Growing a Church in New Church Setting, Part 1

Matthew 16:18. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the powers of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 20. Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

 

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Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

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The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?


Faith-sharing Evangelism Library

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Faith-Sharing:
How to Win Friends and Influence People for Jesus
: Six Messages teach others how to witness. Based on Faith-sharing, by Eddie Fox and George Morris

Messages in this series:
1: The Incredible Seeking God
2: Gambler for Love
3: Share; Do; Name!
4: Getting on the Same Frequency
5: Up On the Handlebar!
6: $50K in 90 Days or Less!

Beyond Faith-sharing:
Digests of lectures and texts that demonstrate
quick ways to improve and increase your ministry's outreach.

Lessons in this Series:
1:   The Outward-focused Church
2:   Discerning the Needs of People
3:   The Incarnational Ministry
4:   Engaging Secular People
5:   Living Debt-free Biblically
6:   Youth Ministry Leadership
7:   Growing a New Church 1:
      The Price Tag, the Target
8:   Growing a New Church 2:
      The Pastor, People, Program
9:   Spiritual and Motivational Gifts
10: Envisioning, Friendliness and Authority
11: Making the Case
12: How Do We Get Them to Come?

 

 

KEY WORDS

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Price Tags for Numeric Growth

    1.  "We've never done it that way before!"  Local Lyle Schaller in his usual golf shirttraditions must go!  "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!"  The new church must define a new constituency.  In 1906 there were 198,000 Protestant churches.  Less than half exist today, mostly due to the failure to redefine constituency as the times changed.  55 Protestant churches go out of business each week.  In the last 100 years, 43,000 Methodist churches have closed; now 200 close per year.  The price tag is that the congregation must have the ability and desire to identify and reach a new constituency.

  2.  There must develop the willingness to overcome anonymity and at the same time become anonymous in the congregation.  Long time members must be willing not to know everybody nor be known by everybody.  On the other hand, the church must recognize everybody; everybody must be called by the correct name.  People are offended when they are not missed -- they know the church is glad to see them gone.  The pattern: something happened to upset us; we disappeared; we waited for someone from the church to contact us; but no contact proved to us that nobody cared.

  3.  The role of pastor must change from (a) "doing it" to seeing that others do it.  Volunteers must do the work of evangelism, and get credit for doing the work.  The pastor may take credit for seeing that the work gets done, but the credit for the work must go to the church volunteers. 

   The pastor must (b) go from ministering one-on-one to ministering with groups.  There is a great danger in building a church through relationships with the pastor: when the pastor goes, so will the church.  There is not enough time anymore for relating one-on-one but there is time for relating to larger numbers.  The pastor will not normally like the idea and long-time members will not like the idea but such a method of visitation must be put in place.

   The pastor (c) need no longer be the "superstar."  Ministry must be structured around teams.  The pastor must move from being the sole performer to becoming part of the team.  "Real estate" is no longer the definition of the church -- a building, a pastor.  The "religious community" must do the work of continuous relationship-building for the sake of Christ and the church.

   3.  The system must be extended to absorb new people as fast as they come in.  There must be new Sunday school classes pioneered by new people.  There must be the ekklesiola en ekklesia, or many little churches within the church.  Reaching new people means making openings for new people, even to the extent of starting new, satellite congregations.  And new, modern people need more space.  As attendance increases numerically, the need for space increases exponentially.  Church corridors are not for passing through, but for socializing- - even corridors must be prepared for what they are actually used for!

  4.  Scheduling must be flexible; there is no perfect schedule.  In scheduling, one must ask, "What are the values we want to reinforce?  What are the goals we want to accomplish?"  The scheduling must be done with the goal of accomplishing the goals.  Worship scheduling, for instance, might include number of services and type of service conducted.

  5.  Concerning money - receipts increase as people increase but there is a two-year lag.  Because of this lag, paid staff is prohibited from increasing to the number necessary to support the congregation.

  6.  Abolish standing committees!  Committees may be compared to various aspects of European law:

  • A "standing committee" is like German law -- "everything is prohibited unless it is permitted."  Make sure that all bad ideas are sent to the standing committee; the bad ideas will never get implemented.

  • A "study committee" is like French law -- "everything is permitted unless prohibited."  When an idea may be good, but not sure, send it to a study committee for clarity and research.

