go from the business of the welding shop or the accounting office directly into worship. It is a process. How do we get there?

Begin with leading people into praise. Praise simply celebrates what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in their life over the past few days. Praise can be done through song or a testimony. It can be a prayer-time victory report. Praise can flow from the simple reading of scripture. Psalm 136’s repeated, “…his mercy endureth forever” in each verse, is excellent for responsive praise. Have people to read a verse of scripture that expresses their personal praise is low risk. Ralph Herring in The Cycle of Prayer is that praise is simply the “making of glory.” One writer said the posture of praise is constant motion. Standing, clapping, lifting the hands are all postures consistent with spirit of praise. To sit still, looking dour, is clearly inappropriate for praise. Praise begins with the pastor. You cannot lead a church to be a praising church if all they see you do is stand about looking somewhat miserable.

Article “Winning On Your Home Court” written by Carlton L. Coon, Sr. it taken from Director’s Communiqué the May/June 2006 edition.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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