Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Year's Plan for Affirming Your Bible Study Leaders

We all know that January is a time for “New Year’s Resolutions!” However, many of us have a history of just making a list, but, never developing a plan for implementation. So, my challenge to KidMin leaders this year is to consider adopting this plan (you may need to adjust it a little to meet your own needs) for affirming your leaders throughout 2016:
  • JANUARY – Consider writing a “handwritten” note to each of your leaders. Include in each note one observation about that leader’s greatest strength.
  • FEBRUARY – Invite parents to help you prepare a “we love you and appreciate you” table in your kids ministry area on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day. This could be a quick-bite breakfast for your leaders. Encourage your parents to write notes of appreciation to their kids’ leaders.
  • MARCH – Plan a “We love our teachers “MARCH” on a given Sunday morning. Gather children on a Sunday morning…one classroom at a time or several classes combined…and give them “We love our teachers!” signs. Lead them on a fun march through the hallways of the kids area. Be sure to enlist adults to march with you for security reasons.

Monday, January 25, 2016

VBS Without Walls

Using Vacation Bible School to reach your community

By Sara Shelton

“I’ve never been good at inviting people to church. Something about extending that invitation has always been uncomfortable for me.”

This sentiment from Atlanta-area churchgoer Lindsey Neal is not uncommon among believers. A lifelong Christian, Neal struggled with finding a way to share that part of her life with others in her community. All of that changed, however, when she became a mom.

“The first time I dropped my son off at our church’s Vacation Bible School it hit me,” Neal explains. “People are always looking for positive activities for their children, and VBS is just that. It gives me a less intimidating way to talk to people about church and extend the invitation to their families.”

And she’s not the only one.

More and more churchgoers are realizing what a powerful tool for invitation and evangelism Vacation Bible School can be. Jerry Wooley, LifeWay’s VBS ministry specialist, says congregations around the country consistently see a tremendous response to Vacation Bible School.

“Churches have had a lot of success in bringing new families into their congregations through VBS,” Wooley explains. “The program really opens the door to church in a nontraditional way.”

In 2014, churches that used LifeWay VBS material reported more than 2.5 million people enrolled in VBS, with reports of 73,192 new professions of faith. Some 177,721 of the children who attended these VBS events were previously unchurched. However, Wooley also points out that when factoring in adults and older siblings who attend alongside those children, the number rises to an estimated 1 million unchurched individuals reached through VBS.

While Wooley and his team are thrilled with these reports, they are encouraging churches to think outside the box—or, more accurately, outside their walls—when it comes to VBS this year.

“There are still millions of kids out there who aren’t going to respond to a traditional on-campus Bible school,” Wooley explains. “If we’re going to reach the unchurched, we have to go where they are.”

Read more...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Eight Reasons Your Church Should Have an Email Newsletter

By Jonathan Howe
In addition to a weekly bulletin, churches have often used weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters to better communicate with guests and members. As costs to produce newsletters have increased and budget funds designated for them have decreased, they have all but vanished from churches. Instead of replacing them with digital versions, many churches abandoned the practice altogether.
In doing so, another problem was created: bulletins and announcement times became overcrowded. The result was not better communication, but too much being communicated and less information being retained.
So instead of relying on a weekly bulletin or a brief 2-minute announcement time in the service, consider using an email newsletter to more effectively communicate with guests and members. Here are eight reasons your church should have an email newsletter.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Be a better leader

By Diana Davis
You may have made them for your family or for yourself. Be on time. Lose weight. Read the Bible daily. Keep your desk organized.
But if you're a leader in your church's women's ministry or another church ministry, what resolutions might you make to serve God even better in the year ahead? Here are a few fresh ideas...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Are The Top Evangelistic Churches Doing That Mine Is Not?

