Look In Not Out For It

When looking for your purpose, your dream, your it – don’t look out, look in.

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Your you, your it, is already there, inside of you, deposited incrementally by God over time.

The experts work hard to sell you their it to help you find your it all the while hoping you don’t find it.

But it, is already there, inside of you.

Constantly looking outward for your it only prolongs the agony of discovery the inevitable.

Your it was right there with you all the time.

More Than Luck

In this life for those that follow Christ, there will always be more to the story than what we see.

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Reality on this earth is not entirely real. What we see is only a portion of what is really going on.

That’s because God is not limited by the natural laws, he is super-natural.  Much of what he does for us is hidden from our view.

Because of that it’s possible:

  • When we think we were lucky, it was not luck at all.
  • When we arrive there safely, disaster was averted because of what we did not see.
  • When we happened to meet that person, it was a divine appointment.
  • The poor person begging on the street, is really not a poor person begging.
  • We’re still alive not because of anything that we have done, but because God has willed it to be so. and  he has more for us to become and do.

Things happen every day to us and to others all over the world not because of luck, but because of the reality we cannot see.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord,
so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw
the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
-2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)

Start A Fight!

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Sometimes in order to advance God’s love on earth he calls us to start a fight.

Waiting to advance is the devil’s Xanax. The longer we wait, the more drowsy and complacent we become.

Advancing is never easy. Taking new ground can be rough. But advance we must.

Whatever God has called you to do, do it. Make that call, say you’re sorry, start that ministry, launch that business, fight!

“Who will start the battle asked Ahab.
The prophet answered, You will.”

(1 Kings 20:14)

Rejection or Redirection

When an opportunity dries up, is it simply our fault or is there something else going on?

  • When our job is no longer fulfilling, or we’ve been reassigned or let go.
  • When the relationship we used to hold dear, crumbles.
  • When the peace, joy, and fulfillment in our heart, changes.

More often than not for the Christian, this is not God’s rejection, but his redirection.

“Some time later the brook dried up because there
had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him.”
(1 Kings 17:7-8)

Drop the Remote and Pick Up a Sword!

There will be times in our life when the only right option is to RISE UP (again) and get back in the fight.  When all other options are exhausted and hope seems dim don’t clam up, get high, or leave – fight!

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Image source: Shepherd of the Hills

Fight for what’s right. Fight for forgiveness.  Fight for your family.  Fight for your dream.  Fight for reaching new people through your church.  FIGHT!

In the Bible although David was the mightiest of warriors, he also at times felt exhausted, broken, and discouraged.  What was his solution to this?  He would remember that God was with him even when things were going bad, and then he would make up his mind to get up (again) and get back into the fight!

“David rose up and once again organized his forces. He appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. Then David deployed his troops and announced, ‘I’m marching with you.’” -2 Samuel 18:1-2

NOTHING HAPPENS… Without Focus

In life, no matter the vocation, nothing happens without focus.

And when it comes to church ministry, that’s even more true because we have an extra adversary that is busy about trying to trip us up.

Focus – laser focus – is required to break through the noise, and the front lines, to accomplish anything significant and eternal.

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Be Careful Who You Use In Church

(BLANK) church is seeking a (INSERT JOB HERE, senior pastor, worship leader, youth pastor…). The requirements for this job are as following:

#1 – Applicant must have at least five years experience in full time ministry.

#2 – Applicant must have a Masters degree from an accredited seminary.

#3 – Applicant must be married.

From this point on it does not matter what is required of the applicant because, if these three things are expected of any position in a church—THEN JESUS HIMSELF would not have qualified for the job when He was here on earth.

And any church where Jesus would not qualify for a job is a very dangerous place.

(*thanks Perry Noble for this post!)

Church Growth Through Invite Handles

When it comes to encouraging people to invite others to your church service, one thing stands out above the rest.

People need a specific reason to invite.

It’s not enough to just tell them to invite, they need what I call invite handles.

