For many years now we’ve had an annual theme at our church and it has worked well. You might ask, “Why have an annual church theme?” Well, to begin with, it gives your church a sense of overall direction and purpose. It also provides your church with a common goal to rally behind and to accomplish. It lets your church know that this upcoming year is not just going to be another “business-as-usual” year. By having a theme we’re communicating the idea that we want to see God do something special in our church.
After much thought and prayer, as a Leadership Staff we chose the theme “Come Grow with Us.” On that first Sunday as our members came through the doors of our building, they couldn’t help but see our theme for 2020. We promoted the theme by placing signage all throughout our complex, utilizing the front of our bulletin, promoting it on our website, and highlighting it in our quarterly newsletter.
I started the year by preaching a five-week series of messages on the subject of growth. In each message I’ve made sure that there was a practical way in which our people could respond.
• For spiritual growth I encouraged them to participate in a Bible reading program.
• For numerical growth I encouraged them to commit to giving one hour a month to our GROW Outreach Ministry.
• For supernatural growth I told them that we need to pray and to ask God to do what only He can do in the life of our church.
• For relational growth I emphasized the importance of them regularly attending a Sunday School class where they can build relationships with other members.
• For financial growth I challenged them to tithe and to give sacrificially to the work of their local church.
By making sure that there was a personal and practical application in each message, the people realize that our 2020 theme is more than just a sign up on the wall. They now understand that when I talk about church growth, I’m talking about how we all need to grow in different areas of our Christian lives.
In order for an annual church theme to be successful three things have to happen.
• First, as pastors we have to continually promote the theme all throughout the year – not just in January and then never mention it again. Everything rises and falls on leadership!
• Secondly, the people need to clearly understand not only the theme, but how they can be a part of accomplishing that theme. In other words, they have to own it.
• Thirdly and most importantly, it takes God to make the theme become a reality in your church. Here’s the bottom line, without God nothing of spiritual significance happens in our churches.
So, yes, I think having an annual church theme is important, and yes, I would be more than willing to share with you the themes and ideas we have developed here at our church over the years.
You can download a list of themes we have used over the years here.
We have probably all heard someone say, either in jest or frustration, “Ministry would be great if it wasn’t for people.” But we who have God’s call on our lives know that people are what ministry is all about! It doesn’t take long to realize that at some point there is more people ministry that needs to be done than any one of us can personally do. We have to have others who will come alongside us to help us accomplish in the lives of people what God wants us to do. If we don’t, our capacity to do people ministry becomes the bottleneck or even the cap on what we will ever accomplish. When that happens, we begin to allow people to unintentionally fall through the cracks.
In order to make effective ministry more manageable, and to ensure no one falls through the cracks, it makes sense for us to equip others to help with people ministry - Sunday School teachers, group leaders - people who are willing to help us expand the number of people to whom we effectively minister. It is important that we equip these leaders with the knowledge that ministry looks different for different people - a visitor, a faithful person with needs, an absentee, a prospect, etc.
We have found that putting people into groups or subgroups within classes helps us based on the type of ministry that is necessary and helps leaders know what their purpose is when they minister to different people. Therefore, they are more effective in their ministry. We have identified four groups of people each class will minister to in different ways: members, visitors, prospects, and those who have become non-responsive. In this post, we will deal with the first. The last three we will address in a later article.
Enrolled - This is a ministry list for class members. These are the people who are enrolled as class members.
Daniel Edmonds really captured the heart of this type of ministry when he wrote: “Enrollment does not represent an individual’s commitment to the class, but the commitment of the class to the individual. Enrollment is not about the person attending the class, but about the class attending to the needs of the individual. Enrollment becomes the way a class extends its ministry and mission field by identifying people to whom it can demonstrate the love of Christ.”
Every class member has someone who is personally responsible to know them - to find out if they are saved, to “provoke them to love and good works” - whether that is the teacher, a care group leader, or fellow class member. They are contacted when they are absent. They are prayed for regularly. Someone cares for them and is there for them in their hurts (sickness, death of a loved one, etc.)
Until each person has someone who cares for them personally, effective ministry cannot consistently happen.
Contact Dennis at email@example.com
In Part 1 of our conversation Pastor Jennings told us that being balanced truly means to filter everything through the Great Commission in ministry. In this part of the conversation, Pastor Jennings gives practical advice to Pastors and ministry leaders on how to lead their churches to be great commission oriented.