By Joel Southerland
Some Background On The Study 
In 2014 we decided to take a snapshot of the top evangelistic churches in the nation and see if we could identify what takes them out of the realm of normative into the realm of highly effective evangelism. I did not just want to study the mega-church (though there is much to learn from them). I wanted to study every size church to put more handles on the practical insights we would glean. After all, a church of 100 in worship can more readily grasp insight from a church running 300 than they will from a church running 3,000.
We used two metrics and three size categories to find the top 20 evangelistic churches in every state. For evangelism metrics, we consider raw baptism numbers and baptisms per person in worship. By doing that, we made sure the church running 50 in worship and baptizing 10 would make the list. We looked at three different size categories (see paragraph two). Then we sent a survey to approximately 1,100 churches in the U.S. Every state had approximately 20 surveys sent to their top evangelistic churches from 2013. We also included the fastest growing churches and the top evangelistic churches from the past five years.
Responses and Evergreen Principles 
About 500 churches responded to the survey–enough to give a good snapshot. What we were looking for were evergreen principles. An evergreen principle is a practical principle that is true regardless of technology, time, culture or context. It differs slightly from a best practice in that a best practice has some context associated with it.
The results are, so far, a mixture of evergreen principles and best practices. As we continue to process data over time, the hope is to refine the findings. The amount of data is enormous but after spending a year with the data I can confidently describe a top evangelistic church.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Be the first to see what's new with Bible Studies for Life coming this Fall!

Inspired By You!
Over the last three years, we have been blessed and encouraged to hear stories from churches all across the country about their experiences with Bible Studies for Life. We've listened to these stories, asked questions, and continually worked to provide fresh and focused studies to help Kids, Students, and Adults see how the Bible meets their everyday lives.
As this three‑year study cycle comes to a close, Bible Studies for Life will begin an all‑new, three‑year study plan for Kids, Students, and Adults this fall. Based on one of the largest‑ever research studies into how disciples are made, some key updates include:
  • New, more relatable study topics for Adults
  • Improved Student Leader Guide with new Culture Connections section
  • Clean and compelling design that engages students
  • New illustrations and artwork for Kids
  • New Kids study plan based on foundational Bible stories that covers the entire Bible each year
Don't worry—everything you love about Bible Studies for Life is still here. We're just using the new study cycle to ensure this remains the best possible discipleship tool for every age group in your church. We invite you to be the first to view the new study plan and download a free session for Kids, Students, and Adults. Just click the button below to get started.
Show Me What's New

Monday, January 18, 2016

The digital front door to your church


Ready to get your church’s digital presence revamped for the new year?
twenty:28 by LifeWay is offering a special, bundled deal for one month onlywhich includes:
·      Custom mobile app with a reduced, $50 set-up fee.
·      Church management software (free 30-day demo)
·      Church website (free 30-day demo)
·      $0 per month online giving
Simply enter the promo code “Ministry Grid” in this form before Feb. 12 to receive this offer!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Former Pastors Report Lack of Support Led to Abandoning Pastorate

By Lisa Cannon Green
No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what’s expected.
Hundreds of former senior pastors say these were the crucial elements missing from the final churches they led before quitting the pastorate.
A recent study by LifeWay Research points to ways churches can encourage pastors to stay in the ministry, said Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Nashville-based research organization.
“Almost half of those who left the pastorate said their church wasn’t doing any of the kinds of things that would help,” Stetzer said. “Having clear documents, offering a sabbatical rest, and having people help with weighty counseling cases are key things experts tell us ought to be in place.”
LifeWay Research surveyed 734 former senior pastors who left the pastorate before retirement age in four Protestant denominations.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

10 Markers of Strong Discipleship Programs

By Chuck Lawless

If you’ve read this website for long, you know my concern about poor discipleship in most churches. I want churches to evaluate whether they are disciplemaking churches, and I want us to avoid the wrong responses to this problem. On the other hand, I’ve seen some churches that are, in fact, doing discipleship well. Here are some of the characteristics of those churches.

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Not Too Late to Sign Up For The Men's Simulcast on February 5-6!

