Monday, June 20, 2011

Five Ingredients for Successful Ministry

The thing that is dominating my thought-life and time right now is how PCC can break through the 500 attendance barrier and stay there.  If we do not accomplish this, we will shrink back down to a small-sized church.  Churches of our size, (medium-sized), do not stay that way for long. There is too much tension pulling in both directions.  So it's our choice.  Either we become a large church (enabling us to accomplish more for God) or we will shrink down to a small church.  One thing is for certain - maintaining the status quo is unacceptable to me.

I have written about my concerns in three previous entries.  This is my next installment.  Here are five ingredients for a successful ministry:

1.  The Church Must Have Visionary Leadership with an Emphasis on Reaching the Lost.  Churches that make decisions based only on how it will affect their current members are generally not growing churches.  It takes a visionary leader to see outside the box (of current membership) and formulate strategies or efforts at winning the lost. 

So we must ask ourselves, “Will this decision increase our church’s chances of winning LOST people to Jesus Christ?”

2.  We Must Deploy as Many Volunteers as Possible.  When 50% or more of the worshippers are involved in a ministry in the church, it aides in the growth of the church.  At least 10% of those serving should be involved in outreach.  The emphasis is not on plugging warm bodies into positions or simply running the organizational machinery, but rather putting into practice the priesthood of all believers (which is a Biblical principle).

Effective churches will ask, “Will this decision utilize our volunteer staff for maintaining and expanding our ministry?”

3.  Create “Open Doors.”  Open doors allow newcomers an opportunity to enter into the life and ministry of a church.  Closed doors keep newcomers out.  Doors that don't exsist keep newcomers out too.  Open doors can be anything from the Sunday worship service, to volunteer opportunities to serve, to recreational activities, new classes, or specialized ministries.  Church leaders must constantly seek to create new doors that allow new people to enter the life of the church. 

Thus growing churches ask, “Will this decision create opportunities for new people to enter the life of the congregation?”

4.  Assimilate New People into the Social Networks of the Church.  The dynamics of social networks are very real in churches, making all the difference in the world as to whether or not a person feels welcomed or excluded.  Whether it is on the girl’s softball field, a women’s sewing group, a men’s fishing trip, dinner in a members home, or a Sunday School class, social networks exist.  Newcomers don’t stay long if they feel like outsiders.  The feeling of being wanted and belonging to a social network are strong pulls for a newcomer’s personal involvement.  Pace Community Church should be a place where new people can find acceptance in Christ as well as fellowship with His people.

So we must ask ourselves, “Will this decision exclude newcomers or help include them in the life of our church?”

This is the most vital ingredient and yet the easiest to fix.  Our poeple just have to be nice and inclusive to newcomers.  It has to be an individaul or group effort.  Don't think "program."  Instead think "organic."

5.  Raise Financial Resources.  Just about any human endeavor takes a financial investment.  Churches are no different.  While money alone does not guarantee growth, the lack of financial resources assures a church will not grow.  Without money there are no resourses for outreach, or for funding of internal ministries, or for expanding ministry initiatives.  

We must ask ourselves, “Will this decision allow for adequate funding of outreach?”

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