November 15, 2015
November 15, 2015
Lately, a lot of “so called” experts believe the church is in decline. I don’t.
As a result, there are plenty of conferences offering their latest and greatest pitch to stop the church’s decline. Each year we’re invited to hear “celebrity” pastors share God’s plan for the church and how we ought to adopt it and be large and successful like them. Frankly, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a venue to really address how and why churches grow.
Many pastors & church leaders make their annual pilgrimage to Catalyst, Saddleback Church, Willowcreek Association’s Leadership Summit, North Point’s Drive Conference, Greater St. Steven FGBC, The Potter’s House, etc. and come away excited and delusional with unrealistic expectations. Ed Stetzer calls it ministry pornography.
Humility increases our appreciation for God. To respect God’s majesty, we must compare ourself to his greatness. When we look at creation, we often feel small by comparison. To feel small is a healthy way to get back to reality, but God does not want us to dwell on our smallness. Humility means proper respect for God, not self-depreciation.
In 2011 saw some exciting changes at the Mars Hill Baptist Church. But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that in the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process where as leaders we simply dropped the ball. During this three-part series, my purpose was to share three humbling lessons learned. If you missed reading Part 1 and Part 2, you can read them HERE and HERE.
(Sanctuary Renovation – 2011)
So, what did I learn?
(Sanctuary renovation – 2011)
In 2011, I shared some new and exciting changes at Mars Hill Baptist Church. But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that in the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process where as leaders we simply dropped the ball. I believe you can learn a lot from your failures if you’re willing to admit and learn from them.
(Sanctuary renovation – 2011)
First, I learned how buildings house memories. Therefore, it is wise not to erase their significance. Parents have introduced their children to the church and sat Sunday after Sunday in the pews together. Others have said goodbye to loved ones and those last few words in that place were significant. In addition to learning the significance of buildings, I also learned how change can happen quickly but, transition often follows more slowly.
I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision. It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front, and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?
Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back they find that half the people are still on the river bank. Some are still prepping their fishing gear.
Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realise that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate transition.
John Maxwell in his book Winning with People admits that patience is not one his strengths. He says:
“When I was younger I constantly cast vision for the people in my organization and then left them behind – not a good thing for a leader.”
2011 saw some exciting changes at Mars Hill Baptist. But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that in the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process where as leaders we simply dropped the ball. During this three-part series, I’ll share three humbling lessons learned.
Mars Hill Renovation (2011)
Quick! How do you keep the attention of a generation of church goers eternally distracted by the internet, cellphones, and technology. You make technology your friend – you leverage it for the Glory of God.
Mars Hill – TWO Churches in ONE Location
As much as I hate to admit it, in reality, I pastor TWO distinct congregations. Since we began offering additional worship experiences, I’ve noticed they’ve morphed into two very distinct, different, and unique congregations. We’re still Mars Hill – now we’re TWO churches in ONE location. How did that happen?
8AM Classic Worship Experience
Older church goers, business-types, and families with older/adult children mainly attend our Our 8AM Worship Experience. It’s early, convenient, and 60-90 minutes long. They enjoy softer music and love to reflect on the music and message. It fits their lifestyle and they primarily want worship and the Word! Period! However, it’s quite different during our 10:30AM experience.
Mars Hill is the kind of church men would love to attend.
Every Sunday, church pews fill up with despondent women who are forced to worship without the men in their lives. A recent survey by Ellison Research found that 31% of men never attend church even on holidays believing that church is for women, weirdos and wimps.
This sad statistic prompts parishioners and ministers alike to ask: “Where are the men?” While it’s true that several men spend their Sundays satisfying their vices for sports, beer, and sleep, men who don’t attend church usually have more substantial reasons for not attending.
However, I’d like to share five reasons why I believe Mars Hill is a church men would love to attend.
Yesterday, Apple summoned reporters to an event in San Francisco where it unveiled a new version of its popular tablet computer – iPad 2. “Apple clearly sent a message to all of the manufactures lining up to complete with it: Just go home.” (Andy Ihnatko – Chicago Sun-Times)
Apple is a very successful company. They’re innovative, swimming in cash, and have the friendliest staff I’ve ever met. I began thinking: “What could the church learn from Apple?” Theologically, I understand the church is a body and not a business and incorporating business models is risky (some may even say it’s heretical). Whatever! I’m a believer in principles and if there’s a transferrable principle, I’m applying it.
After visiting Apple’s retail stores and buying their products, the church can learn a lot if they would open their eyes and use a little imagination. Here’s what we can learn:
Every now and then I run across great information that MUST BE shared with my readers. I subscribe to Church Leaders, a blog dedicated to helping leaders lead better everyday. Today’s article by Chad Missildine, Pastor with LifeChurch.tv in Fort Worth, Texas is SO GOOD that I had to share it with you.
What is a Plastic Church?
A Plastic Church is a church that looks like church from the outside: building, services, staff, etc. Who knows, there may even be a steeple! On the inside, however, the Plastic Church barely resembles a church at all. No real community of believers, no prayer, no real concern for people, no application of Scripture in real life, no transformation. These are all signs of a real, authentic church. Could you have a Plastic Church or be on your way?
A plastic church looks like church from the outside, but inside there’s no real community.
Here are 10 Ways to Become a Plastic Church:
One of the blessings of reaching people and meetings needs is that they tell others and pretty soon you’re filled to capacity without space for others to sit. One church in many locations is a recent trend I believe is here to stay. Many of us have wanted to be in two places at once. At times, you just need to take care of business in multiple spots. Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio (man I’m showing my age) said it best when they performed “I wanna be…two places at the same time…” Some churches are feeling that frustration and are meeting the challenge head-on. They see multiple fields of ministry and no longer feel the need to choose one over the other. So they are pursuing a multi-site model.
As local municipalities continue to deny churches zoning requests to expand, congregations must explore other options to expand the Kingdom of God. One way churches can expand without draining resources is to extend the reach of their church to existing buildings in other locations. As our church continues to grow, it’s time to deal with this question: “What’s the most important thing you’re putting off?”
The most important thing I’m putting off is implementing a multi-site campus expansion strategy.
The multi-site church movement isn’t about great real estate or abandoning urban areas, but rather being wherever the Great Commission is being fulfilled. For us, it means it’s time to explore adding one or more new meeting places where Christ’s mission is fulfilled by our congregation.
What about you? What’s the most important thing you’re putting off?