Into the Harvest
One of the hardest concepts to grasp for those who wish to grow is that fact that growth will bring about pain, pain from the loss of important things valued by the pastor and the congregation. What losses are you talking about? you might ask. Growth looks like a good thing, right?.
"How come my church has reached a numerical number, and we are unable to increase that number?" This is a central question we have found with small churches everywhere. Studies have shown that numbers plateau rather predictably – 200, 500, 1000, etc. The most important plateau, and the one that is the biggest barrier, is the 200 plateau.
God has been challenging us to think bigger. This isn’t surprising when you see the trajectory the diocese has been on for the past few years. God has carefully been putting the pieces in place to support this kind of growth for some time.
This summer, seven churches in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic formed a learning community to explore what it means to become a multiplying church.
Every congregation develops structures to facilitate the things they need to do on a consistent basis. We normally refer to these as our “ministries,” and depend on them to create order as we carry on the functions that are important to us. Like any other organization, the church needs these structures to give shape and consistency to its life together. Whether that structure is to provide leadership, coordinate activities, or provide processes to accomplish the things that need to be done, creating structures is a natural part of living life together.
One of the great questions we, the Church, have to deal with today is how to relate to our culture. This is a complex question that resists simple solutions, yet it is a vital part of learning to think and act missionally.
In early April I was blessed to attend the New Wineskins for Global Mission conference in Ridgecrest, NC. It was such an amazing experience to be with more than 1,000 Anglicans who were fired up about missions.
We take an in-depth look at five different approaches to evangelism, focusing on various strategies for using each style, hear stories of how this style has been employed by churches in our diocese, learn practical tools for applying each style in your local context, and learn how to build an evangelistic culture in your church.
Tim Keller says, “Vision is a faithful restatement of the Gospel with rich implications for life, ministry, and mission in a type of culture at a moment in history.” The team at the Titus Institute for Church Planting defines vision as a “picture of God’s preferred future for a church, organization or person.”
There was an electricity in the air that was palpable and it was clear to all present that something special was happening. Simply put, this was no ordinary workshop. God was very present among us and moving in a powerful way. As the workshop drew to a close, the Rev. Jay Baylor, co-host of the event, was moved to ask if there were any present who would like to work with him to form a diocesan-wide Evangelism committee. One-third of those present volunteered. When was the last time you witnessed three dozen people volunteering to serve on a diocesan committee at one time? And on Evangelism, no less!