What gets in our way when it comes to the church’s mission to make disciples? Let’s look at the things we do at church and they way we spend our time as pastors: Preparing a sermon or teaching message in a given week without spending time in disciple-making relationships
The most important 2 feet can be found on the front lines of your church’s Guest Services or Hospitality teams: They belong to the team members who are the “first face” of your church – parking lot crews, greeters, ushers – anyone who is making the first impression with your Guests
If God’s objective for every believer is to transform us into total Christlikeness, then the objective of preaching is to motivate people to develop Christlike convictions (to think like Jesus), Christlike character (to feel like Jesus), and Christlike conduct (to act like Jesus)
While no church is likely to ever say, "We've arrived!" when talking about their spiritual journey, there are churches happy to say, "We're moving in the right direction!" But how do you know where your church is spiritually if you have no means of measuring the issues that bring transformation to lives and communities? Fortunately, quality church assessment tools can help leaders identify strengths and weaknesses in your church and where your church is following Christ and living on mission
How do we measure discipleship? It is relatively easy to measure church attendance, giving, or small group participation, but how do we measure church members becoming more like Christ? The Willow Creek Reveal Study pointed out that church activity doesn’t necessarily lead to fully devoted follower of Christ, but are there activities we can measure to help our congregation grow? I think there are six vital areas that point to a growing disciple: Serving in a local church
Have you found yourself wondering if your church is making authentic disciples? Or ever will? Have you recognized that a lot of what passes for discipleship is really about information and behavior modification? If you’re ready for a new approach, you might want to take a look at the Transformational Discipleship DVD
Ever slow down long enough to look at whether your discipleship strategy is actually working? I know…who has time? Here’s the thing, we better make time! As I see it, you don’t have to read between the lines to see the link between leadership and accountability for results (See Matthew 25 or Luke 19 if you doubt me)
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. " 2 Timothy 2:2 What qualifies someone to teach others? Advanced biblical training? Theological degrees? Titles? Anyone can teach.
The first time I encountered this issue was in a church consultation nearly twenty years ago. I asked the pastor to tell me what was being taught in the church’s small groups.
What gets in our way when it comes to the church’s mission to make disciples? Let’s look at the things we do at church and they way we spend our time as pastors: Preparing a sermon or teaching message in a given week without spending time in disciple-making relationships. Spending time meeting with staff and church leaders in a given week in lieu of spending time in personal disciple-making relationships.
The most important 2 feet can be found on the front lines of your church’s Guest Services or Hospitality teams: They belong to the team members who are the “first face” of your church – parking lot crews, greeters, ushers – anyone who is making the first impression with your Guests. They also represent the space and distance where the words you use and the actions you take make the most powerful impact with your Guest.
The team at Auxano enjoys playing the role of “secret worshipper” when we take a church through our visioning process called the Vision Pathway. We call it a Guest Perspective Evaluation.
If you’re a friend of Auxano, you are likely well versed in the Church Unique Vision Frame. Its five components define every church’s DNA and create a platform for all vision casting.
Children have a faith that is ready to go. Let’s not waste that opportunity by delivering a humanistic Gospel.
The multi-site revolution is the biggest thing to happen to the broader church movement in my almost 20 years of ministry. I’ve personally been involved in the launch of 12 campuses—working on 2 more as we speak!—and I’ve coached a bunch of other leaders through the process.
One of the things we’ve all heard a lot of talk about is what it means to be missional. It’s a relatively new word that has emerged into the conversation over the last few decades.
What Are We Missing in Discipleship? Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so. I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in many churches.
In organizations I have coached over the years, there is a common belief that business processes and work culture are separate, distinct things. While they are indeed different sides of a coin, I believe they are inextricably related.
Every area of ministry in your church is enhanced when you focus on developing an effective assimilation process. Discipleship thrives because there’s a process in place to move people into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so. I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in evangelicalism.
In my blog I have referred many times to my days of church consultation, particularly those experiences where we sent one of our consultants to be a first-time guest in a church. He or she would return with a report of those experiences, and the report would eventually be consolidated with other information for the church.
If you regularly read my Vision Room content, you know that I tend to lean towards process and leadership themes. For people that know me only as a part of the leadership at Church Community Builder, that may seem inconsistent.
