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Effective Church Insights from Revelation 2 & 3

Effective Church Insights from Revelation 2 & 3
Chuck Swindoll

Everybody I know has either read or heard about the best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Fireside) by Stephen Covey. I’d like to explore Seven Habits of Highly Effective Churches. Not the seven habits; I think there might be 17 or maybe even 70 habits to form in an effective church.

However, in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, I find seven practices that, if done consistently, keep a church effective. Use them as checkpoints in your own life. Each one is connected with a different church.

Think straight. The church at Ephesus, for whatever it didn’t have, had straight-thinking leaders. There was no false teaching in the Ephesian church. It was a church of remarkable orthodoxy. I urge that we follow suit. One of the few places that knows and declares right from wrong must be the local church. Let’s be who we say we are: a church of orthodoxy and “orthopraxy,” where we carry out in lifestyle what we proclaim with our lips. In a politically correct society that’s theologically incorrect, the church must keep thinking straight.

Model courage. We wish we knew more about the church at Smyrna. These saints really suffered. The more we think straight, the less popular we’ll be, the more we’ll be misunderstood, and as time passes, the more intense the pressure. Fear causes churches to pay too much attention to people’s opinions; fear makes us hesitant to explore great thoughts and dream great dreams; fear steals our joy. There’s no reason to be afraid if we’re standing for what’s right. A church that’s fearless is a church that remains effective.

Stay current (or relevant, if you prefer that). Pergamum was the capital of ancient Asia Minor, and as is true of every national capital, it was a hotbed of cultic activity and cultural relevance. In such a city, there’s an abundance of demonic activity and a too-wide range of tolerance. Right there, where Satan’s throne was, you could visit the church of Pergamum and hear truth. It was a church that wasn’t afraid of its times. It didn’t move to the suburbs. As George McCloud put it, “I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace, as well as on the steeple of the church.” If we hope to stay effective, we must stay current.

Resist erosion. Of the church at Thyatira, it was written, “Your deeds of late are greater than at first” (Revelation 2:19). It didn’t dumb down its message so people would feel good about themselves. It didn’t become an entertainment center. The church that stays effective knows who it is and doesn’t change because of the changing moral tide. Erosion never makes much noise and is never noticed except by the very discerning — who spot it and call it what it is, a compromise. Let’s resist erosion!

Face reality. Revelation 3:1 tells us about the church at Sardis: “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” The Sardis church was a morgue with a steeple. (Their offertory could have been The Way We Were.) The Lord says, “Wake up!” You can’t live on the basis of what you once were. Reputation stuff is rarely true — it’s usually exaggerated. One of the most difficult things for church leaders to do is to face the truth. If there are signs of death, deal with them!

Break molds. Philadelphia is the only church about which nothing negative is said. I call it a church that breaks molds. Revelation 3:8 says, “I have placed before you an open door.” This is an open door of opportunity, a gateway for fresh and new things. My great hope for our church is that we’ll learn to say yes far more often than no. How about an opportunity to provide support groups for the outcasts of society? Yes, let’s do that. How about helping those who’ve fallen on their faces get back on their feet? Yes, demonstrate that kind of grace. Let’s have a place where hope is offered; where we don’t make others fit into our mold before we’ll accept them. How about finding brand-new ways to reach our world that haven’t been tried before? How about welcoming many of the high-tech opportunities to assist in the process? Yes! Let’s break molds.

Fight mediocrity. Laodicea was a church that was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. The Lord said to them, “I wish that you were icy or that you were flaming hot; I can’t stand lukewarm.” It’s mediocrity that turns off the Lord. God help us from ever being satisfied with “good enough” . . . just another church in the Bible belt!

Let’s be like one of those first-century strongholds in the 21st-century morass of confusion. Let’s not just play church. Let’s be a church that models reality. God loves “real.”

Chuck Swindoll, is senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. He serves as the president of Dallas Theological Seminary and is the Bible teacher of the worldwide radio ministry, Insight for Living. Swindoll has published numerous books dealing with all aspects of Christian life.

The above article, “Effective Church Insights from Revelation 2 & 3” was written by Charles Swindoll. The article was excerpted from “Want to Be an Effective Church? Here’s How,” by Charles R. Swindoll. Downloaded from www.smartministry.com web site. September 2010.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

How Do You Motivate Your Congregation To Bring Friends And Family Each Week?

How Do You Motivate Your Congregation To Bring Friends And Family Each Week?
Dave Ferguson

Since the vision statement of Community Christian Church is “helping people find their way back to God,” we spend a lot of time dreaming, discussing, and talking about how we can do a better job of motivating our people to invite their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. As a result, during the last eight years, we have grown from 700 people in attendance to 5,000 people.

So here are a couple of suggestions:

Ask every week. We often overlook the most obvious solution-ask them! When is the last time you stood in front of your church and said, “Next week is going to be a great series to invite your friends, neighbors, family and co-workers to join you. Will you join me and ask someone who doesn’t go to church to come with you?” We complain that people in our churches do not invite others, but do we ask them? Just about every week we ask our people to invite and include new people.

Ignite twice a year. Twice a year we do something we call “Ignite.” Ignite is a combination of three key components: marketing, “wow,” and invitation.

* Marketing. For Ignite, we pick a high interest Big Idea and then spend some money marketing the series to the community. We have used a lot of different types of marketing: direct mail, billboards, newspapers, door hangers, and so on. Be creative.
* “Wow.” The “wow” is the reaction that we want from people who visit for the very first time. The “wow” will show up in every area of ministry-the “wow” of over-the-top hospitality from the time you pull into the parking lot to the time you leave. The “wow” will show up in our Kid’s City and cause the kids to insist that they come back next week. The “wow” will be seen in our celebration service as we use our very best musicians and artists on those weekends. Everyone on our staff and volunteer teams takes everything up a notch to make sure we create a “wow.”
* Invitation. We challenge our people to bring three people with them during the Ignite series. We will give them high-quality invitations to put into the hands of their friends and remind them that 50 percent of all people who are asked to go to church will say “yes.”

The twice-a-year Ignite campaign helps instill the value that we are all about “helping people find their way back to God” all year long.

The above article, “How Do You Motivate Your Congregation To Bring Friends and Family Each Week?” is written by Dave Ferguson. The article was excerpted from www.churchbuilders.com website. May 2013.

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 or research purposes.

Posted in AIS File Library, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

12 Emails You Can Send To Your Church

12 Emails You Can Send To Your Church
Church Fuel

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION 12 EMAILS YOU CAN SEND TO YOUR CHURCH

I subscribe to several church email lists. That means I get a ton of announcements. Pretty graphics describing a new series. Dates of special events. And lots of information. But rarely do I get something that helps me grow in my faith.

Fancy newsletters and information blasts rarely connect with people. They become inbox noise to people who are already busy. But email isn’t just for making announcements or sharing information-you can pastor your people via email.

You can use email to authentically connect with your congregation – to let them in on parts of your life. You can use email to share helpful resources to help people grow on their own. You can use email to challenge people to get more involved.

An email from the pastor is a powerful tool to help lead the church. Instead of blasting information, you can send authentic notes and helpful content. And I’ve done a lot of the work for you. Here are twelve cut-and-paste emails written from a pastoral point of view.

Some encourage people to take a step – maybe to serve somewhere or make a donation. But others are written to help them take a step of faith. To offer encouragement. To provide helpful resources. To pastor people.