Let Johnny Hunt Minister To The Men In Your Community

The Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference is an ongoing ministry of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock. Over the past 31 years, Pastor Hunt has seen thousands of men ministered to during this unique event each year. Bring this premium men’s conference to your church or community and watch Pastor Johnny Hunt along with special guest, Dr. Charles Lowery, with thousands of other men across the country. Together, they will bring a powerful message from the Word of God. The Simulcast will include all four of the keynote sessions, worship, plus one of the breakouts.
Can’t participate on February 5-6, 2016? No problem! Simulcast hosts have access to the event for up to 30 days AFTER the live event!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Top 10 Posts of 2015 at ThomRainer.com – Part Two

This year, 2015, was another great year at ThomRainer.com. Thanks to all of you who have read, commented on, and shared the posts and podcasts here at the site. We have some great plans for 2016, and I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring, but today we take a look back at the biggest posts of the year. Click here to see posts #6 through #10.


Top 10 Posts of the Year: #1 through #5


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Top 10 Posts of 2015 at ThomRainer.com – Part One

This year, 2015, was another great year at ThomRainer.com. Thanks to all of you who have read, commented on, and shared the posts and podcasts here at the site. This week, I’ll be sharing some of the biggest posts and podcasts of the year. We have some great plans for 2016, and I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring.


Top 10 Posts of the Year: #6 through #10


Monday, January 4, 2016

God Ranks High in New Year’s Resolutions

By Lisa Cannon Green

When Americans make New Year's resolutions, a better relationship with God ranks almost as high as better health, according to a study by LifeWay Research.
And for many groups, faith actually outranks health. Older Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Christians are all more likely to say they've made resolutions about God than about health.
Overall, 57 percent of Americans report making health-related New Year's resolutions in the past while 52 percent say they've addressed their relationships with God. Those were the top two responses in a LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 Americans.

Monday, December 28, 2015

12 Megachurch Trends to Watch

Having spent 20 years serving in mega churches I continue to follow trends of such churches with much interest. Check out these recent findings about mega churches and consider the implications for churches of all sizes...

12 Megachurch Trends to Watch – Rainer on Leadership #185

Podcast Episode #185

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes • RSS • Stitcher • TuneIn Radio

On today’s episode, we discuss some new research from Leadership Network on the state of megachurches in North America. This research summary, Recent Shifts in America’s Largest Protestant Churches: Megachurches 2015 Report, is available to download at the Leadership Network website.
Some highlights from today’s episode include:
  • Just like churches of any size, there are good megachurches and there are bad megachurches.
  • I do not recommend a church counts online service viewers in its worship attendance total.
  • If a church is not emphasizing small groups, it is a weak church.
  • The healthiest churches (regardless of size) have pastors who are being mentored or coached.
  • Sanctuary sizes are getting smaller as churches have more services instead of building larger buildings.
  • A church will likely see a higher growth rate with multisite than with one site.
The 12 findings about American megachurches we cover today are:
  1. 79% of megachurches say yes, 41% of comparison churches say yes to the question: Do you strongly agree that your congregation has a clear mission and purpose?
  2. 62% of megachurches are multisite, up from 46% five years previously.
  3. The average number of locations for multisite megachurches is 3.5 up from 2.5 five years previously.
  4. Megachurches average five services per weekend.
  5. 45% of megachurches have worship services that considerably vary in style between services.
  6. 81% of megachurches say that global missions are a major emphasis or specialty of the church.
  7. 30% of megachurches host an online campus.
  8. 79% of megachurches say small groups are central to their strategy of Christian nurture and spiritual formation.
  9. 74% of megachurches have an internship or mentoring program.
  10. 57% of megachurches serve communion always or often as a part of worship, up from 51% five years ago.
  11. The median seating capacity of a megachurch main sanctuary is 1,200, down from 1,500 five years ago.
  12. Growth rate over the past five years of younger megachurches (91%) is much higher than that of older megachurches (39%).