I work with dozens of churches each year as I work with their leadership teams about small groups, spiritual growth and transformational leadership. Often I am contacted and asked some variation of this question: “Bill, can you help us build/grow our small group ministry?” Before I answer yes, no or maybe, I engage in a conversation, asking lots of questions and getting to know the current state of the church.
One of our staff members at Elevation used to work at Chic-fil-A. He claims to know the secret about how they make the chicken taste so delicious.
Despite all the fear driven presentations you’ve heard, not every young person is walking out of the church the moment they finish high school and never coming back. Here’s what you need to know.
As we enter the final month of the year, I’m frequently asked about year-end giving. Many churches will be feeling budget pressures with donations that have lagged behind expenses all year and need to catch up.
One of the higher priorities for the church in recent years has become assimilation, and rightful so. The days are gone when people would find the nearest church and commit immediately—more people are secular and are not looking to jump in to a church and more Christians are cautious in their involvement.
(continued from Part 1) > The Bottom Line for Living Now Here’s the bottom line: Jesus has called all who believe in Him to be His disciples. Our goal is to become like Him and represent Him in the world.
I grew up in a churched culture. From the time I left the hospital until I graduated high school, I was put through every program, participated in every activity, and was faithful to every event our local church had to offer.
Vision Curator's Note: This post was originally published on January 29, 2013, on Employee Happiness Tips Tricks & Tools, a site where you can find state-of-the-art real-life ideas for boosting employee happiness. With the author's permission, I've made only slight modifications to reflect the language of church ministry teams, focusing on Guest Experience teams.
How often have you experienced unfriendly or grumpy service on an airline, in a restaurant, or in another service environment? Quite a few times, I imagine. In the vast majority of cases, I would take a bet that this is not so much a result of poor hiring or training, but a reflection of a poor internal culture.
I've been asked lately about some bottom-line "musts" to establish and/or take guest services excellence to the next level. This isn't an exhaustive list (that's why I wrote a few books on the topic), but these core essentials will provide a foundation to make your serve to guests excellent and personable.
There is often a vast disconnect between the awareness of the need for disciple-making and practical tools that actually aid in this work. Three factors are essential: Scripture, relationships, and time.
Brands like Apple, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines understand that the thing that makes an organization great is the vibrant and passionate community it creates. It doesn’t just happen.
Brilliant simplicity from Seth Godin: The person who invented the banquet table, the round table for ten, wasn’t doing it to please those at the banquet or even the banquet organizer. He did it because this is the perfect size for the kitchen and the servers.
Excellent guest service - whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry - is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.
Making Disciples Is Hard Making disciples is the call of every believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, I dare say for most of us, it has been permitted to accept a version of Christianity both personally and corporately where disciple making is virtually non-existent.
If God’s objective for every believer is to transform us into total Christlikeness, then the objective of preaching is to motivate people to develop Christlike convictions (to think like Jesus), Christlike character (to feel like Jesus), and Christlike conduct (to act like Jesus). Every other objective of preaching is secondary.
Preseason NFL games are boring to watch, even for serious fans. Seriously, Sportscenter on ESPN barely mentions preseason games.
At NewSpring Church, "found people find people. " Pastor Perry Noble and his team have prepared a tremendous resource on Evangelism for use in their groups - and now they have made available to everyone! Here is a brief outline of each session.
In the first post, I talked about 11 different aspects of society used a filters or barriers to form or foster community. I argued, “In order for a gospel community to be counter-cultural, we first have to assess what we are encountering in the culture.
Actual movements are tricky things, but the word has never been more popular. People keep referring to themselves as "a movement for global change" or "a church planting movement.
I've written extensively about the missional nature of the church and the theological background that undergirds that nature. God is, by His nature, a sender.
For a leader, the maxim is true: it’s not about what you can do, but what you can duplicate. At some point your vision must transcend your skills and be deposited into the basic reproducible habits of the entire congregation.
Your Guests are your customers. At Forrester Research, Inc.
I had the privilege of being with some great yet humble pastoral leaders last week at a forum in Atlanta. These 22 men and women are responsible for creating a climate where group life and effective teams can flourish in and through the life of the local church.
Each month, in conjunction with the Creature of the Word book that I wrote with Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson, we list questions and action items for church leadership teams to consider on the Facebook page. We recently listed some of our top resources on multiplication.
The Great Commission was given to a community. Western readers have tended to read the Great Commission passages (especially Luke 24 and Matthew 28) in light of the autonomous individual.
