We are going through a very interesting process at our church. In many business practices, this is called a systems analysis. The idea behind this Team is to analyze the various systems and structures in our church to see if they are moving the mission of our church and the vision of our church forward, or are some of the systems operating as obstacles to moving this forward. I am thrilled that our church is at the point where we can begin to look at how we get things done from a biblical and practical standpoint.
Larry Osbourne, in his book Sticky Church, opens Chapter One with the following:
If the back door of the church is left wide open, it doesn’t matter how many people are coaxed to come in the front door . Or the side door, for that matter. Yet most churches give the back door scant attention. We’ve discovered lot of ways to reach people. We’ve offered the high-powered programs and slick marketing of attraction of churches , the cultural 70% of missional church is, and the relational intimacy of small churches. But we’ve also become so focused on reaching people that we forgot the importance of keeping people. And that’s the thesis of this book. Our churches need to be stickier.
Indeed. Our churches need an intentionality regarding what they believe, why they believe it, and why and how they want others to come onboard the gospel ship.
Below is a scheme that seeks to put our mission of ARBC into action with a forward-looking vision:
In the middle is the word ‘cultivate.’ Our aim is to minister and equip those inside the church, sowing the gospel seeds in them, so that the other aspects of our steps would be affected by this growth.
The first aspect in this cycle is the word come. We work to get folks to come so they will take the next step and connect with Christ and His church (2 Corinthians 5:11-13).
- Be intentional in relationship, so that others will simply consider Christ.
- Be intentional in bringing non-churched individuals to church (especially cultivating through your FRANs—friends, relatives, associates, neighbors).
- Work to connect to first-time guests so they will connect with Christ (second C) (cultivate an evangelistic, relational mindset with un-/non-churched).
- Big front and side door events (experts say churches need at least nine of these a year)(cultivate this by offering classes of spiritual and practical nature, Connect groups in the homes, seasonal family activities, etc.).
- Evaluate the appearance of the building, external and internally (cultivate an attitude of thinking not only about members but unchurched).
Connect. We work to have folks connect (not just attend) so they will take the next step and contribute to the cause of Christ and His church (Hebrews 10:23-25).
- Lead them to a saving knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, connecting them to the vine so they as branches will grow.
- As they surrender to Christ, bring them in obedience to baptism and membership, should they ascribe to our doctrine and vision.
- Provide opportunities for them to mature, moving forward in their faith in learning and service.
- Have them connect with a small group (Sunday School, Connect Group).
- Have them connect with a serving group (fellowship team, security, usher, greeter, missions work–or make something up).
Contribute. We work so they are equipped as mature believers to take the next step and contribute as leaders of Christ’s church and in His kingdom outpost (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- Should they continue to grow and mature, they become pastors, deacons, teachers, and core leaders in the life of our church and community.
- Explore the gifts God has given them as they look at their gifts of speaking and/or serving gifts in the church, in home, and in culture.
- Contributing so that non-believers will come. Leaders should be equipped to help others learn how to bring others to Christ and His people.
- Contributing so that believers will connect. Leaders should also be equipped to help others learn how to connect new and not-so-new believers to Christ’s kingdom work at ARBC and beyond.
Pray for us as God continues to refine our hearts, our culture, and our systems at ARBC to help all peoples take the next steps in their journey with Christ.
Jesus is enough!