  • An "action committee" of "task force" is like Italian law -- "everything is permitted and nothing is prohibited."  Good ideas are sent to action committees for enactment.  New churches must focus on action committees.

 

How To Quickly Improve the Church

  1)  One must always push beyond local traditions.  "What should we do to reach people this Christmas that we didn't do last year?"  Get rid of institutional maintenance matters, like the treasurer's report.

  2)  Everyone should ask themselves the question, "Where can I  raise quality the quickest given my strengths, talents, and abilities?"  Quick quality improvements include refurbishing rest rooms, taking more effort with the sermon, washing the windows.

  3)  Help people articulate their faith.  Faith-sharing is a learned skill, as is interpersonal relationships.  Improving one's ability to articulate faith leads to greater faith.

  4)  Emphasize the second person of the Trinity in worship: higher quality is achieved by emphasizing Jesus rather than God or the Holy Spirit.

  5)  Attractive churches project higher expectations.  Everyone is welcomed to be in church but members are expected to commit themselves.

  6)  Unlike in the 1950's, church is no longer an end in itself  but a means to an end since people in this generation are looking for  a "doorway" to faith and spiritual growth.  People want to go from being believers and admirers to disciples and followers.

  7)  Work hard at productive work; don't do non-productive work.  Productive work includes working with groups.  Non-productive work includes working with individuals.  Non-productive work means "doing  it."  Productive work means "delegating it."  Telephoning is productive.  Home visitation is not.  Redeem the time -- Are you working in productive ways?

  8)  Preach effectively, with visual images, music, color, words and motion, like television.  Television has moved people from being auditory to visual.  Auditory people are nearly obsolete today.  The message today is the messenger.  The ability to become the message will reach new generations of people.

 

Targeting Children and Their Parents

  1)  In 1995, United Methodist churches were getting larger even  as their numbers were getting smaller.  In 1965 (for instance), there were 92 U. M. churches in the California with membership exceeding 1000.  Now there are about 25 mega-churches.  Churches are getting larger because of the need to offer more services.  This is a consumer-oriented culture.  More services attract more people.

  2)  Today there is a new generation of mothers, each having at  least three children.  In 2000, there were 20.5 million new babies.  The new "clientele" are not the babies but the mothers.  In order to serve mothers, the church must offer more quality services for babies.  Quality services only begin with well-staffed and supplied nurseries.  Mothers are coming to expect not only “baby sitting” but learning experiences for young children, even infants.

  3)  The formative years, 1-5, have a great impact on the future of the person.  It has been shown recently that infants up to toddler age 3 have an incredible amount of excess brain cells.  If these cells are not sufficiently stimulated in those first three years, the excess "slough off" and intellectual capacity is thus limited to the number of brain cells retained.  Therefore, the church's top priority in education must be in training young children of three years old or less.

  4)  The events that inform one generation are of course different  than the events that form other generations.  For instance, the class of 1991 was not formed by the events such as the Vietnam war, Watergate and Woodstock; rather, the Challenger accident and the Gulf War.  This and other similar events, in the words of some young people, "destroyed our faith in science and religion."

  5)  Women born in the 1930s are radically different that women  born in other generations.  These women were more likely to marry early, have children early, and have employment outside the home.  The women born in the 30s are responsible for the mothers who were born in the 1950s and 60s.  Although there are more mothers born in the 50s and 60s than 30s, the later mothers are not producing as many children.  Around 1955, there were about 6 million births per year.  Now, due to birth control and abortion, there are only about 4 million live births.

  6)  Methods of reaching today's mothers and families include high quality, relevant preaching and teaching.  "I want to learn what I was cheated out of in Sunday School," one young mother exclaims.  Lyle Schaller suggests renting a billboard which might say only, "Need help raising your kids?  Call 123-4567."  A part-time child development expert (a young mother who does not want to go back into the workforce full time) then answers the calls by visiting families in the evening to teach parenting skills two to three sessions.  Then, parents contacted gather on Sunday morning before the worship service for a general session on how to intellectually stimulate children.  Schaller offers several other unique suggestions for equipping churches and parents for Christian child development.

SOURCE: "Growing a Church" Seminar, October 4 & 5, 1994 at Christ Church in Mobile.  Speakers included Lyle Schaller and Jeff Spiller. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©2007 Jackson H. Snyder II.  (jackson @ jacksonsnyder.com)  This information may be reprinted in whole or part if author and copyright information is left intact.

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