Where do we go from here?
Congratulations to all of the people elected on July 19, 2016 at the Church of God General Assembly. The elections are over and we need to wrestle with the question: Where do we go from here?
Now, it’s time to think younger and reposition our movement to be an effective force in reaching our communities for Jesus Christ. We all want to reach our communities but so often we do not know what to do. We hear the #ThinkYounger phrase and then, we look at the congregations that make up our denomination and many of them are older.
How do you reshape a congregation so that they are positioned for growth? How do you do it?
Growth begins with vision. As pastors, we need to pray and ask the Lord His vision for our church. Don’t over complicate this process. Keep the vision simple. At Stevens Creek Church of God, our vision is: To help people take their next steps toward God.
Jesus focused his disciples around the great commandment and the great commission. Again, we summarize his words like this: We are here to Love God, Love People and Serve the World. People understand these words.
If you over-complicate your vision, then it will be difficult for people to join with you in the work. People want to know where you are headed. They want to see what you see, so make it clear, make it concise and make it memorable.
Once you have discerned God’s vision for your church and written it out in a simple and compelling way, then you have to be relentless in communicating your vision. What I am about to say is not complicated, but it’s not easy either.
What are you doing to communicate your vision? The best way to do this is through preaching and teaching. Set aside at least one or two sermon series each year to focus on the vision of your church. In addition to that, use Facebook to tell stories that communicate the vision of your congregation. For instance, post pictures of water baptisms or small group meetings and use the comment section of the post to share someone’s testimony.
Use the social media platform that speaks to the people you are trying to reach. If you are speaking to parents of teenagers, then Facebook is important, but if you want to reach teens, then you must change your platform. Focus on Instagram or Snapchat.
At Stevens Creek Church, we have used t-shirts to communicate our message. At times we sell them and at other times, we give them away. Everyone that goes through our baptism class and gets water-baptized receives a t-shirt that says, “Baptized at The Creek.” When they wear their shirt, it opens the door for people to ask them questions. After they answer the person’s question, we encourage them to say: “Why don’t you come to church with me this Sunday.”
In addition to t-shirts, arm-bracelets have been a huge hit. We have used the phrase: Love God, Love People, Serve the World on bracelets and it seems that every time we do that, we run out. People love these bracelets and they wear them. I see people all over the city with a Stevens Creek bracelet on. I want you to think about creative ways to communicate your church's vision and then let me know. I am always looking for new ways that will help us grow in Christ and expand his influence in our community.