Making Sure Guests And Visitors Feel Truly Welcome

Wikipedia provides a simple working definition for efficiency: “Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without waste.” So, if I am a guest to your church, can I do it efficiently? Can I be a guest efficiently, i.e., from my perspective? Or will I consider the exercise an inordinate and excessive drain on my resources of time, energy, and money...too much for the return on my investment? First Impressions matter. If a church is leaving an impression with visitors that their time and energy an

Merging Congregations...with Love and Grace

Sometimes God chooses to unite two congregations for His fame in their community and His glory among the nations. When He initiates the idea of a merger, most people feel joy and apprehension. Joy because of potential kingdom gains: a season to pursue clarified vision together, hope for a declining congregation, a campus for a younger church, intergenerational mentoring opportunities and that earnest prayer of our King that His followers would be one. Yet, there is also apprehension. Can we keep our name? Will we have to sing their songs? Who will be our pastor? Will they honor our legacy? What about our tag line and logo? In many ways, the process of uniting churches is like a courtship and

Pastor as Title. Pastoral as Identity.

I’ve been working through an idea. It’s personal, being observable in myself yet observable for anyone who’s been in ministry. The idea is that sometimes there’s a distinction between being a pastor and being pastoral. These two concepts are complimentary and belong together. One is a title, a endowment, a position entrusted by a presbytery or congregation. The other is an inward quality of grace that only God can give. The title of pastor is not a bad thing. It is a noble calling to pursue. But not all who have the title are pastoral. And not all who are pastoral have the title. Sometimes they don’t reside together in a man’s life for a short period of time, or worse, the quality of being p

Church Guest Registration 101

A funny thing happened on the way to getting warmly received and related to and retained by a church I visited... No one got my information. No one. Okay, it wasn’t all that funny. I walked in the door of the church, spent 1 ½ hours of my time, and walked out the door with no one at the church securing a record of my visit. Just to be clear, I did not withhold my information from the church as guests are sometimes prone to do. No. The church made no observable effort to get that information. Bottom line? The information wasn't given because the offer to receive it wasn't clearly and demonstrably made to me, the guest. Here’s the reality: If a church has a plan for gathering guest i

A Case For Singing Hymns

Fanny Crosby, the queen of gospel songs (and a woman whose faithfulness to the Gospel one can merely aspire to) once said, “It is not enough to have a song on your lips. You must also have a song in your heart.” Now, you and I can glance at that quote and think it’s cheesy. A quote like that belongs on a coffee mug sitting on the desk of a high school choir director, or cross-stitched somewhere at your grandmother’s house. But when you pause and think about it, you have to ask yourself: what does it mean to have a song in your heart? How many songs do you sing or hear that don’t resonate in your soul? Seriously, how much of the stuff you listen to on the radio, Spotify, or even sometimes sin

Some Thoughts On Church Bullies

In working with churches that need to be revitalized or replanted you're more likely than not to discover that there are a few bullies who have ruled and reigned over the church for some time. If the church is to move forward you'll have to deal with the bullies. How should you respond? Seek Unity in Love--it may be difficult to envision loving a church bully, it's easier to be angry at them, often justifiably. Appealing to the bully with Christ-like love is disarming--they are used to conflict and fighting as their primary pattern of relating. Seek to love them as Christ loves everyone. Don't Be Intimidated--a church bully grows in power and influence as others back down when they flex t

What Are We Trying to Accomplish by Studying the Bible Together at our Community Groups?

Many churches have small group ministries. These small groups are sometimes called discipleship groups, community groups, life groups, growth groups, Bible studies, or some other clever name. These groups exist to provide a more intimate environment in which people can weekly meet other Christians, encourage one another, share a meal together, study the Bible together, pray together, and even plan service projects together. If you’ve ever been part of a group like this, then you know that studying the Bible with other people can sometimes be an uncomfortable activity. When you mix together a group of diverse people from different family backgrounds, different races, different political pa

Small Church, Little Power, Little Influence? Hear Christ’s Words for You

Your church may never receive any notice from denominational leaders. Your church may be smaller than the big churches in your area that possess national recognition. Your church with its preaching and praying and Scripture reading and congregational singing may seem quaint (even antiquated) by the standards of culture and Christian alike. Hear Jesus’ words: “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." If we are faithful with what we know from the Scriptures, God will open doors through which our church may walk to multiply that faithfulness to

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