Make a few adjustments and send them to your congregation. Wherever you see a sample church’s name, replace it with your own. Where you see reference to a link or download, supply your own material. Personalize them to fit your own church’s culture…and then send!
If you want more help on how to communicate effectively with your church, come join the Church Fuel community. We’ve got insanely practical resources, lots of coaching, and a community of pastors who know what’s like to communicate an important message.

 

Michael Lukaszewski Founder and CEO of Church Fuel

HERE’S WHAT GOD DID

JANUARY: HERE’S WHAT GOD DID

PURPOSE: Communicate wins to your church and inspire people to stay involved

CALL TO ACTION: Download last year’s annual report

James,
It’s nearly 2017. Can you believe it? I suppose this time of year puts people in a reflective mood. Last week I spent a little bit of time looking back on the last twelve months. There were some tough times, but there were a lot of good times. Here are just a few of my personal memories.
– Misty got her driver’s license – stay off the sidewalks!
– James played on a U9 baseball team and they made it to the league finals. Our family spent a week at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina sitting by the pool and eating watermelon. I even got to play a little golf. 2016 was also an important year for our church. When I came to BridgeWater Church three years ago, I prayed God would use our church to reach people. Here are a few things God did this past year.
– We baptized 62 people from age 7 to age 72. It’s always amazing to see life change pictured right before our eyes.
– By numbers standards, this was our best year ever for small groups. 64% of adults and students participated in a small group.
– We gave $23,324 to missionaries we support around the world. The Smiths in the Philippines and Haiti World Mission in Haiti received some of that support.

There is much to do, but before we charge into the new year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the last year. God has been faithful to our church. He is opening doors every day. People are being impacted by your involvement and generosity.

Our media team put together a PDF that tells even more stories. It’s our 2016 annual report. You can read and get a full report on the fnances, attendance, involvement, and more.

PDF: 2016 Annual Report

 

Pastor Chris
P.S. I’d love to hear from you. What did God do in your life this year?

THREE WAYS YOU CAN MEET PEOPLE AT CHURCH

FEBRUARY: THREE WAYS YOU CAN MEET PEOPLE AT CHURCH

PURPOSE: Facilitate relationships

CALL TO ACTION: Take a step toward getting connected

James,
One of the criticisms I hear about a big church is it’s too hard to get to know people. How can the pastor know if you’ve got something going on in your life if there are thousands of people there? But here’s what I’ve experienced. A church of ANY size seems too big if you don’t know anyone. Here are three ways you can get to know people at Bridgewater Church.

#1 – Linger in the lobby.
When the service is over, don’t rush to the parking lot. Take your time. Grab a cup of coffee in the lobby and introduce yourself to someone. Stop by the Information Center and meet one of our hosts. If you have children in KidZone, talk to the other parents and the volunteers. They aren’t too busy to talk with you.

#2 – Join a small group.
One of the best ways to “do life” with people is to join a small group. At Bridgewater, we call them community groups, because we want community to develop there. Whether it’s 50, 500 or 5,000 people in a church service, it’s tough to talk about life on Sunday morning. So these community groups meet in homes throughout the week. You can give one a try, and if it’s not right, you can try another one.

#3 – Join a volunteer team.
This is one of the best ways to get to know people. No matter your stage in life, there’s a certain camaraderie from working together. For example, the 25 or so adults who work in Fuse (our Junior High program on Wednesday nights), have become like family. Same goes for our 9 am parking lot workers – they have been known to tailgate before their shift. Serving at Bridgewater isn’t complicated. Those are just three ways you can meet people and make church feel a whole lot smaller!

 

Pastor Chris

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GROW AS A CHRISTIAN

MARCH: RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GROW AS A CHRISTIAN

PURPOSE: Promote spiritual growth

CALL TO ACTION: Take one of the five steps

James,
It’s my honor to be your pastor.
But I have a confession to make. If you’re depending on me to meet all of your spiritual needs, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m not the guru or expert. I don’t have a corner on the market.
Back in the 1500s, a guy named Martin Luther started a reformation helping people understand they could have direct access to God.
Luther was right – YOU have direct access to God. You can pray on your own, worship on your own, and serve on your own. The church is a huge part of faith, but you can grow in your faith all week long, not just on Sunday.
I wanted to send you some links and resources to help.

Bible
– YouVersion is a great website (and they have a fantastic app, too) for reading the Bible. You can choose a reading plan, share notes and questions with others, and keep track of your progress.
– The ESV Study Bible is a great Bible to keep at home. There are lots of footnotes and articles to help you understand context and meaning. I use this Bible when I’m working on sermons.

Books
Here are a few of the books I’ve read that have helped me grow in my faith.
– Basic Christianity
– The Reason for God
– Knowledge of the Holy
– What’s So Amazing About Grace?
– Mere Christianity

Podcasts
I listen to lots of sermons – here are some of my favorites.
– Andy Stanley
– Tim Keller
– John Ortberg
– Matt Chandler
– Rick Warren

I hope this list helps you grow in your faith. Pick one of the resources and try it out for a week or two. And be sure to let me know what you find helpful.

 

Pastor Chris

THREE REASONS YOU SHOULD BE IN A SMALL GROUP

APRIL: THREE REASONS YOU SHOULD BE IN A SMALL GROUP

PURPOSE: Encourage people to consider joining a small group

CALL TO ACTION: Check availability of small groups

James,
I know joining a small group is a big jump.
There are a lot of reasons you shouldn’t do it. Heck, I’ve made some of these same excuses and I’m the pastor! Here’s my list of excuses.
Excuse #1: There are weird people. You’re thinking something like this, aren’t you? If I join a small group, there will be weird people in there. They will probably have cats and want to talk about the book of Revelation the whole time. They are either going to make their own bread and homeschool their kids, collect action figures, or have a carpet recycling website. I don’t know if I can handle that level of weirdness. Let me go ahead and confirm your fears. Chances are, there WILL be a strange person in your group. But if it’s any consolation, you’re the person everyone else is afraid of.
Excuse #2: I’m too busy. On any given week, you work about 50 hours, drive about 10 hours, go to the grocery store, mow the grass, watch Sports Center, grill burgers, drive the kids to soccer practice, and call your mom. Every time you check one thing off the list, another thing is there to take its place. The pace is brutal, and you need all the hours you can. So the thought of taking a night in the middle of the week to go hang out with people and talk about the Bible isn’t really all that appealing. “This season of my life is just busy,” you tell yourself. But deep down you know this season of your life isn’t any busier than the last season of your life and is just as busy as the next season of your life. They are all busy seasons.
You don’t need a lecture to prioritize what’s truly important, so I’ll spare you. But I do want to give you permission. Permission to let something go undone. Permission to tell your kids they can’t do that activity because mom needs a night. Permission to eat out instead of make that healthy dinner.
Excuse #3: I’m an introvert. I’m pretty sure 60% of the people in the world are introverts. It seems like less, but that’s just because the extroverts are loud and everywhere. I’m an introvert – I am renewed and relaxed by being alone. Whether that’s in a coffee shop with a good book or in a movie on Friday afternoon – I like doing things by myself. Large groups of people drain me. Conversations wear me out. Like a strong blue cheese, it’s good in small amounts, but too much isn’t good for me. If you’re an introvert like me, the thought of hanging out with people talking about life sounds miserable. But once you break the ice and get through some of the silly stuff, it will be worth it. If you want people to come to your funeral, you’re going to have to get to know some people while you’re alive. Those are three of the reasons I’ve given myself for not jumping into a small group with others. So, what are yours?

Pastor Chris
P.S. If you’re ready to jump in, we’ll make it as easy as possible. Here is a link to some of the groups meeting right now. Each of them has space for new people. All you have to do is contact the leader.