How do you help people make meaningful connections when they attend your church? One of the most frustrating things in finding a church has been figuring how to connect with other attenders. My wife had a great idea the other day and I wanted to pass it on before it slips into the abyss forgetfulness that is my brain.
I believe there is biblical symmetry in how we enter missionally and how we make disciples by joining them to invite us into this life on mission. That symmetry is best explained by looking at a language device known as a chiasm.
You can’t obey Jesus’ command to go and make disciples if you don’t know what Jesus means by “disciple. ” And you won’t know what Jesus means by disciple unless you watch the the way He portrayed discipleship in His teaching, particularly in His parables.
Last week when I wheeled my son in his pram, down our steep driveway, I was super careful. I wasn’t taking any chances – I had precious cargo and I would do everything in my power to concentrate and carefully bring him down the hill.
5 useful measurements for Bible study group involvement. In a prior post we explored the first measure of ministry progress: attendance.
Numbers matter to God, because people matter to God. In a previous post I introduced the importance of measuring progress in ministry.
Several years ago my wife and I visited Canada, to see my sister and brother-in-law. While in Vancouver, we walked up the infamous Grouse Mountain.
Churches across the globe have begun to realize the importance of the biblical mandate (Matt. 28:19–20) for disciple-making, and are imagining the transformation of lives and the culture where their church exists.
Recently I was asked a question in an email about an apparent discrepancy in the Bible. I answered it.
Is your church a church OF disciple-making or a church WITH disciple-making? The question is not meant to offend or criticize, but rather to clarify. The question has been generated from numerous conversations with pastors and discipleship leaders on a daily and weekly basis.
Eric Geiger continues his 2013 Discipleship Interview Series with Trevin Wax below. Trevin serves as the managing editor of The Gospel Project and is a prolific blogger.
If you could have a big tree with only a little fruit or a small tree with lots of fruit, which would you choose? It’s about a choice, right? But we’ll get back to that in a second. I’ve noticed there seem to be two things I can do with Jesus.
Evangelicals have a love-hate relationship with knowledge, it seems. Many churches seem to be so embarrassingly anti-intellectual that it seems if you enjoy books, you may finding yourself looking for a new church.
One of the greatest critiques of the American Church today is that it’s malnourished. Some would even say it’s our most pressing problem.
Church leaders must craft opportunities where people will encounter the grace of God. Simple church leaders are designers, not programmers.
The marketplace, the everyday world of trade and economic activity, is where most people spend the majority of their days. In modern history, the marketplace has played an unparalleled role in shaping our world.
1. Teach them how Scripture informs their work.
Howard G. Hendricks, known affectionately as “Prof” to more than 10,000 graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary, leaves behind an incalculable legacy which he would call “the work of Christ in me.
Over the last several years, I’ve worked with church leaders from close to 200 different churches in consulting and coaching relationships. These churches are all different shapes and sizes.
Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes—and often one of the hardest things for a novice preacher to do is find opportunities to practice their skills. One place they may want to consider: Children’s ministry.
Numbers of gifted persons and organizations have studied the phenomenon of the church “back door,” the metaphorical way we describe people leaving the church. And there will always be the anticipated themes of relocation or personal crises.
I believe groups (classes, Bible fellowships, etc) should be important to churches because God has supernaturally ordained community to sanctify His people. God, who is an eternal community of three Persons, created community for our benefit and His glory.
As church leaders, we know people won’t become disciples by sitting through services or just studying the Bible in classrooms. Jesus showed us that mission is the context for making disciples who can make disciples.
Hospitality is a forgotten art. It also has a lost biblical history.
Theologically, we know that the Church is supposed to be on mission for God. The church is called to leave what’s comfortable and propel itself out into the darkness as light, living the counter-culture life of the Kingdom of God.
A missional community is a family of missionary servants who make disciples who make disciples. Family First of all, a missional community is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family.
Customer service consultants frequently suggest mapping the journey and defining the touchpoints of customer-company interactions. But perhaps this map and these touchpoints miss the most important part of the journey – memory.
I have read a lot of books on evangelism, and my two favorite are Bill Hybels’ Just Walk Across the Room and Mark Dever’s The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. Yes, I see the irony in that.
People never get a second-chance at a first impression. Neither do churches.
