Become Impassioned Pioneers of New Possibilities
Church Revitalizers must become impassioned pioneers of new possibilities. One needs to release their passionate quest of excellence in order to challenge the status quo and seize previously unseen ministry opportunities to build sustainable momentum within the ministry area. Impassioned revitalizers are the real explorers of new potentials and possibilities. The impassioned pioneer of new possibilities is more often able to outperform those who are just trying to get it done, but lack the zeal of the other leader. Your leadership as a Church Revitalizer is more about standing for something and transitioning your beliefs into action, and then taking it all the way through to the completed and envisioned end. When pastors are not exploring and pressing forward, they are playing it safe and can over time become complacent in their role as the shepherd. I have discovered that you will learn more from a pastor that explores than from one who merely floats along. When a renewal pastor explores, they challenge everyone on the church’s leadership team to get out of their comfort zones and step up their games.
Create a Moment-in-Time with as Many Church Members as Possible
Your presence with your flock is so vitally important and wise Church Revitalizers develop the ability to create individual moments with church members that express your interest in them. The more your church grows the better you will need to be at this ability. Your interest in them even for the moment in time often will ignite their interest in you and your cause of revitalization. Moments-in-time are mastered over time. This ability and presence requires self-trust, confidence, self-awareness and the ability to navigate the needs of other people. When you are with others your time is focused on them and not on the next thing. Creating a moment-in-time with as many church members as possible requires becoming a good listener and the ability to quickly connect the individuals patterns of conversation in order to detect one’s personal interests, leadership style and personal needs. Moments-in-time are not about you. but all about others. These moments-in-time are about having impactful, long-lasting moments with members and prospects that inspires others to want to know more.
Create a “User-Friendly” Ministry Environment
There are many barriers that obstruct an unchurched person from hearing and receiving the gospel message. Many of these are due to negative perceptions; others are spiritual issues of the heart. Here are four barriers that an unchurched person must cross to become a Christian:
The Image Barrier—Many perceive church as being irrelevant, boring, judgmental, and disingenuous.
The Cultural Barrier—For the unchurched, church culture can sometimes be as scary as it would be for some of us if we walked into a biker bar at 1 a.m. on Saturday night. Culture affects terminology/language, musical preferences, dress code, social traditions, and so forth. Some who are unchurched may not relate to church culture and may quickly decide that church is not for them.
The Gospel Barrier—The Holy Spirit must convict them of their sin, so that they repent and confess faith in the resurrected Christ.
The Total Commitment Barrier—Accepting that a commitment to Christ is a lordship decision involving total commitment and surrender to God.
Although many churches say that they care about reaching the unchurched or lost in their communities, they are hindered by inwardly focused ministry practices, which serve as barriers to reaching the unchurched. Everything from signage, service flow, dress code, and musical style is determined based on the needs of those who are already members. Members normally are familiar with the church facilities and ministries (so they don’t need greeters or good signage), have established strong relationships with other members, and are comfortable with the current culture of the church. New families often find the church experience to be uncomfortable, awkward, and confusing. They ask themselves, “Where do I go? Where do I take my kids? What do I wear? Will they ask me to pray?” They enter the church doors with hearts racing and sweaty palms hoping to find someone, anyone with whom they can identify. When creating a “user-friendly” environment, remember to remove the barriers that may hinder a person from hearing and responding to the gospel.
Many times, people are not willing to give church a try. The barriers, for them, are too large to maneuver, people within a church have hurt them, or they do not see the relevance in attending a church service. So why not go to them? Jesus did it—and so should we. Try volunteering for community events, coaching Little League, or taking a part-time job at Starbucks. Invest in relationships with people in the community, and show them that your love is genuine and unconditional.
You can connect with Dr. Tom Cheyney and the RENOVATE Church Revitalization Coaching Network additionally via Facebook at RENOVATE Conference. Tom is the co-author of Spin-Off Churches (B&H Publishers), a conference speaker and a frequent writer on church planting, new church health, and church revitalization. Be looking for The Biblical Foundations for Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials later this year. If you or your church would like more information about how to be considered for the next series of RENOVATE Church Revitalization Coaching Network Applicants you may contact him at Tom@renovateconference.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Tue, January 21, 2014
by Dr. Tom Cheyney