MAKING THE MOST OF WORK

MAY: MAKING THE MOST OF WORK

PURPOSE: Help people understand the spiritual component to work

CALL TO ACTION: Order Tim Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor

James,
When you read the Bible, you’ll meet a lot of people God used who didn’t have “Christian” jobs. Nehemiah was a city planner and Esther was a powerful woman in a political world. God used them both. I wanted to share some thoughts with you about work. After all, we spend way more time at work than we do at church. But so many of us are miserable in our jobs. We view them as a means to an end. It’s something we get through so we can get what we want (the weekend or retirement). I’ll start at the beginning. In the beginning, God worked. The Bible begins talking about work as soon as it begins talking about anything – that is how important and basic it is. Work was not an evil that came into the picture. God’s plan for humans always involved them working, living in the constant cycle of work and rest. God made the world to need work. While God created other forms of life, only humans are explicitly given a job. We are called to stand in for God here in the world, exercising stewardship over the rest of creation. The Bible sees all work as distinguishing human beings from animals and elevating them to a place of dignity.
In Genesis, God is a gardener. In the New Testament, he is a carpenter. God made it our job to develop and build this society. We’re not just here to take up space – we are here to cultivate the garden. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul counsels readers that when they become
Christians it is unnecessary to change what they are currently doing in life in order to live lives that please God. In other words, you don’t have to quit your job and become a missionary to make a difference. You can be a missionary at your job. So how should we connect work to worship? How we view work and how we do our work matters more than you might imagine. Jesus spend the majority of his life as a carpenter, not a rabbi. He spent more time making tables than walking on water. Jesus knew what it was like to get up and go to work every day. Working with his hands was not beneath him.
Check out this quote from Dorothy Sayers.
“The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to moral instruction and church attendance. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.” The Apostle Paul said it this way: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
– Colossians 3:23-24
Work is not about economic exchange, making money or getting the dream, it’s about God-honoring human creativity and contribution. Martin Luther King, Jr. said this: “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep the streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like
Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.”
I’m blessed to be the pastor of Bridgewater Church. But don’t you ever think your job isn’t important. Don’t you ever think what I’m doing is more impacting than what you’re doing. Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference at work.
On Monday, go to work with God in mind. Go with a divine perspective. Understand that God has you there for a reason and that wherever you are, you are a minister of the Gospel.

Pastor Chris
P.S. If you want to read more on this subject, check out the book, Every Good Endeavor, by Tim Keller.

GREAT THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER

JUNE: GREAT THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER

PURPOSE: Encourage families to enjoy life this summer

CALL TO ACTION: Schedule one of the family activities this summer

Hey, it’s Pastor Chris.

I hope you’re excited about a great summer and maybe have a weekend getaway or family vacation planned. I love summer vacations – but you don’t have to do an elaborate trip to enjoy some time with your family and friends. I was searching for things to do with my family this summer and came across a ton of great articles and ideas.

Here are five of my favorite ideas:
1. Family Game night. Each person picks a classic board game and play as a family. You can print up funny certificates for the winners.
2. Around the World theme weeks. Each week, pick a country and learn a little about it. Put the fag on your fridge. Cook a meal that comes from that part of the world. Pray for a missionary there.
3. Disposable Camera project. In a world of iPhones and Instagram, you might be surprised they still sell these film cameras. But they do. Give one to each family member and give them an assignment. Develop in an hour and let everyone share during dinner on Sunday night.
4. Visit the library. Yep, the library. In addition to books and films, you might also enjoy story time or some of their special activities.
5. Summer Movies. The Cinemark Theater on Roosevelt shows family movies on Tuesday for $1 each.

Our children’s ministry also has some big activities planned for you and your family this summer. Check out those details below:
1. VBS is July 12-14. Last year, more than 200 children attended.
Here’s the link to pre-register.
2. Small Group Bowling. All the KidZone small groups are going bowling on June 17 at 6pm. Check with your child’s small group leader for information.
3. KidZone is every Sunday morning at 10 am. Kids are learning about heroes of the Bible during their large group and small group time. You won’t find a better activity!

Pastor Chris

21 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED AT BRIDGEWATER CHURCH

JULY: 21 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED AT BRIDGEWATER CHURCH

PURPOSE: Invite people to volunteer

CALL TO ACTION: Fill out an interest form

James,
Are you looking for some ways to get more involved at Bridgewater? Well, here’s a list of some out of the ordinary things you could do but that would make a big difference.
1. Help in the office during the week.
2. Be a part of our Social Media Team.
3. Escort first time parents and kids to their classrooms.
4. Be a part of a small group that helps our pastor with sermon prep.
5. Lead a small group of teenagers. Questions and pizza provided.
6. Hand out bulletins as people enter the auditorium
7. Wear a neon vest and help park cars.
8. Review handouts and newsletters for typos. (See what I did there?)
9. Work from home to prepare craft projects for children.
10. Troubleshoot the computerized kid’s check in on Sunday mornings.
11. Wear a security shirt and an ear piece and patrol the parking lot.
12. Create announcement videos.
13. Help curate audio and video content on the web.
14. Go through some tech training and work on the tech team.
15. Take pictures at special events.
16. Provide snacks and drinks for other volunteers.
1 7. Pray for the church service during the church service.
18. Join the web team and help keep our website current.
19. Help us keep track of data and spreadsheets.
20. Rock babies during the church service so parents can go to church.
21. Write stories and recaps of events and activities

Are you uniquely skilled or passionate about any of those things? Do any of these things sound interesting to you?

If you want to jump in, just hit reply and let me know. I’ll connect you to the right person and you can take it from there.

Pastor Chris

THREE REASONS WE READ THE BIBLE (AND WHERE TO START)

AUGUST: THREE REASONS WE READ THE BIBLE (AND WHERE TO START)

PURPOSE: Promote Spiritual Growth

CALL TO ACTION: Seven-day Bible Reading Plan

James,
My powers of persuasion rarely work on my kids. But I’m hoping for better results today. I’ll be straight with you – I want to talk you into doing something. I’m hoping to convince you to read the Bible every day this week. Seven days in a row. Here are three reasons I think you should:
1. There’s interesting stuff in the Bible. Don’t ever let someone tell you the Bible is boring. If someone says that, they aren’t reading it right.
Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, wars and conquest, love and marriage, Peter cutting off a soldiers ear, a dead man coming back to life-I could go on and on. There are some incredible stories in the Bible.
2. The Bible is unlike any other book. This might surprise you, but the
Bible isn’t really a book at all. It’s a collection of 66 small books or letters.
It was written by 40 different authors across a couple of continents and in three languages. It’s been collected. Organized and preserved for us.
3. The Bible has influenced the world like no other book. The Bible has shaped more than preachers-it’s influenced Presidents and Kings.
I know it’s overwhelming, but did you know if you read just 15 minutes a day, you can read the whole Bible in about a year. If you read God’s Word for just 15 minutes a day, I think you will benefit.

SO, WHERE DO I START?
I know this sounds weird, but if you want to start reading the Bible, I don’t recommend starting from the beginning. (I told you the Bible wasn’t like other books-can you imagine starting a novel from the middle?)

If I were you, I would start with the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of John. It’s all about the life of Jesus, and it was written by one of his best friends.

So what do you say? Will you give it a try?

Pastor Chris

P.S. If you want to read online, here’s a great website. You can follow a reading plan or just dive in to the Book of John.

