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Monday, June 13, 2005

Developing an outreach church

I would like to share with you some thoughts today from a friend of mine by the name of Doug Murren. He starts out by giving just a great devotion from Mark 2, and then steps off into the fact that according to Barna and Associates latest website update, there are one million, yes you read that right, one million people added a year to the unchurched ranks of America.

Doug goes on to describe a church at is an outreach focused church. Any comments? What do you think?

From Doug Murren:

Egram - April 4


I trust all is well with every reader.

Mark 2 - starts with a story of a paralytic being dropped through the roof into a room Jesus was holding court in......Mark notes Jesus saw the faith of the two friends who had tore the roof up.....He healed and forgave the paralytic.

Every time I read this text I get stuck on the words “He saw their faith. It appears that faithing is seen by that lies undemonstrated isn't faith.

What do you believe God will work in your world? How can God see your faith to accomplish it? All true faith must be accompanied by an action that catches God's eye and shows our faith.

Take a moment and decide an action item that will demonstrate your faith in a way that God can see your "faithing" at work. I applied this thought this morning with a modest retirement investment I make each month. I want it to grow, and am asking God for increase. I felt prompted to add $50.00 to the amount normally invested....It had to come from my little book fund but I felt an action was needed to match my prayer and hope.

Point of interest: According to Barna and Associates latest website update there are one million people added a year to the unchurched ranks of America.

Outreach Focus:

I have for years presented a seminar titled "Developing An Outreach Focused Church." The concepts are not as new or innovative as they once were. However, I still see churches flounder to increase outreach effectiveness. I have determined to give an outline of behavior to be emulated by any church wishing to increase outreach.

1. Ministry is lay driven
2. Leadership is staff driven
3. Leaders facilitate rather than do
4. Sunday services are to a fault designed to the experience level of the newest attendee.
5. Training is OJT - classroom work is much less deployed.
6. They have exegete their city and know the state of things locally.
7. They have more problems than nurture exclusive churches
8. They are comfortable with mistakes and understand Grace at work.
9. Limited time spent on traditional church business.
10. Tend to have shorter lasting projects
11. Ask the Question. Give people a chance to receive Christ.
12. Vital stats are related to outreach.
13. Invest money in outreach to the point of 5% of income.
14. Give a constant flow of outreach tools to their members.
15. Celebrate the story of the forgiven.
16. Develop a pipeline from conversion to discipleship components that work quickly and with ease.

If I were to pinpoint the single greatest obstacle to church growth I find as a consultant I'd have to stop at the feet of victimization. Leaders perceive themselves as victims of boards or members. Members espouse being victimized by leaders. Husbands feeling victimized by wives and vice versa. Churches are victimized by denominations. And on and on......

The truth is we are all victims. There is a difference between being a victim and making it a life style. Successful people move on and leave the crimes behind. Victims want to define their whole life by their victimizations and victimization as the emotional force to accommodate their wished.



Jon said...

Wow! There's a lot in there to talk about so I'll choose a nugget or two and then stop. Frequently, I hear people talk about what is wrong with the church. I ask if they have addressed their concerns to leadership and, almost always, I hear "No, they don't want to hear what I have to say." We owe it to our leadership (and to our church) to seek them out and ask questions when we have concerns, when we have conflict in our hearts about where we are headed. Remaining a victim ("They" don't want to hear "Me.") only allows you to pass the buck, not solve the problem. In fact, you're not even passing the buck because no one is aware of your concerns. This ties in directly with the point that outreach churches have ministries that are led by lay people...we cannot expect leadership to do everything for us! The duty of all Christians is to spread the Good News...not just leaders but all Christians! You can lead just as effectively from the pews as you can from the may have to package your approach differently as you might not be perceived as having the same mandate as the pastor but you can still lead. I challenge all of us, me included, to look at how we can get involved and help these ministries to grow within (and definitely outside) of our church...leadership is not position, it's action. Act now! God bless!!

Youth Extreme said...

Good Leadership seeks out and asks the tough questions in order to grow and become better. I am proud to say we are moving towards the outreach church described by Doug. We are not there yet but we are beginning to move towards that direction. More and more of the ministry is done through the lay person (T-Groups), We are focused on the community and reaching out to it. Are good at at it? I would give us below average grades as we tend to stick with in our comfort areas. But we are getting better. We still want to focus on church events and language instead of neighborhood language. God hears us when we start with a prayer with "Hello God" As well as when we say Dear Heavenly father. Which do you think an unchurched person will understand better? Being an outreach chuch means getting out of our box and into the circle....There are no safe corners in a circle...I learned a long time ago not to be afraid of failure as it is the only way I will learn and grow as a person. That is the goal of an out reach church, mistakes and growth..That is being real to the world.