What are some things you can do to become more balanced /Great Commission Oriented in ministry?
So many people think about ministry style or standards when they think about the issue of balance in the ministry. Pastor Dennis Jennings says that balance isn't about style. Balance is about aligning our personal ministry and our churches ministry with the Great Commission.
You may be wondering why the Baptist Church Ministry Network was started. In this message, Pastor Frazier states the reasons why this network of Biblical, balanced baptists was begun. Take a few moments and watch this great message simply entitled, "Why have the Baptist Church Ministry Network?".
Erik Sanders, Bible Baptist Church, Everett, WA
As I hear the words “capital campaign” my pulse quickens, and the stress level rises. Raising funds for church projects can be tough, but if you have a few key steps in place it will be manageable. For a capital campaign to be successful you must plan the work, and then work the plan. Below are several key components that should be considered when entering a capital campaign project.
Determine Your Needs. As our church began the planning process we thought our greatest need was Adult Sunday School space. However, we discovered through conducting an assessment (done by our architect) of our needs, our greatest need was children’s space. In reality, adult classroom space ranked 3rd on the needs list.
Ask The Hard Questions. Here are some good questions to ask as you consider a capital campaign:
Solicit Help. There are many good fundraising companies out there to choose from. We decided to use a Pastor (Dr. Rick Carter) to help us chart a course for our campaign. The point is… solicit help. You will need the wisdom and insight from those that have conducted past successful campaigns.
Build A Team. A capital campaign rises and falls on leadership. Be sure to select people that the church respects, and will be champions of the capital campaign.
Communicate Cleary and transparently. If you desire for your church members to “buy in” to the capital campaign you must communicate clearly what you are asking of them. Also, the whole process should be done with transparency and openness. There are members in your pews that have been a part of past campaigns in other churches that have been train wrecks. Show them that you can be trusted.
Pray! I saved the most important for last. A capital campaign is an mammoth task, and should never be entered into without a time of prayer and fasting.
Capital Campaigns are polarizing moments for a church. If managed well, it will be far more than a fund-raiser, it will be a faith-raiser.
I entered the ministry as a 20 year old bus kid that could lead music with tons of passion and little else. Thankfully I had a pastor that was patient when I needed it, stern when I needed it, and wise enough to hold me accountable along the way.
More than a decade later, while I had gained experience, I still lacked in so many areas when I was called to that first pastorate. Once again the patience of others was needed, but I needed more. I was now the leader. I was excited, still full of passion, ideas and energy. But there were areas of ministry that were completely outside my experience. I was a "blank slate."
Thankfully I had developed a number of relationships with some men who were willing to give me a bit of their time. Every time I needed help in one of those “blank slate” areas, I found
that the Lord had already put into my life a pastor friend from whose experience I could draw, who had a heart like Paul: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2).
I received help in those early years with our church missions program; Sunday School organization; discipleship program; budgeting; church finances; getting a loan; building a building; hiring staff; time management; counselling; and the list goes on and on. In every one of these areas, it wasn’t an internet article or a book; it was the personal input from someone who had walked the road ahead of me and was willing to give me the time to show me the way that made the difference in my ministry.
The Baptist Church Ministry Network provides today’s pastors and ministry leaders a place to find someone with experience and the willingness to give time to help. A recent article on pastoral mentoring stated, “[O]ne of the advantages to being in a denomination or network of churches is the accessibility of mentoring relationships…..[P]astors who go it alone are missing out on one of the great benefits of pastoral community.”
The need for these mentoring relationships is as great as ever. The good news is that we are already hearing of Network members taking advantage of this resource. One young pastor just shared with me the blessing of having someone willing to take his call for a quick question. In essence he said, “I feel like there is someone who cares about where I am, where I am going and how I’m going to get there.”
We all know Biblical, Balanced, Baptist people in ministry who are doing all they know to do with passion and energy. Some have a world of experience and godly wisdom, and would be a valuable resource for others in the network. They need to be made aware that just a little time on a phone call could expand their own personal ministry beyond their church. We all know pastors and ministry leaders who would be greatly helped by someone will to “coach” them through a problem or project.
Join me in reaching out to these fellow laborers and let them know that the BCMN is a place for them to belong and to make a difference. Send them to baptistcmn.org and let them check it out for themselves. We will all be stronger for it!
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