WHY YOU SHOULD INVITE SOMEONE TO CHURCH

SEPTEMBER: WHY YOU SHOULD INVITE SOMEONE TO CHURCH

PURPOSE: Encourage people to invite those they know to church

CALL TO ACTION: Invite one person to church

James,
When we ask people how they first came to Bridgewater Church do you know what they tell us?
It’s not direct mail or Facebook.
It’s not the yellow pages or our website.
It’s not because of the awesome pastor.
The #1 way people end up a part of Bridgewater Church is because someone invited them. Here are three reasons you should invite someone to Bridgewater:
1. They might make a friend.
Some of my best friends in the world are at Bridgewater. Friendship is one of life’s great treasures, and church is a great place to make friends.
How cool would it be if you invited someone to church and they made a lifelong friend?
Do you know anyone that needs a friend? Invite them to church.
2. They might be encouraged.
They say only 20% of an iceberg is visible above he water. The rest is below the surface. I think people’s struggles are like that, too. You never really know what they are going through. They might look happy on the outside, but they are really in need of hope or encouragement. A simple invitation to church might be a spark of hope for someone.
Do you know anyone that needs encouragement? Invite them to church.
3. They might meet Jesus.
In the book of Acts, you can read about a guy named Andrew who brought his brother to meet Jesus. Andrew’s brother was Peter, who turned out to be a great Apostle (he’s got massive churches named after Him!). By far, the best reason to invite someone to church is they might meet Jesus. Eternity can be altered because of a simple invitation. So what do you say? Who can you invite to Bridgewater Church this week?

Pastor Chris
P.S. If you bring someone, please introduce them to me. I’d love to say hi.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL OVERWHELMED?

OCTOBER: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL OVERWHELMED?

PURPOSE: Encourage people in their everyday lives

CALL TO ACTION: Take time this month to remember the true meaning of the holiday season.

James,
This is an awesome time of year. But it also drives people crazy.
On one hand you have cooler weather, football season (Go Big Blue!), and colorful leaves. And on the other hand, you’ve got busy school schedules, extra activities, and holiday planning. Halloween to Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year.
The holiday to remind us to be thankful turns into family drama.
Celebrating the birth of Jesus is the time we shop for people we don’t really like. House guests, credit card bills, school plays, and needing to be in two places at one time!
(As I’m writing this I’m imaging that piano music from Charlie Brown and people running around in double time.)
So what do you do when you feel overwhelmed? What happens when you’ve got too much going on and you’re not sure how much more you can take?
I confess I don’t have it all figured out. But I do want to offer a few pastoral suggestions if that’s okay. Here it goes:
#1. You don’t have to do it all.
Your children are not going to be scarred for life if they don’t get what the neighbor’s kids get. You’re not going to get freed if you don’t attend the office party. And it’s even okay to miss out on a church activity or two. When the new year rolls around, it’s more important to have your sanity than to have attended every single thing.
#2. Take some time for yourself.
It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. After all, there’s a reason they tell you to put the oxygen mask over your own face first. If you’re out of control, you won’t be in any position to help anyone. So don’t be afraid to take an afternoon, a weekend or a night for yourself. Go ahead and put it on the calendar and don’t apologize for it.
#3. Remember the point.
Let Thanksgiving be a time for giving thanks, not for getting the recipe just right. Let Halloween be fun for your kids. And take time to read the
Christmas story and reflect on God’s grace at Christmas. When you find yourself stressed because of the schedule, hit the pause button and think about why you’re doing it all in the first place.
Here’s a link to the Christmas Story from the book of Luke. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe this will give you a spiritual perspective.
I hope this email encourages you during this busy season.

God bless!
Pastor Chris

WHY I GIVE TO BRIDGEWATER CHURCH

NOVEMBER: WHY I GIVE TO BRIDGEWATER CHURCH

PURPOSE:Encourage people to give from a position of authenticity

CALL TO ACTION: Give online

James,
Do you remember an infomercial for the Hair Club for men? James Whitman looked into the camera and said, “I’m not just the President of the company-I’m a user.” I’m blessed to be the pastor of Bridgewater church. I really am. But I’m not just the pastor. Bridgewater is my church. We’re in a small group. My kids have a Sunday School teacher. And I financially support my church.
I don’t just pastor the church – I support the church by giving at least 10% of my income every month. Here are three reasons Jennie and I do this:
1. I want to be an example to my kids. Let’s face it – we’re living in pretty selfish times. We don’t have to teach kids how to be selfish. They just figure that out on their own! So I want to be a counter-cultural example to my children. Generosity is more than an attitude – it’s an action. I want them to know that I don’t just feel generous, but that I actually give.
2. I believe in our mission. I believe “reaching people far from God so they can have new life in Christ” is important. Those aren’t just words on a website – they are a rally cry worthy of my attention.
3. I want to make a difference. When I give to Bridgewater, I’m making a dent in eternity. You don’t have to be an insider to know that donations make a different. Read this article or download the annual report to see where the money goes.
Those are just three reasons Jennie and I give to Bridgewater. I’d love to invite you to do the same. In fact, I’d love to encourage you to do what we do – set up an online profile and give automatically.

Pastor Chris
P.S. If you ever have questions about the finances or want more information, just let me know.

SEVEN THINGS TO PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN

DECEMBER: SEVEN THINGS TO PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN

PURPOSE: Help parents lead their family

CALL TO ACTION: Pray this week

James,
We talk a lot about prayer at Bridgewater Church. And for those of you who have children or grandchildren, I wanted to send you some specifc ideas.
Jon Bloom published at article at DesiringGod.org called Seven Things to Pray for Your Children. Here’s the link to the full article, but the seven items are below. I thought these were great.
1. That Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming. (Matthew 19:13-15)
2. That they will respond in faith to Jesus’ faithful, persistent call. (2 Peter 3:9)
3. That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfil the greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:37-39)
4. That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage. (2 Corinthians 6:14)
5. That their thoughts will be pure. (Philippians 4:8)
6. That their hearts will be stirred to give generously to the Lord’s work. (Exodus 35:29)
7. That when the time is right, they will GO! (Matthew 28:18-20) Why don’t you print out this list and pray one of these things each day for the next week?

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your children is to pray for them. A praying parent is truly a powerful influence.

Pastor Chris
P.S. If you’d like me to pray for your children, I’d be honored. Just reply and let me know how to pray.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SERVE AND LEAD YOUR CHURCHES, VISIT CHURCHFUEL.COM

The above article, “12 Emails You Can Send To Your Church” was written by Church Fuel. The article was excerpted from www.churchfuel.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

Job Description: Promotions Department Director

Job Description: Promotions Department Director
United Pentecostal Church – 1989
Tim Massengale

Job Purpose

To administer and supervise the Promotions Department in a manner that will communicate to the church, visitors and to the public at large, the message of Truth, plus all church activities, ministries and programs. Being a visual mode of communication, it is expected that the work of Promotions be of the highest quality, integrity and professionalism. Major focus will be placed upon developing the Monthly Bulletin, designing of flyers and promotional literature, public service announcements and news releases (newspaper/radio), bulk mailing, and advertising through various means. By focusing upon these, the activities of the Promotions Department becomes an important extension of our churches ministry and outreach to a lost and hungry world.

Job Qualifications

l. Must be filled with the Holy Ghost.
2. Must meet the qualifications for church membership.
3. Must be loyal to the Pastor.
4. Must be willing to work in harmony with others.
5. Must carry a burden for the Promotions Ministry.
6. Must be able to instill enthusiasm for Promotions work.
7. Must be able to lead and motivate Promotions staff.
8. Must desire quality and perfection of work.
9. Must be faithful and dependable in accomplishing duties.
10. Must have a basic knowledge of lay-out design and advertising in general.

