Category Archives: Church Helps
Here are 5 tips on preaching to the unchurched: 1. You should provide an outline with the scriptures written out.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
I believe one of the reasons Southern Baptist Churches aren’t growing at a greater rate is many churches are focused on “in-reach” verses “out-reach.” Although, it is a fact that the normal Southern Baptist church’s average attendance is 30 percent of what is actually on their roll. I believe too much time is being spent on reaching the converted, instead of reaching the unsaved. Clearly this doesn’t mean that we neglect our membership, but the goal of our church should be reaching those without Christ with the Gospel.
I am talking about a paradigm shift in the way we do church. Many of our churches plan for survival. The biggest question that is ever asked is how do we keep our members coming? I believe that must change. The biggest question we should ask is how can we reach those that are without Christ. I hear preachers brag about how many people come to their church, but we all must stop being satisfied with how many people come to our church and start thinking about how many aren’t coming. For my own personal ministry I have decided to stop looking at how many are coming to our church and start looking at how many we as a church still need to reach.
Who cares if you are the pastor of a church of twenty-five thousand when you are in a city of two million lost people? You may be excited about having that many people in your church, but just think about how many people aren’t in your church. My challenge is for every church to refocus on reaching the lost. Churches that focus on reaching the saved have worship wars, building conflicts, and immature congregations. Pastors, let your people know that they aren’t the “end” of your vision, but the “means” of reaching your vision. The vision is outreach.
I believe the goal of the church isn’t to build a great attendance as much as building God’s Kingdom. Therefore, I believe the best means of reaching those without Christ is through church planting. For the sake of argument, I’m using the words “church plant” and “satellite” interchangeably. No matter what your church size, every church must have a vision to plant another church in the next year. If that isn’t your vision, your vision is too small.
I encourage you to develop your own plan, but here is mine. I am in a community of 2,200 Christ-less people. I believe to reach that many people we must start four new churches. We will organize 12 small groups that will go through a church starting discipleship program. The purpose is for every small group to become a mini-church. Then we take three of the 12 small groups and help them organize into a church. The church culture they create will be focused on a different people group than ours. Their structure will be different than ours, but we will work together to reach our community. Once they have begun, our remaining nine groups will grow back up to twelve small groups and start the process over. The new church start is to grow into 12 small groups and plant a new church work as well. If we will be faithful to the work, we will have four new church plants within five years.
I share all of this to say, your church will grow as you focus on reaching the lost by focusing on church planting. Reaching your community isn’t based on the size of your attendance, but on the size of your vision. Let’s reach those without Christ.
I know it’s a silly issue, but a real issue that many churches are dealing with. I heard of one preacher who a couple of weeks ago challenged his church members to dress up for church. He wanted his members to show reverence to God by men wearing suits and women wearing dresses. He challenged them with the example of meeting the President of the country. He said, “What would you wear if you were meeting the President of the United States? You should dress the same way to come to church because God is more important than the President.” The logic seems simple; God is honored by me wearing “professional” clothing. The only problem is the logic is wrong.
I have no problem with wanting to be modest and reverent before the Lord, but judging a person’s reverence by the way they dress instead of by their heart is wrong. Let’s use the illustration above for example. Should I dress at church like I was meeting the President? Let me ask you a question. “Do you think that the President’s wife, parents, and children dress differently and treat him differently than you or I would?” Of course they do. The reason they do isn’t because they are disrespectful, but because they have a relationship with him. Hopefully it makes sense now, having a relationship with the Lord changes the way you are to show respect to the Lord. I would imagine that the President’s wife and children would have to do more than change their clothes for George to feel that they respect him. The same is true with God. Its all about your love and obedience to the Lord that shows you respect Him. So dress with some modesty, but show respect by being faithful to the Lord.
I once visited a church that invited members to wear jeans and shorts. Something happened that I didn’t expect. God was worshipped and the Word was preached. I had been taught that if men didn’t wear suits and women didn’t wear dresses then the worship service would be in vain, God would be super mad, and everyone in the church would probably go to hell. Surprisingly the service at that church was warm, exciting, spiritual challenging, and I would say even God honoring. Why? The clothes don’t make the man in God’s eyes. God looks at the heart.
