The Other Six Days…
Carlton L. Coon, Sr.
A Church is measured by Sunday, but “made” by the other six days of the week.
Taking care of a child is not a one day of the week experience – neither is shepherding sheep nor birthing a healthy church. Sunday is strategic, but what a church planter or pastor does with “the other six days of each week” will determine whether a church is healthy or not.
Churches where the leader does not know what to do with the other six days are where:
•A pastor spends more hours preparing sermons for a tiny congregation than reaching to new people to add to that congregation.
•We pray for God to send visitors though we’ve not followed up on a visitor from two weeks ago.
•There is no process for developing and working a prospect list.
•No Home Bible Studies are taught.
•There is no connection with lost people in one’s home or at a coffee shop.
•There is no contact with new converts or prospects between one Sunday and the next.
•No intentional effort is made to involve those new to the church.
Being effective with the other six days is managing yourself by: managing your priorities; managing your time.
Over 60% of the pastors in the United Pentecostal Church are bi-vocational. For such a one, a wise investment of time is vital. Time is an asset to be invested, not a currency to be spent. When allocating time those effective with “the other six days” ask:
•What is the “return on this investment?”
•What is being done that will matter a year from now?
•What will one do this Monday that has eternal consequence?
•Who are you spending time with that will be a foundational family for the church?
Perhaps most important: What things do you need to stop wasting your time on? Effective pastors periodically develop a list of things to “stop doing” because there is no indication that the activity will show a good return for the short or long-term.
Seven Activities for the “Other Six Days of the Week”
Activity #1) Spiritual Discipline — time in conversation with God and interacting with His Word are essential. On occasion a pastor must “drive and pray,” but driving and praying is fast food for the soul. Schedule regular time — perhaps even your lunch hour — to marinate in God. These seasons of quiet are when you talk to Jesus and He talks to you. Such conversations cannot be hurried. In these conversations, read the Bible, use devotional material and a prayer journal to focus your time with Him. As is true with any friend you have, every discussion with Jesus is not deep, but each is meaningful.
Activity #2) Evangelism is a non-negotiable. NEW people must be reached and the pastor takes the lead in doing the work of an evangelist. The most proven method of evangelism remains teaching Home Bible Studies to people in a home, office or coffee shop. Where no time is spent in evangelism the church cannot be healthy. Church planters who do not teach Home Bible Studies will struggle to establish a healthy church.
Activity #3) Networking may be part of evangelism, but it is distinct from evangelism. Some people network but never evangelize — all they do is make friends; others evangelize but never network — they make some converts but struggle to make disciples. Networking builds a pool of acquaintances while evangelism brings the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Those in one’s network may eventually be ready to hear the good news but being sure the time is right is important. A bi-vocational planter should target adding at least five new names to the network each week. Networking happens as one:
•Shops at the same stores, restaurants and dry cleaners;
•Serves in community events where one talks to people;
•Learns and uses people’s name.
Even an introvert can build a network of people they are interested in. Networks grow by taking an interest in some other person’s life. A network is more than a list of names. It is a database of people you know and have information about: info contact, personal interests, specific life situations, etc. Each person in one’s network is not ready to receive the gospel today but life brings many changes. Kingdom work is a long-term effort and requires a long-term strategy.
Activity #4) Follow-up with people who come to church, or who make contact via the Internet or social media. As a church grows, people bring friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. If part of the other six days are not spent following up on the visitors from last Sunday, why should Jesus send you any this coming Sunday?
Follow up should be made on Sunday or Monday. It cannot wait until the following Saturday. The follow up should be personal, pastoral and with an element of professionalism. Express gratitude that they visited, offer to answer questions and ask if they have a prayer need.
Activity #5) Disciple-making is the vital activity of the church. If we evangelize but make no disciples, heaven will remain unpopulated. Disciple-making applies many of the same tasks as pastoral care. Disciples are made as a shepherd/pastor “feeds, leads, seeks, and heals” those God puts under his care. To impact the world Jesus made disciples! He did this by being “with them.” People are influenced as we are “with them!” Disciple-making happens one-on-one and in small groups; but either approach takes a significant part of the “other six days.”
•Disciple-makers establish a systematic process that develops people toward different levels of growth. A system puts one in a setting to discover unique needs of the converts and answer their questions.
•Disciple-makers aim toward high commitment. There is always a shallow end of the pool and some people never go beyond much beyond attendance, but “attendance is not discipleship.” Invest time in helping converts attain higher goals. Examples of high commitment expectations: Teach converts to pray, give them tools to help pray and then expect them to pray. Maintain some accountability about the daily prayer time of converts. Follow the same pattern in developing stewardship, lifestyle change, etc.
•A sustainable system for disciple-making keeps one from trying to take “short cuts” in disciple-making.
Activity #6) Family is a scheduled priority. Don’t win a city and lose your kids. Put family activities, your children’s school events and a monthly date night on your personal calendar. It should be in red ink —these are red letter days that never return for any of you. These priority events cannot be replaced by board meetings or a rescheduled Home Bible Study. If there is no money for a dinner on a date night, grab some snacks from your house and go sit by a lake. If these family events are not scheduled and treated as sacred, the tyranny of the urgent will impose itself on more important things. Treat such appointments with the significance of an appointment with a leader you hold in high regard.
Activity #7) Employment is generally necessary for survival of both the church and the man of God’s family. Your employment is not the minister’s objective though the job may be one from which you retire. Employment is simply a means to the end of getting God’s work done. A few preachers never work a secular job. Never working outside the church is a preacher’s loss rather than a positive mark of distinction. Much is learned by having to survive in the marketplace, hearing the unsacred sounds of the mechanic shop, and experiencing office politics and nepotism at their worst. A secular job is not bad. All work is holy. The work place will generally bring a missionary in contact with people who need God. If one’s Christianity is not compelling in the market-place then it is unlikely to be compelling from behind a pulpit.
Take-aways for the other Six Days
“Drive time,” is good for prayer, study and thinking. Radio talk show hosts, oldies music or National Public Radio, rarely deepen one’s spiritual life. Equip yourself to succeed! Many libraries have a treasury of educational material on audio available for check out. One can improve management skills, learn to speak elementary Spanish, learn how to reach a Muslim, or to better deal with people by using drive (subway, airplane, train) time to be equipped. Live “the other six days” in balance:
Make time count — work hard and smart! Don’t invest much time without asking and answering two questions: (1) Why am I doing this? (2) I am doing this particular thing so that I can do what?
Bi-vocational church planters and pastors who work forty-hour weeks on a secular job will have approximately fifteen hours in a week to devote to the church. Making the best possible use of those 900 minutes to accomplish the priorities denoted above is essential. It may be time to ask, “What do I need to stop doing?” or “What do we need to take off the church schedule that is not showing a return on the investment?”
This is a chapter form a book with the working title, Healthy Pentecostal Churches! Birthing Churches that Matter.
The above article, “The Other Six Days” was written by Carlton L. Coon Sr. The article was excerpted from Director’s Communique.
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.