Job Responsibilities

** Shall oversee and supervise all operations of the Promotions Department under the direction of the Pastor. Shall seek to fulfill all responsibilities with tact, zeal and dedication.

** Shall oversee and supervise the publishing of a monthly church bulletin for members and visitors, including such articles as:
a. Pastor’s page f. People Profile (testimony)
b. Highlights of Sermons g. Departmental News
c. Church News and Events h. Humor (quips, quotes, cartoon)
d. Photo-spread Page i. Photo – new converts, baptisms
e. Monthly Calendar j. Special Promotion of Big Event

* Note: Shall use a variety of clip-art and photographs in this publication.

** Shall provide ushers/hostesses with enough monthly bulletins to hand out to visitors.

** Shall maintain a mailing list of all members and visitors for the purpose of bulk mailing monthly bulletin, revival flyers, and special announcements to all on mailing list. This must be updated at least once each year.

** Shall provide one page each month in the Monthly Bulletin to highlight and focus upon one department to promote their ministries, programs, and annual events.

** Shall oversee the design and production of all printed materials and flyers that the church or departments might need, keeping quality at its best.
a. All other department heads will be instructed to come through your department if they wish to have anything printed. All printed materials must either be designed by your department or approved by your department.

** Shall advertise church activities in local newspapers, radio stations, special activities bulletin board, and in any other means as approved of by Pastor.
a. Special attention shall be given to the free community announcements made by all public radio stations and newspapers, utilizing this method as much as possible.

* RADIO
1. Make a list of all radio stations that have community bulletin boards and request station format.
2. Mail in announcements of importance such as revivals, special services, musicals, dramas, etc. in the approved format.
3. Radio stations are required by FCC law to supply non-profit organizations with free community announcements and services. But they will not give free advertising. You must word announcements carefully and properly in order to be accepted.

* NEWSPAPERS
1. Contact religious editor of local newspaper(s) and find out in what manner they wish to receive church news and announcements.
2. Type all church announcements and special services according to the newspapers requirements and submit to the religious editor for editing.
3. Contact the local new desk to inform of any church activities that would be of a community service nature. Request photographer if possible.
4. Remember that unlike radio, newspapers are not required by law to print anything. Be courteous at all times.

** Shall oversee all church bulletin boards (excluding classrooms) and endeavor to keep them neat and attractive. The theme and design of the boards shall be changed each quarter.

** Shall place a photograph of all baptisms on the church bulletin board, along with a note welcoming that new convert to the church family. Make this attractive.

** Shall work with the pastor to select a “theme” or “slogan” for each year and promote this theme in all advertising and promotional literature.

** Shall oversee the outside and inside sign board, keeping message appropriate and up to date: i.e. – special services, speakers, funerals & weddings, etc.
a. May use an approved “quip or quote” when there is room.

** Shall maintain the church Book Rack in a neat and orderly manner, keeping it stocked with approved Pentecostal literature.
a. Shall keep neat and accurate records of all funds and purchases.
b. Promote the book rack through various means: bulletin, bulletin board, flyers, etc.
c. Stock should be kept attractive, up to date, and rotated regularly by having occasional sales and specials.

** Shall insure that all major motels, hotels, and airports have the church listed in the local church register, and that address and phone number is up to date.

** Shall make sure that the equipment and supplies used by the Promotions Department is kept clean and in good repair.

** Shall try to the best of your ability to meet all deadlines and goals in the expected amount of time. Any changes in activities or deadlines will be reported to the Pastor.

Other Duties

** Shall work with the Pastor to select a department assistant and a church photographer to work with you in all activities and duties of the Promotions Department.

** Shall be an example to the church in faithfulness by attending all church services and functions.

** Shall 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.

** Shall be an example to the church in spiritual growth by coming at least one-half hour before each service to pray.

** Shall endeavor to not schedule any departmental activities on Monday night. Monday will be known as “Family Night” and all church members are encouraged to stay home with their families on this night.

** Shall attend all Annual Planning Retreats and Monthly Departmental Planning Councils.

** If unable to attend because of an emergency, shall inform the Pastor in advance and endeavor to have a substitute attend in your place.

** Shall hand in an official monthly report at the Monthly Staff Council.

** Shall perform additional duties as required.

Organizational Relationships

The Promotions Director is responsible directly to the Pastor. Each year, the Pastor and Promotions Director will review this Job Description, update and improve to make more applicable to the position. Accountability shall consist of a monthly report of all Promotions activities and upcoming events. The Promotions Director is responsible for all Promotions Department staff and personnel. The director shall work very closely with all departments to help promote each departments activities and programs. Evaluation of performance of this position shall be performed by the Pastor on an annual basis. The term of this office shall be for one year.

Training and Development

** Purchase & Read “Publicity Handbook for Churches and Christian Organizations” by James A. Vitti (Zondervan)
** Purchase & Read “Public Relations Handbook for Your Church” by Barbara Williams (Judson Press)
** Read “Let My People Grow” by Tim Massengale (Revival Research)
** Make appointment to talk to Religious editor of the two city newspapers about how to best provide articles on church activities.
** Read any additional book(s) provided by the Pastor.

Job Goals for the year of 1989

** Develop a Promotions staff and a church photographer to assist you with the creation of the monthly bulletin and its distribution.
** Develop a mailing list of all past visitors (for one year) and church members.
** Obtain bulk-mailing permit
** Have monthly church bulletin mailed to all visitors at bulk rates if possible.
** Develop the church mini-book rack (contact PPH for information on how).
** Begin mailing in Public Service Announcements/News Releases to radio & newspapers of all church activities.
** Explore possibility of newspaper advertising and improved yellow pages ad.
** Improve the appearance of church bulletin boards.
** Develop Job Descriptions for all interdepartmental positions.

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When Conservatism Isn’t Enough

When Conservatism Isn’t Enough
Jeff Christopherson

Well-worn paths typically mark the desired way forward. The assumption is that others have walked that route and arrived at their desired destination. Unfamiliar travelers looking for a safe outcome would be foolish to take an alternate path.

The same is not true for missional leaders in our day. It can’t be. Many of us desire to arrive at a destination that’s been shared by kingdom travelers since the advent of the church. We want to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. We long for robust disciples, healthy churches, transformed culture. This destination is fixed for those submitted to the Lordship of Christ and the authority of his Word.

But the path we take if we hope to arrive at this destination can’t be the same well-worn paths of our predecessors. It’s as if the path they took has been ravished by a horrific storm. The sociological, political, and cultural realties of our day have pushed trees over the path-they’ve marred our ability to walk the same way. And, they make it futile to try to walk that path anyway. Of course, we could climb over broken limbs and under hanging branches, but the journey would be slow, cumbersome, and unhelpful. Better to create a new path to the same, inalterable destination.

The Familiar Dichotomies
As I look at the challenges facing the church, I’m increasingly skeptical that our well-worn categories of liberalism and conservatism are a helpful distinction to describe faithfulness to Christ. This is the path marked by some in generations prior. The terminology and methodology that distinguished this path once seemed clear, but now it’s obscured by false dichotomies, harsh assumptions, critical stereotypes, and defunct methods. And this division that is splitting the world’s political landscape has pervasive influence on the modern church.

We look at the well-worn path of previous generations and we have two options.