While no church is likely to ever say, "We've arrived!" when talking about their spiritual journey, there are churches happy to say, "We're moving in the right direction!" But how do you know where your church is spiritually if you have no means of measuring the issues that bring transformation to lives and communities? Fortunately, quality church assessment tools can help leaders identify strengths and weaknesses in your church and where your church is following Christ and living on mission. Why use an assessment tool? Assessment tools give churches a practical view of where they are and can inform next steps.
If you have ever designed a room or redecorated a house, you know that it is much easier to work with new furniture. You buy furniture with the room in mind.
Yesterday in my disciple-making class, we focused on developing a relationships investment plan for the new year. We plan for a lot of things.
Every year my wife and I sit at high school graduations and watch our students walk across the stage as they transition into another phase of life. Every year I wonder, Will this student be swept away by the culture of the world in college, or will he/she change the culture around them as they live out the gospel? That's the job God has called us to.
“Community” is one of our highest values at Church Community Builder. So much so, we made it part of our name.
How do we measure discipleship? It is relatively easy to measure church attendance, giving, or small group participation, but how do we measure church members becoming more like Christ? The Willow Creek Reveal Study pointed out that church activity doesn’t necessarily lead to fully devoted follower of Christ, but are there activities we can measure to help our congregation grow? I think there are six vital areas that point to a growing disciple: Serving in a local church. Church attendance without service does not grow me as a disciple.
LifeWay Research has released a new research brief on maturing believers. Here are the details: Believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity are more likely to exercise their faith by trusting God even in difficult circumstances, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.
One of the things I love doing on my blog is highlighting next-level resources that could help churches experience exponential growth or success in reaching their communities. Today, I wanted to take time to highlight the latest eBook from Alex Absalom, Disciples Who Make Disciples: Turning Your Church Into a Multiplying Movement, which he co-authored with Greg Nettle.
Have you found yourself wondering if your church is making authentic disciples? Or ever will? Have you recognized that a lot of what passes for discipleship is really about information and behavior modification? If you’re ready for a new approach, you might want to take a look at the Transformational Discipleship DVD. I recently reviewed the challenging new book by the same name, written by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation.
If you’re looking for discipleship resources that will give direction to your approach, Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley and Philip Nation ought to be on your reading list. A research driven project, the book is based on the discoveries of an extensive research project launched by Lifeway in 2010 “to survey believers about their spiritual lives and level of maturity.
Ever slow down long enough to look at whether your discipleship strategy is actually working? I know…who has time? Here’s the thing, we better make time! As I see it, you don’t have to read between the lines to see the link between leadership and accountability for results (See Matthew 25 or Luke 19 if you doubt me). That said, how can we determine whether our discipleship strategy is working? Here are a few ideas: Assessments like Willow’s Reveal can play an important role.
Whether it’s a business, a nonprofit organization, or a church, I am sure you have walked into a building and noticed either a level of excitement from those inside or a sense of doom! The energy which emanates from culture cannot be faked. It’s similar to the intent which stems from a persons heart.
As culture drifts more and more toward individualism, transformational churches are taking on the responsibility of moving people into authentic relationships with each other, many through the instigation and encouragement of small groups. Though a hermeneutically responsible scriptural case cannot be made specifically for the institute of small groups, the Bible does offer examples of the need for and benefits of small units of community.
What does a church look like when it succeeds? A church is successful when everyone in the church is in the game, maturing into disciples who can reproduce other disciples. Matthew 4:19 gives us a clear, uncomplicated image of what a disciple looks like, and helps a church know if it is obeying the command to make disciples.
Jimmy Scroggins is a pastor friend of mine. He currently serves at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Over the past year, our team at Church Community Builder has had conversation with hundreds of pastors about what their churches track and measure. Because so many churches evaluate their ministries at year end, I thought it would be helpful to highlight the metrics we saw most frequently in the churches we serve who are growing and healthy.
In a previous post, I recalled the decline of traditional outreach ministries in many churches. I further noted that most churches no longer try to connect with people through “cold call” visits in their homes.
A couple of weeks ago we had the last session of our Externally Focused Small Groups (EFSGs) InnovationLab. Here are a few ideas behind the power of EFSGs: 1.
People sometimes ask me about Transformational Church (TC), particularly after I mention it on Twitter as I did last week. I was talking about our TC Brasil project, as we are doing the TC research there.
To be sure, experiences can become idolatrous as well as addictive. Postmoderns collect experiences like moderns collect stuff.