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 prepared LifeWay for future

By Marty King

For LifeWay Christian Resources, 2015 was a year of innovative ministry products and services for churches and their members, punctuated by ongoing developments in the sale of its 15-acre campus in downtown Nashville.
In November, LifeWay completed the sale of the property where it has been located for more than 100 years and announced it was close to deciding on a new piece of property, hopefully in downtown Nashville.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nine Surprises in Worship Services That Made Guests Return

Here is a great article with some last minute reminders in welcoming guests during your Christmas services...

Nine Surprises in Worship Services That Made Guests Return

By Thom S. Rainer

In a recent Twitter survey, I asked respondents to share with me a singular event that impressed them in a church worship service. In fact, most of the respondents said they were “delighted” or “surprised,” and that the one event made them desire to return to the church.
I am appreciative for all the responses. A pattern developed around nine factors. Here are some representative quotes around each of the issues:
  1. “Someone had an umbrella waiting for me in inclement weather.” This comment was made for both snowy and rainy weather. Some of the respondents indicated that someone actually stayed next to them so they would not slip or fall.
  2. “A member actually invited me to lunch.” I admit I was surprised by the frequency of this response. This invitation had a huge impact on guests.
  3. “The kids area had leaders who were friendly and helpful.” This issue was obviously highly important to young families. I realize more than ever you keep or lose young families at the point you check the kids in or take them to a class.
  4. “There was a time of meaningful prayer.” I continue to be gratefully amazed at how important prayer is to guests. They love the times of quiet when people are asked to pray silently. They also love guided prayers.
  5. “Someone walked us where we were supposed to go.” Every place in a church facility is unknown to a first time guest. They love greeters staying with them and taking the fear of the unknown away.
  6. “There was genuine friendliness outside of the stand and greet time.” I have come to the conclusion that church members tend to like the stand and greet time more than guests do. In fact, most guests see the stand and greet time as artificial, especially if members are not friendly outside that time.
  7. “People followed up with my prayer requests the next day.” Many churches have places on guest cards for prayer requests. If leaders in the church emphasize that people will pray for the guests, many are likely to complete the card. The guests are really impressed if they hear from someone the next day.
  8. “I loved having the opportunity to speak with the pastor.” In some churches, this conversation took place in a reception room after the service. In other churches, the pastor called or wrote a personal email that was obviously not a form email. Guests really love hearing from the pastor.
  9. “I received a gift at the end of the service.” Many guests love receiving a gift for their visit. Their favorite gifts are freshly baked cookies or freshly baked bread. But any gift is appreciated.
Keep in mind, those who responded to our survey noted only one of these nine surprises that caused them to return. They considered any of these efforts above and beyond what they expected.
What do you think of these nine “delights and surprises”? Do you have experiences you can add to the list? Let me hear from you.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Be a joy whisperer

I remembered this great article while I was in the Post Office line today. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!
Pat