We can follow their lead and walk the same path. We can attempt to reorganize a moral majority and return to social prominence. We can try slice and dice our theological nuance and skewer those with whom we disagree in an effort to return to our perceived golden era. We can allow our own needs and nostalgic preference to drive our mission.

But the instinct to turn inward and backward is always a dead end. It’s an instinct driven by fear, not by love. It’s a selfishness that rallies its tribe toward a provincial self-preservation of its rights, not a missionary force that sacrifices its rights for a greater spiritual harvest. Inwards and backwards is the defensive position of a losing cause.

A Necessary Shift
A more accurate calibration of fidelity might be a shift from looking backward and inward to looking forward and outward. Forward and outward is the very faith that Jesus’ church has always been built upon. The call is to cut new paths to the same old destination and, in so doing, demonstrate missiological savvy that can stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Great Commission that contextualize those great truths to the needs of the harvest in our day. This necessitates a path beyond the dichotomies of liberal and conservative and will, instead, require new language which speaks to long-standing missionary decisions.

It will require us to put all others ahead of ourselves and humbly take a backseat so that a lost and loved world can make their way to Jesus. We must dive deeply into our disciple making assignment and undertake a change in regime by winning hearts and minds with a sincere belief in the preeminence of our good news over the power of a political force. We will prepare God’s people, wherever they’re found, to bring good news to the desperately broken-hearted that surround them.

What is the future of the twenty first century church? It can’t be a breakneck desire to reclaim our twentieth century prominence. Those days are gone. We can’t pave the same path again because doing so will only exacerbate our losses by further eroding the authenticity of our mission. The white-knuckled instinct of clutching to yesterday’s forms is not an instinct propelled by a Great Shepherd searching for his lost sheep. It’s a darker instinct motivated by safe and selfish sheep, deaf to the frantic bleating of their neighbors.

The future is for under-shepherds who, while holding firmly to theological orthodoxy, understands that genuine orthopraxy can only be found in the missionary impulse of a local church. It’s for men and women, boys and girls, who in true Pauline fashion, level every cultural barrier, thrash every sacred obstacle, in order to allow the spiritually disconnected to have a clear picture of their sacrificial Lamb.

The future is forward and outward.

Jeff Christopherson is an author and Chief Missiologist and Vice President of the Send Network. He also serves as Co-Executive Director of the Send Institute, a partnership of the Billy Graham Centerat Wheaton College and the North American Mission Board.

The above article, “When Conservatism Isn’t Enough” was written by Jeff Christopherson. The article was excerpted from www.christianitytoday.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

Reaching Out to Non-Believers this Holiday Season

Reaching Out to Non-Believers this Holiday Season
Ed Stetzer

Relationships are a significant means through which people can be reached with the gospel.

Going to church, believe it or not, can be a controversial topic around the holiday season. Some of us go consistently each week, some of us used to go, and some of us have vowed to never walk through the halls of a church again.

Everyone comes from different families, cultures, and backgrounds and thus we all have different stories in this regard.

Recently, I was having a conversation with my Uber driver about her experience in church. As we spoke, she shared that at one point she had been attending pretty frequently but has since found herself less engaged. During the course of our time together, as a pastor of course, I couldn’t help but suggest that she might reconsider her decision.

You see, we all know people like my Uber driver across many spectrums. Many have a complex relationship with churchgoing over the course of their individual lifetimes. Some are believers who have gone; others are believers who’ve stopped going altogether.

Others still actually aren’t believers at all, but perhaps people who are trying church out for the first time-in fact, chances are, there are people like that sitting next to you in service more Sundays than not.

Around the holiday times each year, followers of Christ have the opportunity to enter into spiritual conversations with family members and friends. Many of those conversations will likely end up at the very least touching on the subject of church in some way, shape, or form.

According to Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research, that despite our many assumptions, the reality is that “many would welcome going to a Christmas service with someone they know.”

A study performed by LifeWay Research shows that across the country, Americans are much more likely to attend church at Christmastime. When asked the question: “If someone you know invited you to attend church with them at Christmas, how likely would you be to attend?” Over half (57%) of respondents said they’d be likely to come.

As we see here, relationships are a significant means through which people can be reached with the gospel.

Now, of course God can reach people through any means he chooses-not just through family members, friends, and neighbors. Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus with neither a soul nor an evangelist in sight.

But, the beauty about all this is that even though God doesn’t need us, he chooses to use us as a means through which to reveal himself to people. We are conduits of his love and grace in a broken and hurting world with the unique honor and privilege of entering into the work that he’s doing in the lives of those close to us.

Just for a moment, think about how much more compelling the gospel message is coming from someone you already know and trust. Who are you more likely to listen to-a stranger on the street handing you a flier telling you to come to church or a friend who’s known you all your life and walked with you through thick and thin?

LifeWay Research did a study in cooperation with the Billy Graham Center on unbelievers’ willingness to enter into spiritual conversations with their friends. As it turns out, nearly 80% say that if a friend values his or her faith in Jesus, they are willing to talk to the friend about it even if they themselves are not believers. Scott McConnell shared his thoughts this way: “Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith-They just don’t think church is for them.”

Truthfully speaking, people in this demographic won’t know otherwise until they’re invited to check it out for themselves.

While the idea of inviting an unbelieving friend to church can seem daunting from afar, know that there are times in the New Testament that we are told to account for the presence of unbelievers in our Sunday morning services. This is not a foreign concept to the early church, and neither should it be to us in our 21st century context today.

This holiday season, I encourage all of you to find ways to reach out to the unbelievers and infrequent churchgoers in your circles extending them an invitation to join you at church. Here are some quick strategies to go about this well.

First off, extend pressure-free invitations. The people you know and choose to invite should always feel welcome to join you without sensing a certain pressure to take you up on your initial offer. I’ve tried to, in my own personal life, make a habit of inviting my neighbors to church around Christmas and Easter each year.

I’ll let them know about the special services we’re having, and let them know that I’d love for them to join-I’d recommend that you try doing the same with your neighbors this year!

In the event that the person (or people) you invite choose to turn you down, refrain from getting frustrated, defensive, agitated, or bitter about it. Know that God asks you only to plant seeds which frees you to keep all your interactions and invitations pressure free.

Second, welcome questions. It’s quite natural that unbelievers who find themselves in church around the holiday season or any other time don’t really quite know what to believe, where to connect, or why it matters in the first place.

If someone you know and love joins you on a Sunday morning, invite them out for lunch afterwards. Offer to talk through what they’ve learned, what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they might still have questions about.

Even if you don’t know all the answers (and you probably won’t), what matters most is maintaining a consistent posture of honesty and humility. This will help your friend feel safe, known, heard, and willing to dive into spiritual conversations.

Last, be a friend. Recognize that whoever you invite to join you at church this holiday season, that person is on a spiritual journey all their own. God alone is overseeing that process of growth-not you, not me, not your pastor, only the Lord.

You’ve been called to be a good friend to this person whether they live near you, work in your building, or are related to you by flesh and blood. You can’t save them, but you can love them, care for them, and most importantly, you can also pray for them.

In Christians in the Age of Outrage, I talk about writing the names of friends, co-workers, and neighbors down to pray for them. And our latest resource at the Billy Graham Center is called Be.Loved. and is focused on 25 simple ways to love those around us this holiday season. I invite you to download your digital copy here.

Friends, we need to be asking God each day for chances to bless and encourage those around us as well as share the gospel message. These opportunities are priceless-may we take advantage of them each and every time.