I am an eBay addict. I may need help.
Someday I will hold up my Bible before a congregation, shake it, and yell at the top of my lungs, "This is not a book about propositions and programs and principles. This is a book about relationships.
Throughout the year, we have been releasing new research in support of Transformational Discipleship. This latest research is on "Serving God and Others"-- one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity.
1. Who is your next Guest? (Conceptually, not specifically.
Seeds come from living plants. But before they bring more life, they must die.
When I’m talking with church leaders about technology, the conversation often begins with questions about the kind of data we can track and report on. I know that it frustrates some of those leaders that I always flip the conversation to focus on people.
As someone who speaks and writes quite often about church planting, there are a few specific questions I'm asked more frequently. One that always seems to arise is "Why plant churches in the South?" It's a good question.
Your ability to stand strong is based completely on the strength of what you are standing upon. My daughters make me nervous when they climb on top of something that is not sturdy, something that will give out and cause them to fall.
Perhaps you caught this subversive post by Steven Furtick about why Elevation Church is “all about the numbers. ” I resonated with Steven’s reminder that while many churches pit growth and discipleship against one another, a healthy church celebrates numerical growth.
The larger the church the more likely you are to have missing people. These are individuals and families who were active in various areas of your ministry who have — in a sense — disappeared.
Measuring engagement is pretty easy for social media teams. How many people clicked “like?” How many people commented on your post? How many people “shared” it? But when it comes to ministry, it’s not quite that simple.
Great preachers and leaders know how to move people. As soon as I say that I know that the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is emotional manipulation.
Throughout 2012, we have been releasing groundbreaking new research from LifeWay Research's Transformational Discipleship study. In the study, we were able to identify eight attributes which consistently show up in the lives of believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity.
As my family visited churches upon moving to Nashville, we were blown away by the differences in hospitality to first time guests. In some churches we knew exactly where to park, were graciously welcomed, escorted to the children’s area to drop off our kids, and introduced to several helpful people.
"The spiritual disciplines" sounds like a phrase for another era of history. Whenever a book is written or a sermon is preached on the subject, people wonder if it is a subject only for ancient saints or a group of monks cloistered away in a mountain retreat.
Statistically, you can see a recurring pattern: Bible engagement is directly related to spiritual growth. While it may be possible to become a "better person" by attending church, it is not true spiritual growth.
While the landscape of our culture is changing rapidly, the core mission of the church has not: go and make disciples. So how can we use the technology available to do that? I believe there are three keys for our churches to effectively utilize technology and give us the opportunity for digital discipleship in a world that is more connected and relationally-driven than ever before.
Reaching North America for Christ is too big a task for one church to handle. New Church Multiplication is one of the best ways for us to work the North American fields to the edges.
In 2008, LifeWay Research commissioned a survey of more than 7,000 churches to discover the principles involved with healthy congregations. That research made up the framework for Transformational Church, a book I coauthored with Thom Rainer.
Any good physician will make certain your physical exam includes at least three components. First, the doctor will want you to have thorough lab work.
Today, I begin a new blog series to continue an ongoing dialogue. And make no mistake this dialogue is important.
I recently wrote an article that offered ten questions to help you diagnose the evangelistic health of your church. A couple of the readers asked insightful questions related to the culture of a church.
Yes, there are problems to the megachurch (and problems to the small, medium, etc. ).
Small group ministry struggling to meet the objectives you’ve set? Ending the ministry year and falling short of the goals that have been set for you? Although there are a number of possible explanations, the most likely reason is that your ministry isn’t actually designed to accomplish the goals and objectives you’d like to reach. If you want that to change, you need to design your ministry for results.
What if you could look at the top five percent most evangelistic churches in America and find the common factors in their ministries? One of my twenty-year quests has been to take on that very challenge. My research, both anecdotal and scientific, has pointed me to several commonalities, but this latest discovery really excited me.
Why I do the things I do. Many people ask me whether there is some reason and logic of my various writings or whether they are random reflections on various subjects related to the missional church.
In the book Live Sent: You Are a Letter, Jason Dukes lays out 10 questions to help Christians discern whether or not they are operating with a missional mindset. I’ve adapted and explained them below.
As I've said many times before: human beings are creatures of overreaction. We have a tendency to jump from ditch to ditch - often throwing the baby out with the bath water.