Invite handles are specific anythings that your people can use in a conversation (personal or online) to invite someone to church.  It’s the reason why that person should come.

The key here is to spend some time thinking through and then creating and communicating your invite handles to your people.

Whether an upcoming event at your church, sermon or sermon series, special testimony, special music, or pot-luck, give your people something specific that they can invite people to.

Because Church Growth Matters,
Barry

Pull, Don’t Push, to Grow

My wife recently had the opportunity to visit one of the small groups a growing church in our community offers.

As many churches do, the curriculum for this particular small group was based on the previous weeks sermon.

But there was a problem.

Throughout the lesson the small group leader would ask questions like “Last Sunday the pastor said we are to do what?” and “Which main point in the message did you relate to?” For those who attended last weeks service those questions were fine, but if you did not make the service last week or happened to be a first-time visitor to the church via the small group, the questions made you feel awkward and isolated. Instead of fostering growth and community, this small group pushed some of the people away. The result is predictable, this small group will probably be smaller next week.

Consider: When people feel awkward it pushes them away instead of pulls them in.

Whether in a small group, Sunday school class, or in a sermon if you want to pull people in and not push them away, teach like they know nothing.

Try This: Next time you meet with your small group leaders (whether by email, Skype, or in person) ask them to apply the Push-Pull Test. Ask them to look at their notes prior to teaching and ask “Is there anything in my notes that a total stranger would not know or understand? If so, rewrite or remove.

Church Growth Matters,
Barry

Top Reasons Visitors Don’t Return: Unanswered Questions

If a first time visitor has to ask questions about your church, you’ve probably lost them, for good.

Here’s why.

We live in America. American’s by nature shop. Shoppers not only shop, they compare.  Not only do they compare, they keep score. When Americans (your outreach target) walk into a store, restaurant, movie, doctors office, or church, they are keeping score.

Shopping, comparing, and keeping score is not just a part of our American culture, it’s who we are.

Why Unanswered Questions Push Visitors Away

When a first time visitor can’t figure something out on their own, they are forced to go ask a question. The reason this is such a big deal is Americans expect their questions to be answered for them.  In their Monday-Saturday cultural norm, most questions are answered before they have to ask. So when they have to ask a question at your church on Sunday, they get frustrated (the opposite of a positive first impression). That one frustration generates a negative mark on their shoppers score card, and once your visitor gets a few of those they won’t return to your church.

Questions Church Visitors Expect To Be Answered For Them

  • (Arrival) What door do we go in? (if it’s not totally obvious they will not know).
  • Where do my kids go? (the #1 question asked by parents immediately upon entering your church building).
  • Where is the bathroom? (the #2 question asked upon entering the building after three cups of coffee).
  • Are there Sunday School classes or small groups for us to attend?
  • What is the title of the Sunday school or small group class? Who is the teacher? Where are they located in the building? Do you have a handout with info and a map to the classroom?
  • How do I get involved? What are my next steps? How do I become a member? Can I join today? (questions a “I finally found my new church home!” visitor asks).
  • How do I give? What are my giving options? Can I give cash? Check? On the Web? How do I get a receipt for my donation? (*Many churches encourage first-time visitors not to give but I believe they should be left alone to make that decision because visitors often want to feel part of the church, and giving creates a bond/ownership which increases the chance that they will return.
  • What is the website address for the church? Do you have a Facebook page? Twitter page? Can I use YouVersion or other Bible apps in the worship service and small group? (*2 out of 10 people now use Bible apps on their smart phones instead of a printed Bible -and that number continues to grow; If you still don’t understand the value of correctly using social media to do ministry and grow your church, let’s talk).

The information about your church that you already know is not always obvious to new visitors. That’s why it’s important to take some time to evaluate what questions are not being answered for your visitors. An easy way to do this is to follow up with those that visit and ask them if they had to ask any questions or if anything was not obvious during their visit.

Take some time and evaluate the questions visitors ask, and you just may see greater growth this year!

If you have additional question I’d love to help! Visit the contact page to get in touch.