One time while I was in seminary, I went to church with a t-shirt, jeans, and sandals on. A church member and friend of mine came and said to me, “Boy, we are very dressed down today.” I didn’t find it rude because I worked with the person and knew them pretty well. See, we both worked at a place that you have to dress “professionally”. So I told my friend, “No, I just didn’t want to wear my work clothes to church.” My friend was taken back a little and said, “God doesn’t care what you wear.” meaning that it is okay to wear work clothes to church as long as they are a suit. I said, “Exactly, God doesn’t care what I wear.”
One final thought. I hope you realize that dress is such a silly and small issue when compared with our need to evangelize, to disciple, to fellowship, to minister, and to worship that I hope we don’t let someone’s dress distract us. My conclusion is dress with modesty before the Lord and have a respect for the “dress code” at the church you attend, but realize that your heart will tell more about your relationship with God than your dress will ever do.
(I wrote this about a year ago and thought it would give some food for thought.- OKpreacher)
A Passion for Preaching
I have recently realized that many that claim to believe the Bible are apathetic towards the preaching of the Bible. There is an ever increasing desire to have shorter and shorter sermons. There is a greater desire to have preachers stand up and entertain a crowd then to bring forth a life changing message from God’s Word. Even among preachers there is a dying of the desire to preach. We have come up with every way to reach the lost except through the anointed expository preaching of God’s Word and we have a generation that knows less about Christ then ever before. In Mark, Jesus came as a preacher. Paul writes that the preaching of the cross is the power of God. In Acts, it was through Peter’s sermon that 3000 people were saved. The main reason preaching doesn’t effect us anymore is because we don’t expect it to. Another reason is that preachers don’t take the time to study God’s Word to get God’s Message and surrender enough to have God’s power in delivering that message. Most preachers have preached their people to sleep, transforming the pew into a bed. Preaching God’s Message isn’t enough, we must preach it in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Many preachers don’t have the time to declare God’s Word properly. The church wants them to be a counselor, an administrator, and a superstar. Where the pastor decides to be all that the church demands he has forfeited being a prophet. I long for the day when the church and the preacher gain a passion for preaching again.
Today I am stepping across the line. I’m tired of waffling and I’m finished with wavering, I’ve made my choice, the verdict is in, and my decision is irrevocable. I’m going God’s way. There’s no turning back now!
I will live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes with God’s people on God’s planet for God’s glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word.
Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living, and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.
Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me,” character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most, and I’ll give it all I’ve got. I’ll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.
I won’t be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me. When times get tough, and I get tired, I won’t back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace. I’m Spirit-led, purpose-driven, and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.
I’m a trophy of God’s amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for every day, and generous with everything God entrusts to me.
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say, “However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost I’m ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway. Whatever it takes, Lord; whatever it takes! I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear you say, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!'”
John 5:3-4, “Within these lay a multitude of the sick-blind, lame, and paralyzed-waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had.”
I have read this story many times and had never really considered why so many people that were sick, lame, blind, and paralyzed where there. They were there because they were looking for healing. The pool had been a place of healing and they wanted to be there the next time it was stirred up so they could be healed. What else would you expect if you have a place of healing? Shouldn’t it be open to those who need it most? Many times I have been to a doctor’s office and every time it was a place where sick people were welcomed. Why? What else would you expect from a person who has been trained in helping sick people get well? It seems obvious to me that if you have help for the hurting then the hurting should be allowed to come and get the help.
Unfortunately, the church today, which is to reflect the nature of the Great Physician, isn’t accepting patients anymore. To be accepted in most church now you need to look healthy and act healthy. The problem with most churches is they don’t want people with problems and therefore they miss out on the power of Christ to bring healing to these people. Not only that, but when a church decides to only reach out to the rich and healthy instead of the hurting and sick, they have rejected the mission of Christ. Christ came for the sick and brought healing. He came for the hurting and brought life. He came for the sinful and brought forgiveness. So shouldn’t the church door be open and ready to receive the hurting and sick? So let’s follow Christ and be a place of healing.