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

The above article, “Reaching Out to Non-Believers this Holiday Season” was written by Ed Stetzer. The article was excerpted from www.christianitytoday.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

3 Steps To Help People At Your Church Become Connected And Known

3 Steps To Help People At Your Church Become Connected And Known
Jennifer Winge

No matter the size of your church, people need community. We are reminded in Hebrews 10:24-25 how important and challenging community can be: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It can be even more challenging as churches grow. Here are three steps to help people feel connected and known as your church grows.

1. Make Your First Connection Count

The “front line” team of a church can go by a variety of different names: Connections Team, Hosts, Greeters, First Impressions, etc. Whatever your team is called, initial contacts matter. I am a huge proponent of parking teams – regardless of the size of your church.

It isn’t about parking cars, it is about making people feel at ease and wanted as they come on the church property. Whether the team is stationed in the parking lot, at the front doors, at your Kids Ministry check-in, or in the sanctuary, they need to be the people who always have a welcoming smile for those coming into the church. This team is not made up of behind the scenes quiet folks. This team is made up of the friendliest people in your church. They will lead a casual attender toward community.

“It isn’t about parking cars, it is about making people feel at ease and wanted as they come on the church property.”

2. Ensure People Are Known

Have you ever walked into a place you frequent and the person you see every time acts like you are a complete stranger? It’s frustrating. Why? Because we desire and expect to be known. I recently was in Georgia and went to the nail salon I frequented prior to us moving two years ago. To say I had built a friendship with those folks would not be true. I am an in-and-out girl and a little small talk would be the extent of our relationship, but I have spent a good bit of time in that shop over the years. The owner of the shop looked at me and said, “I haven’t seen you in forever. You moved about two years ago, right?” I was blown away she would not only remember me, but knew when I moved. I left a pretty good tip for no other reason than how it made me feel to still be known.

Some people are great with names. I am not. I have to be intentional when trying to remember names, if they have kids, or where they said they were headed for vacation over the summer. Calling a person by name when you have only met them once or twice makes them feel known and like they belong. When we teach our teams to remember people it creates a sense of belonging and community. It may be as simple as saying, “It is great to see you again” or “I missed seeing you last week.” This is where follow up processes can be a helpful tool to ensure people don’t fall through the cracks.

“When we teach our teams to remember people it creates a sense of belonging and community.”

3. Pour Into Deep Relationships

We can’t have deep relationships with everyone. And there are few things worse than a person trying to connect with someone because of an obligation. It is disingenuous and motivated by the wrong reasons. What we can do, however, is build the relationships that come naturally to us. Both of my sons have had the privilege to be a part of the wedding of their Middle School Small Group Leaders. It shows a depth of relationship when they had a leader who connected with them in community. Those relationships matter and transcend time and distance.

Community is a process. As we try to navigate the complexities of creating a culture of authentic community, we have to remember it is something developed over time. It starts with a first impression and, if we’re intentional, can turn into a meaningful, Christ-centered community that helps us (and others) grow.

The above article, “3 Steps To Help People At Your Church Become Connected And Known” was written by Jennifer Winge. The article was excerpted from https://www.vanderbloemen.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

3 Teams That Are Critical To Church Growth

3 Teams That Are Critical To Church Growth
Churchfuel.com

Church growth should be a team effort, with God as the head of that team.
God has provided the people who are leading the church with you-staff and volunteers-and they need to understand their critical role in the health and growth of the church as a whole.

Each person and every ministry team they’re leading is important and their team’s operations can have an impact on the church’s future. But when it comes to Sundays, some teams have a more critical role in helping or hindering church growth than others.

Get these three teams healthy and on board with the church’s mission and strategy, and you’re well on your way to a growing church.

The Hospitality Team

Your church’s hospitality team are the first faces that people interact with when they visit your church. It’s critical for the Hospitality Team to understand the vital nature of their role. For a first-time guest or even a regular attender, a bad experience with a rude and unhelpful Hospitality Team member can lead to a decision to not ever come back through the doors of your church.

And it doesn’t take long to decide. According to Will Mancini, leader of church consulting firm Auxano, guests know within 11 minutes of driving up whether they’re coming back to your church or not. He said, in reference to evaluating the guest experience of your church, “It’s hard to overstate the wow factor a church body creates by serving generously through a system of hospitality.”

One thing you can do today to improve your church’s hospitality is schedule a meeting to plan a run-through of what it currently feels like for guests to come to your church. A few questions you can start with:
Are there signs or people (or both!) in place to make it easy for guests to identify where to enter, exit, and park?

How complicated is it for a guest to find the children’s ministry and check in their child? It may seem obvious to you but try to see it through the eyes of someone who has never been in the building.

Can hospitality team members and the “welcome center” be clearly identified? Consider having the team wear t-shirts or badges that make them easy to find when a guest has a question.

Is the team prepared to answer questions? Make a list of frequently asked questions and make sure the team is properly trained in answering them.
Your church may seem friendly to those inside while not being welcoming to new people coming in. Taking small steps can make a huge difference in making guests feel welcome.

The Student/Children’s Ministry Team

Choosing and deciding to regularly attend a church is often a family affair. Parents are likely to weigh the experience of their children with their own experience with the church. In other words, it’s just as important to invest in the health of your student and children’s ministry teams as the sermon content in the main service, the music, etc.

If your student and children’s ministry teams have solid processes, engaged staff and volunteers, and a welcoming environment, this team can be a tremendous avenue of growth for the church. Think of the student/children’s ministry as one “entry point” for non-churched people.
If their children get in the car after service and tell the parents about the new friends they made and how much fun they had, the parents are much more likely to come back to the church because of their child’s great experience.

The same is true for the students/teens in your church who are able to volunteer, get involved in student ministry activities, and be an anchor of their family to regularly attend church.

The Leadership Team

Many of the decisions that affect church growth the most are made before Sunday even arrives. That’s why it’s so important for the entire leadership team of the church to be informed, involved, and on the same page.

Before the Hospitality, Student/Children’s Ministry, or any other teams are able to get healthy and contribute to the growth of the church, good leaders are being hands-on by investing in the development of systems, processes, staff, and volunteers.

The leadership team can start a conversation by asking questions that challenge the teams to be the best they can be and to cultivate a growth mindset. A few questions leaders can start with:

Which volunteer leaders (linked to: https://churchfuel.com/volunteers-into-leaders/) are ready to step up to encourage the team and prevent the burnout of other volunteers and staff? Burnout is detrimental to church growth so it’s important for your entire team to share the load.

What type of planning or financial support do our teams need to improve their ministry and help the church grow? If new signs, t-shirts, a new church lobby layout, or other resources are needed, the leadership of the church should be aware and the teams should feel their support.

What about our church has caused the current students and children in our church to want to come back and what has kept others from coming back? It can be helpful to ask people in your church for feedback in this area and bring that feedback into the leadership’s strategy meetings.

How accessible is the leadership team? People who are new to the church could be turned off by feeling that they can’t get to know the leadership. For example, having a system for personally responding to emails, scheduling meet and greet events, and making space for leadership to greet people after Sunday services could help. Consider the options that are best for your church’s path of faithfulness and growth.

Our prayer is that your church experiences healthy growth, even if it’s slow and steady. In that, people are coming to know Jesus and committing to be a part of their local church body. We believe that these three teams are critical in helping you get.

The above article, “3 Teams That Are Critical To Church Growth” was written by churchfuel.com. The article was excerpted from www.churchfuel.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

Your 6 Question Evangelism Action Plan

Your 6 Question Evangelism Action Plan
The Disciple Maker Team

The only time Jesus told us to “wait around” was when he said to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower us. That’s excellent advice. We shouldn’t be trying to do this alone, because only God can make the complexity of spiritual reality truly clear to someone.