FIRST-PERSON: Be a joy whisperer

by Diana Davis, posted Wednesday, December 16, 2015
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- Be brutally honest. Which of these two phrases do you exclaim most often this time of year? "Merry Christmas!" or "I'm so busy!" When a Christian spends the Christmas season in a stress mode, that doesn't honor God.
Here are six tips to help you have joy -- inside and out -- during the busy Christmas holidays.
1) Begin well. Personally start each morning of the holiday season by reading the Bible and asking God to give peace and wisdom. Those minutes will invigorate and focus your day.
2) Snatch snippets of time for peaceful relaxing. A new 1000-piece puzzle sits on our coffee table each December, with a goal of finishing it by Christmas as family members or friends sit and chat, working on the puzzle. Find ways to encourage laid-back conversation and togetherness for your family or friends to do together. Sit around a fire. Decorate Christmas cookies. Sip hot cocoa. Watch a Christmas movie. Sing. Cram into the car and drive around town to see Christmas lights.
3) See people in your pathway. Be extra kind to strangers. Smile. Show sincere interest. Be patient. Don't critique non-Christians who don't celebrate a Savior they don't even know yet. Instead, let them see Jesus in you, spreading His joy everywhere you go.
4) Refocus. Remember that Christmas is about celebrating Christ. Yes, we treasure traditions, decorations, parties, community events, benevolence projects, baking, eating, gifting and so much more. We're especially busy this month! But when our key reason for celebration is Christ, the stress to please people disappears. There's joy. One idea: place a touchable nativity on child level for kids' and grandkids' hands-on play.
5) Joy doesn't whine. Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without grumbling or complaining...." If we constantly lament, "I'm so busy" or "I'm so broke," it can come across as, "God isn't in control." A God-follower must never be a complainer. God gives His children joy on good days and difficult days. Treasure all the moments of life.
6) Give joyfully to someone who can't give back. Generously share your time with someone who's lonely, poor, grieving or ill. Give an extravagant missions offering. Be kind to a child. Anonymously bless someone in Jesus' name. Instead of a "wish list," help your children discover the joy of giving, making homemade gifts or doing Christian ministry projects.
This Christmas season, will you choose to stress out and complain? Or will you joyfully celebrate Christ. Be the "Joy Whisperer," spreading God's joy wherever you go. Joy is not loud or forced. It comes directly from God. Your Christian joy oozes over those around you, even at Christmas. Especially at Christmas!
Diana Davis relays tips "to help you have joy - inside and out - during the Christmas holidays." Among them: "Give joyfully to someone who can't give back." A Christian's joy, she writes, "oozes over... [Expand Bio]

Friday, December 18, 2015

Top 5 Bible Studies to Begin the New Year

As you prepare for a new year and begin to hear all the commercials for gyms and workout facilities, remember to keep your spiritual life in shape as well. Your body and everything else will eventually decay, but what you do with your soul is eternal. To help you grow in spirit and truth, here are our Top 5 Bible Studies to begin the new year. Review these life-transforming resources, and select one to help spiritually form your life for 2016. Plan now to grow your faith once the new year begins.
By the way, if you don’t have the Bible Study Insider app, download it now and pass along to every group leader. This app provides great tools for leading groups and will help group leaders get the new year off to a great start.

Check these Top 5 Bible Studies...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

No place like church for the holidays

By Carol Pipes

Christmas is a great time to invite someone to church, according to a new study.
In a poll of 1,000 Americans, LifeWay Research found six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime.
But among those who don't attend church at Christmastime, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.
"Regular churchgoers may assume the rest of America has already made up their mind not to attend church," said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. "In reality, many would welcome going to a Christmas service with someone they know."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

16 Trends in American Churches in 2016: Trends 9 to 16

By Thom S. Rainer

In my previous post, I shared trends 1 to 8. Today, I conclude with trends 9 to 16. Here is the introduction I wrote to the earlier post.
I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record with my predictions, but my overall record is pretty good.
My methodology is simple. I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends.
This year I take this approach with a higher level of confidence than previous years. I have seen most of the following issues grow month by month in 2015, so I don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to project them as major trends in 2016.
  1. The rise of the mini-denomination church. This trend is an acceleration of the increased number of multi-site churches. As churches grow with four or more sites, they will take on some of the characteristics of a denomination.
  2. Increased pastoral tenure. For a number of reasons, the tenure of a pastor at a given church will increase. More pastors will make it to the five-year mark where the most fruitful years of ministry typically begin.
  3. Rise of alternative ministry placement organizations. Old and existing systems of how churches find prospective pastors and staff are falling apart. They are being replaced with effective and independent ministry search organizations.
  4. Increase in the number of Millennials who are Christians. I am projecting the number to increase from 15 percent of the generation to 18 percent of the generation. That is an increase of 2.3 million Millennials who will become believers in 2016.
  5. Accelerated decline of 100,000 American congregations. Historically, American congregations have been tenacious and survived beyond most expectations. That reality is no longer true. Ineffective churches will decline rapidly as churchgoers are unwilling to be a part of congregations that are not making a difference.
  6. Churches no longer viewed favorably by many governmental units. As a consequence, it will become increasingly difficult for churches to expand their physical facilities or to be able to hold functions in the community.
  7. More bivocational pastors and staff. This trend is increasingly becoming the result of choices by pastors and staff, rather than financial limitations of congregations.
  8. Dramatic changes in senior adult ministries. The baby boomers will not participate in the way most churches do senior adult ministry. They will force change, particularly from the entertainment model to an activist model.
In many ways, I see 2016 as a pivotal year for thousands of congregations. Unfortunately, many church leaders and church members will elect not to change anything. Those congregations will be among the 100,000 rapidly declining churches.
But for other churches, new opportunities abound. For decades, churches could choose a path of modest to no change and do okay. That is not the case today. For those congregations that are eager and willing to face the culture in God’s power and strength, they will likely see incredible opportunities for ministry and growth.
It is becoming that simple.
Change or die.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

