Yesterday at my weekly breakfast with a group of guys from the church we were discussing the future and the direction of the church. I made the comment that I felt like we were starting to see a paradigm shift in the minds of the people. I was then fielded the question something along the lines of … “what type of shift do you think needs to take place?”
In my opinion many churches who have become static or have even dropped off from their former “glory days,” have two things going against them …. 1) for some some reason they have become inward focused, and 2) they have lost their creative edge. I think these things are important to building a church.
I have said many times that I am not about numbers. I don’t care if we are a mega church, a medium sized church, or even a small church. Numbers don’t drive me. What drives me is reaching as many people for Christ that we can. That is what we as a church have been called to do. We have been commissioned by Christ to … “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Did you get that, we are to make disciples, how? by going, baptizing and teaching.
Many churches who have fallen off have some how forgot this message. Sure if you were to ask them what the church should be doing they would respond with many things, but one would be to evangelize. While they understand this, they no longer operate in a way that is going to foster evangelism. This is the first paradigm shift that has to happen in the minds of the people. The church has to stop being inward focused and start being outward focused. Without doing this, you cannot begin to reach people with a life changing encounter with Jesus.
The second paradigm shift supports the first. When churches who have existed for a while start failing one thing that goes is creativity. The church gets caught in a rut, doing the same old things week after week, month after month, and year after year. This is where the sacred cows, the traditions of the church begin to take hold. When they have lost their creativity they begin playing church, and that tends to lose that spirit of evangelism.
So to change these things you have to start rebuilding creativity. You have to start preaching evangelism. You have to start preaching about being outward focused. Before change can take place you have to shift and change the minds and hearts of the people. Once this begins to happen amazing things can begin to occur. This is the process we are now going through at West Side. And you know what … it is beginning to happen. We are beginning to see a change in heart and mind. We are beginning to see the creativity return to many people … and to be honest …. IT IS EXCITING!!!!
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When it comes to evangelsism, you need to start with the leaders. Leaders lead! Jesus was the leader. The disciples saw what he did and followed. "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." He showed them how to "fish for men." The disciples folled his example. If the paid staff, elders, deacons, and other ministry leaders are not sharing their faith, bringing friends and visitors to church, the people that follow them won't either. I agree with being creative, but sticking to the basics is always a good thing too. Reading, praying, sharing your faith. A good question to ask is, "How many people did you invite to church this week? This month? This year? How many people have you asked to study the bible recently?" My guess would be that it is not happening. How can a church grow if the members are not putting any effort into seeking and saving the lost? What is the spiritual health of the church if this is not happenig? Looking at the scriptures, I would say not good. I enjoy your blog. Thanks.
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