So let’s not wait for someone to come to us. Let’s take the good news to our friends, our family, and the people around us.

Let’s Make a Plan
If we’re going to be active participants with the Holy Spirit, we shouldn’t be sitting around passively waiting for something to happen. I’ve put together a list of six questions for you to prayerfully consider. These aren’t questions to haphazardly brainstorm. Remember, we’re meant to do this in community with one another and the Holy Spirit. So, as you sit down to consider each question, be sure to do it in a spirit of prayer, and if you choose to do it with other believers in your family, church, or neighborhood, all the better!

1. Who in my life needs Jesus?
Spend some time praying about the people who you know, whether nearby or far off. Who do you know and care about who aren’t followers of Jesus? Are there people who seem interested in spiritual things but never quite follow through? Who does the Spirit bring to mind when you ask who needs to know God? Try to make a list of at least ten people. They can be acquaintances or close friends, family or coworkers, neighbors or social media connections. Make the list, and then look at it occasionally, reminding yourself who you’re wanting to share God’s love with.

2. What are their deepest needs, concerns, and questions?
Remember how Jesus started his evangelistic conversations with the deepest needs of the people he interacted with? Knowing what someone’s concerns and questions are can help us start a conversation in the places that are most important to them. If there are people from your list who you want to share with, you can start with these sorts of questions. You’re about to talk about your spiritual lives, which is one of the most intimate possible topics. A good warm-up may be talking about what their needs, worries, and questions are. To communicate clearly and well requires vulnerability, and to communicate the good news requires both vulnerability and compassion. The topic of your friend’s deepest needs and concerns is a good place to warm up and practice.

You’re reading from Good News for a Change. Click the book to learn more.

3. What is the best “signal” to communicate the good news to them?
So now you know the message well, and you’re learning to translate it in your words. The question here is, what is the best mode to communicate with this person? Is there a tool that would be helpful? If they love movies, maybe there’s a movie that would help get the message across. Maybe this person will hear the good news best in community, so what’s the best way to bring them into church or a youth group or Bible study or just to hang out with other Christian friends? Basically, if you get a chance to choose the signal, what would be your first choice? How can you prepare yourself to be ready to go with this particular signal? What signal would be the worst?

4. How can I learn their “language” better? How do I best translate the good news?
Whether it’s a Brony or a Belieber, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an atheist, how can you better get to know them, their worldview, and their vocabulary and looking at the world? If you’re going to be a fluent translator, you need to be fluent not only in the jargon and language of the church but also in their jargon and language. How can you do that? What do you need to read? How can you grow into an insider in their community? One note I’d share on this one: Take your time, and learn the language. Fluency takes time and practice. Spend time really learning, not trying to teach.

5. Pray for opportunities to share the good news.
Ask God for specific chances to share the good news both with people on your list and with strangers or those who have not yet come to mind. Pray specifically and with time limits, like this: “God, please give me an opportunity to share the good news with Ted in the next ten days.” Be watching for the opportunity, expectant. When it comes, jump on it!

6. Take the initiative to share the good news.
Taking the initiative to share the good news doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run alongside a chariot and ask someone what they’re reading (I mean, it could, but not necessarily). It means you are looking for opportunities to start a spiritual conversation, not just waiting for one to fall into your lap. This could be as simple as saying, “How are you doing?” or “Can I have a glass of water?” We don’t easily move into good conversations about the good news without showing interest in and engaging with people. Be the sort of person who notices and engages other people. “Taking the initiative” means one simple thing: Be the first one to speak up about spiritual things. Do it appropriately and with kindness, and know this will most often make people love you more, not less. It’s nice to know that people care.

Light in the Darkness
I’ve done a lot of evangelism trainings for college students. At some point, someone always asks, “I thought I was supposed to stay away from all the parties and sinners because I’m a Christian.” In other words, “Shouldn’t I stay away from all the darkness and evil in the world?” To which I always say, “The light shines brightest in the darkness.” This is why Christians are beloved in many places in the world-where things were bleakest and most hopeless, someone showed up with the light of Christ. We don’t need to avoid the darkness. Those places which are the most frightening and dangerous, the most corrupt and evil, are in the greatest need of our presence.

When people see us as strangers, Bible thumpers, and Jesus freaks, it’s most often because we’re failing in our role as translators. Of course we seem like foreigners when we speak some other language. Of course we seem like Bible thumpers when we enter into conversations without love. Certainly we seem like freaks when we ignore the deep needs shared with us and gloss over them so we can say the name of Jesus faster.

The end of the matter is this: If we truly love God, we’ll want to tell others about him. I believe you do love him, and despite any fear or worries you may have, you honestly want to tell others about him. Likewise, if we truly love others, we’ll not only want them to live the better life available in Christ, we’ll gladly do the extra work of telling them all about it in their language.

You’ve been reading with Matt Mikalatos from his book Good News for a Change: How to Talk to Anyone About Jesus. Read more free chapters at goodnewsforachangebook.com. Invite Matt to lead an evangelism workshop at your organization or watch video of him speak at goodnewsforachangebook.com.

The above article, “Your 6 Question Evangelism Action Plan” was written by The Disciple Maker Team. The article was excerpted from https://thedisciplemaker.org/your-6-question-evangelism-action-plan/.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

9 Reasons Some Churches Will Not Reach College Students

9 Reasons Some Churches Will Not Reach College Students
Chuck Lawless

I love college students. In fact, I’d want to be pastoring in a university town if the Lord called me back to the senior pastorate. I’m convinced that their generation has a much greater opportunity to reach the nations than my generation does. On the other hand, some churches, I’m convinced, won’t reach college students. Here’s why:

Churches don’t see their potential. They’re in our churches for a few years, and then they go. They’re transient. Rather than see our opportunity to invest in them for the sake of the gospel, we almost pacify them.

College students want genuine relationships with other adults. They’re not interested in the superficial relationships that mark so many of our churches. Authenticity really matters to them.

They want to be included and involved while they’re in our churches. They’re not an appendage tacked on to the small group schedule just because they happen to be in our area.

They want interaction with older adults. That’s tough to accomplish when we relegate them to their own group and assume that’s where they’re most content.

They want deep teaching. Shallow Bible studies won’t cut it for many college students. They’re asking honest questions, and they want solid answers.

They’re not fans of gimmicky religion. They want depth, truth, the Word of God. They haven’t always seen much of that, so they gravitate toward it when they hear it.

They want heroes. They don’t want to be idolatrous, but they do want men and women to whom they can look for guidance and support. And, if they can’t find those heroes in their local church, they’ll find them among leaders they listen to on the Internet.

They want to be challenged. They’re unafraid to be challenged to spend some years working overseas to be witnesses where missionaries can’t go. They’re willing to tackle tough social issues of the day. They want somebody to push them to be holy and to get in their face when they aren’t.

They want a safe place to ask questions. They’re not interested in just adopting the faith of their parents. Even “the Bible says so” is often not a sufficient answer for them; they want to know why we believe the Bible. Many of them, too, have no faith background, and they come with genuine doubts and questions.

My point is that I’m not sure every church is ready to reach college students. Let us know your thoughts.

The above article, “9 Reasons Some Churches Will Not Reach College Students” was written by Chuck Lawless. The article was excerpted from chucklawless.com.

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

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.”

Posted in AIS File Library, JD - Job Descriptions, OP - Outreach Department, OPGP - General Outreach Ministry0 Comments

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