Thursday, March 27, 2008

Four Lessons I've Learned at the Ten-Year Mark

This week PCC is now 10 years old. That’s a decade. But I still feel like we are just getting started. Today I want to begin a four-part series entitled “Four Lessons I Have Learned at the Ten-Year Mark.” This is the first installment.

LESSON ONE: Maintaining Our Focus on Reaching the Unchurched is still a High Priority.

I believe in church growth and I also believe the focus should be growth by conversion, not transfer growth. We have had numerous attempts made by people over the years to get us to redefine who we are, and what our mission is, but we have never wavered. After ten years, I’m convinced we’ve got it right.

The first indication that we are successful at reaching unchurched people is THEIR OWN TESTIMONY. When people come to PCC I often hear them say things like, “I haven’t been to church in 20 years,” or “I gave up on church many years ago but have found a home here,” or “my teenager is sixteen years old and she has never been to church.” This is very exciting to me because I know we are reaching our target group.

It’s also messy. When irreligious people cross the line of faith and make a commitment to Jesus Christ, they are not mature overnight. They have issues. Old habits die hard. Worldly values have to be reshaped into spiritual values. This takes time and it takes patience on our part. But it’s worth it.

Most enjoyable to me is to watch these new converts grow in the faith and mature. These very people often become our best leaders, small group leaders, ministry leaders, and volunteers. They become real tithers – (not tippers) – but ten percent tithers! They also have the potential to become some of our best staff members.

The simple truth is this: reaching spiritually lost people and maturing them in the faith, then plugging them in for ministry is much easier than re-training Christians from other churches. I am very proud of the people of PCC. They prove that the number one thing happening here is life-change.

Another indication that we are successful at reaching irreligious people is that RELIGIOUS PEOPLE CAN'T STAND THE WAY WE DO CHURCH around here.
They have all sorts of complaints of why we are doing church all wrong. But that’s okay. We weren’t trying to reach them anyway. The people we are reaching are perfectly happy. Besides, the only people who criticized Jesus in His day were religious folk – so I know we are in good company.

So after ten years I have learned that our mission is effective and successful. Why? Becaues it is:
  • God-honoring
  • Christ-exalting
  • And life-changing
We're going to keep the main thing the main thing around here.