16 Trends in American Churches in 2016: Trends 1 to 8

By Thom S. Rainer

I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record with my predictions, but my overall record is pretty good.
My methodology is simple: I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends.
This year I take this approach with a higher level of confidence than previous years. I have seen most of the following issues grow month by month in 2015, so I don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to project them as major trends in 2016.
Here are the first eight trends. I will conclude with the second group of eight trends in my next post.
  1. Church security as the fastest growing ministry. Shootings in churches and sex abuse of children mandate this unfortunate trend. No church can afford to be without serious security measures, policies, and equipment. It will evolve into a major church ministry.
  2. Decrease in worship center size and capacity. The large worship gathering is not as popular as it has been. Through multiple services and multiple sites, churches will follow this preference with smaller capacity worship centers.
  3. Increase in successfully revitalized churches. More church leaders sense a call to lead revitalized churches. Because of this desire and intentionality, we will see more success stories of churches that have experienced significant revitalization.
  4. Rapid growth of coaching ministries for pastors and church staff. The current trend is anecdotal, but it will soon be verified and obvious. Pastors and staff who have the humility to be led, and the willingness to invest resources in coaching are becoming the most effective church leaders.
  5. Increase in the numbers of churches in gentrified communities.Thousands of older urban communities are becoming revitalized. Churches are following the increased numbers of residents to these communities.
  6. Increased emphasis on practical ministry training. Church leaders in America have seen a much needed two-decade renewal of training in classical disciplines and doctrine. That need remains, but more leaders are crying for training in leadership, relational skills, and other practical ministries.
  7. Increasing emphasis on groups in churches. Church leaders are getting it. When church members are a part of some type of group, such as a small group or Sunday school class, they attend more faithfully, evangelize more frequently, and give more abundantly.
  8. Fewer segregated churches. For most of American history, 11:00 am on Sunday was the most segregated hour of the week. That is changing. A church that is not racially and ethnically diverse will soon become the exception instead of the norm.

Monday, December 14, 2015

LifeWay OneSource Program saves churches money!

With a goal of improved stewardship LifeWay has developed relationships with companies that offer you potential savings on a number of products and services. And best of all, participation in the OneSource program is FREE to your church.
These endorsed provider relationships leverage the collective buying power of SBC entities and free up operational dollars to further fund ministry efforts. This combined purchasing power enables smaller churches to receive the same discounts as larger churches.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Train your The Gospel Project Kids leaders FREE!

