By Dr. Hal Seed,
New Song Church Oceanside, CA
Here’s a conference that will change your church’s outreach, evangelism and discipleship mojo.
I went to the Outreach Summit 2018 and found it refreshingly different. It’s a “great ideas” summit that is part think tank, part mastermind, and part TED talks over new ideas and best practices from churches who make the Outreach 100 List of Fastest Growing Churches.
It was the perfect blend of high octane leadership, humility, and a passion for outreach, mission, and discipleship.
The speakers are pastors leading growing churches and the American church’s heads of state. There’s plenty of connecting with other leaders who care about reaching their cities.
There were transferable concepts, stories, candid conversations, and best practices of healthy churches.
These church leaders are the first to say that there is no magic formula, they don’t deserve the credit, or any glory, and God gives the increase. At the same time, though, they’ve done some things right that you should consider for your church.
Here are their insights, ideas, wisdom, and principles to help you lead your church better…
Panel: Alan Briggs, Jim Tomberlin, and Ron Edmondson
- Churches are figuring out new ways to attract people and grow.
- What metrics do you measure? Define a mature believer in your context and measure that – what marks their maturity?
- Peter Drucker and Rick Warren:
- What’s our business? (make disciples)
- Who’s our customer? (the world)
- How are we doing?
- Churches are adding services at unique times.
- Look for eternal results. Trust the slow work of God.
- Be in an equipping role with your church members: “You can do it and we can help you.”
- Capture and share their stories. People don’t realize that what they’re doing counts.
Matt Brown, Sandals Church in Riverside, CA
- Surround yourself with people who love you, who get you, who can celebrate your strengths and complement your weaknesses.
- Work on your relational weaknesses.
- It’s always the senior leader’s challenge to solve the problems.
- Speak to issues that are hurting people and show how Christ helps.
Doug Dameron, Orchard Church, Denver, CO
- Are you going to be a reaching church or a keeping church?
- Are you willing to make decisions that compromise preferences for the sake of the Gospel?
Tim Lucas, Liquid Church, Parsippany, NJ
- Is your church a movement, museum, or a morgue?
- New and revitalized churches are a movement led by risk takers. They measure baptisms.
- Middle-age churches are museums led by caretakers who preserve and celebrate the past. They measure who they are keeping, not who they are reaching.
- Dying churches are morgues led by undertakers who must decide if they will close the doors or do what it takes to be reborn as a movement.
Mike Burnette, LifePoint Church, Clarksville, TN
- Jesus never told us how to do church. He taught us how church should feel.
- Spend your energy on the culture of your church so that it feels like the kingdom of heaven. Ask yourself, “what does it feel like for heaven to be in church?”
- It’s God’s will for your church to grow.
- Pay attention to your culture, feel, vibe. Craig Groeschel calls it the “It Factor”.
- God brings growth. You plant, water, and fertilize.
- Some of the culture they’ve worked to develop: generosity, invitation, leadership, preaching, prayer, fasting, change, young families, and excellence.
- Serve people so well that it breaks open the hardness of their hearts.
- God gives to each one according to what we can handle. Steward what you’ve been given. God’s expectation is faithfulness.
David Ashcraft, LCBC Church, Manheim, PA
- There are no silver bullets when it comes to growing a church, but there are fatal flaws.
- Don’t do something stupid in your relationships when God is doing something in your church.
- Don’t fail to build systems that will allow your church to grow.
- What systems do you need to move forward in case God wants to take you there? Then work the system, don’t neglect it.
- They have a “wildly important goal” for first timers to come 10 times in 16 weeks. They track and inspect their progress.
- Understand that organizations drift. Don’t drift away from the best thing. Jesus called us to build great people. Keep one eye on eternity.
- We can’t control growth, but put your church in the best possible place.
Shane Bishop, Christ Church, Fairview Heights, IL
- Stay on mission. Make decisions on mission. Ask what will connect people to Jesus.
- The young people get to choose the worship style and the old people get to pay for it.
- Do the right thing the right way and you’ll get the right results in the right time.
- Remember your call. If you’re drafted, you can’t quit.
- Reject excuses for why your church doesn’t grow.
- Not everything you’re going to do will work.
- Run the business side right, so you can do ministry.
Nona Jones, Strategic Partner Manager for Faith-based Communities, Facebook
- If God has spoken it, obey it. He will meet you at your level of obedience. Obey him.
- Create an ecosystem of Facebook groups to build community and do ministry online.
- Facebook Groups rank like friends and family so people will see a Group more often than a Page.
Rufus Smith, Hope Church, Memphis, TN
- If your church does not become multi-ethnic in the next ten years, it will be irrelevant.
- Assimilation is when multi-ethnic people go along with the way white people like it. Accomodation is when you find a way that is not white or black.
- A city is like a pie. It’s not about the size of your church, but about the influence in different segments of the city.
- When your church is healthy and multi-ethnic, you have influence – no matter the size.
Ryan Wakefield, Church Marketing University
- Text messaging is the most effective communication channel.
- Set up an email and text follow up campaign with newcomers.
- Get contact information when people register their kids. They will give you their information to keep their kids safe.
- Have online pre-registration for kids and follow up with a video and email before they even visit your church.
Ed Stetzer, Wheaton College
- The narrative that the Evangelical Church is declining has spread, but no real researcher believes it.
- 1% of people per year change from being nominally Christian to secular.
- Mainline churches are hemorrhaging to the point of collapse.
- But the percentage of devout Christians is slowly growing.
- Your church must reach secular people or it won’t grow because there are fewer nominal Christians who will show up a few times a year.
- What is coming at you might kill you if you’re in a fast growing church.
- Don’t be all in on anything. Don’t opt into a political belief system.
Michael Frost, Forge International Mission Training Network
- Stop being so conventional. Stop fitting in.
- Foster Christian eccentricity because the world isn’t interested in cultural blandness.
- Why isn’t there more crazy in Christianity these days? Crazy people change the world.
- People who are different move the church forward – like the Anabaptists and the Jesus People movement in the 1970s.
- Look over the 100 Fastest Growing Churches and pick ten that are similar to your church. What can you learn and apply to help your church more effectively reach and connect with your community.
- Look over the Outreach Summit website to see if you and your leaders would benefit from going to the Summit next year.