The Gospel Project For Kids
Did you know you have access to session-by-session training for your curriculum?
With free videos from Ministry Grid, you can guide leaders into a better understanding of the lessons before they meet with kids. The better they train, the better they'll lead. Check out the training videos now!
START TRAINING!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eight Characteristics of Evangelistic Church Growth Leaders

This week I’ve been preparing some lectures for my upcoming seminars in the DMin in Church Revitalization and Great Commission Leadership at Southeastern Seminary. For years, I’ve kept a running list of characteristics of pastors who lead effective evangelistic churches (that is, churches that are reaching non-believers rather than simply reaching other church members). Below are several of those characteristics.
  1. They believe the Bible is the Word of God. Consequently, they accept the truth that people who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus are without hope. The Word drives them to want to reach people.
  2. They take the lead in personal evangelism. They model evangelism, but not because they happen to be the pastor; they do it because Jesus is in their heart and evangelism is in their blood. These leaders would evangelize even if they weren’t pastors.
  3. They know the church’s numbers. They’re not idolatrous of those numbers, but they’re certainly aware of them. “A number represents a person” is much more than an adage to them; it’s a reflection of their focus on real people who need Jesus.
  4. They take personally any lack of evangelistic growth. That’s not to suggest, though, that they believe they can somehow create growth. It’s simply that they so long to see lives changed that they want to evaluate why when it doesn’t happen.
  5. They’ve led their churches to get ready for growth. They’re not always fully prepared for what God does, but their churches don’t take lightly their responsibility to disciple new believers God gives them. They have the “nursery” ready for babes in Christ.
  6. They know their community well – and they love that community. They can usually describe the general demographic makeup of their community, not only because they’ve studied the data but also because they’ve walked the streets. They’re glad to live where they live, and they hope to stay there awhile.
  7. They hold their staff accountable for doing evangelism. They may not always require written reports, but they’re intentional about asking for verbal reports during staff meetings. Typically, they’re hesitant to hire anyone who doesn’t have a strong evangelism record.
  8. Increasingly, they are more committed to church planting. Because these pastors want to see people saved, they’ve often joined the forces emphasizing evangelistic church planting today. They aren’t worried that everyone comes to their church, and they’re willing to send out some of their best to start congregations.
From your experience, would you add other characteristics?

Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at www.chucklawless.comChuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New churches show appeal among the unreached

By Lisa Cannon Green
America is launching new Protestant churches faster than it loses old ones, attracting many people who previously didn't attend anywhere, new LifeWay Research studies show.
More than 4,000 new churches opened their doors in 2014, outpacing the 3,700 that closed, according to estimates from the Nashville-based research organization based on input from 34 denominational statisticians.
And on average 42 percent of those worshipping at churches launched since 2008 previously never attended church or hadn't attended in many years, LifeWay Research found in an analysis of 843 such churches from 17 denominations and church planting networks.
The church planting study indicates newly planted churches are more effective than existing ones at drawing people who aren't connected with a church, said Ed Stetzer, LifeWay Research executive director.
"In winning new converts to Christ, church plants are light-years ahead of the average church because of their focus on reaching the unchurched," Stetzer said.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Is your church prepared for the Christmas season?

Two Challenges Your Church Faces

Your church faces two significant challenges this season. One is wonderful and the other is sobering.
With Christmas upon us your church will likely see an influx of guests. But are your volunteers prepared to make them feel welcome? Do they know that their role is crucial to people feeling at home instead of like an outsider? We offer simple video training to help volunteers and staff with these very issues. It will help greeters, parking attendants, and those working the information desk understand the vital role they play and just how to serve so every guest feels perfectly welcome.
The other challenge churches face is far more sobering. Even as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth we see violence, atrocities, and crises happening all round us. Is your church prepared for such an emergency? We want to help you make sure you are. We want your volunteers and security teams to be ready should the unthinkable happen and to be prepared in the case of any emergency, so we are offering video training for them too.
 
 
You can find out more about video training courses we offer for different areas of ministry HERE. You can preview the content for free. These short courses are designed to be used by individuals or in groups, but they are most effective when a leader takes a group through them. 
 
Ministry Grid is Lifeway's training platform for churches and includes more than 4,000 videos of volunteer and leadership training including more expanded and in-depth training for guest services and emergency response. It also includes a suite of powerful tools to allow leaders to manage users, assign training, track progress, and offer assessments. You can get a free 30-day trial by watching a short demo video.