Do you want to raise the evangelistic temperature of your church?
Gary Rohrmayer, in partnership with Chris Walker of www.evangelismcoach.org, conducted three 90 minutes webinars to help you as a christian leader increase the passion for evangelism throughout your church.
In Chuck Colson 's Break Point Newsletter he encourages us to use our conversations about the NCAA men's basketball championship to move into a spiritual conversation. He writes:
It was the basketball game for the ages. On Monday night, the Duke University Blue Devils survived a desperate, last-second shot by the underdog Butler University Bulldogs to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
You may hear folks talking about the game for some time. When you do, you can add to the conversation by revealing an interesting fact: Basketball was invented more than 100 years ago by a Christian theologian as an evangelical outreach tool.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, one of our Centurions, John Murray, recalled the story of the game’s founding. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, became convinced that he stood a better chance of exemplifying the Christian life through sports rather than through preaching. So he took a job as a physical education instructor at the YMCA’s International Training School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith’s vision was “to win men for the Master through the gym.”
In 1891, Naismith set out to invent a new indoor game that students could play during winter. He spent weeks testing various games, including versions of soccer, football, and lacrosse, to no avail. “Finally,” Murray writes, “Naismith decided to draw from all of these sports: with a ball that could be easily handled, play that involved running and passing with no tackling, and a goal at each end of the floor.” In short, he came up with basketball.
From the beginning, Naismith and his athletic director, Luther Gulick, held the players to a high standard. As Gulick wrote in 1897, “The game must be kept clean.” A Christian college cannot tolerate “not merely ungentlemanly treatment of guests, but slugging and that which violates the elementary principles of morals.” He recommended that a coach should “excuse for the rest of the year any player who is not clean in his play.”
Basketball served as an important evangelical tool during the next 50 years, Murray noted. In 1941, Naismith wrote that “whenever I witness games in a church league, I feel that my vision, almost half a century ago, of the time when the Christian people would recognize the true value of athletics, has become a reality.”
In fact, so many athletes give the glory to God after a game that sportswriters sometimes get irritated with them. To which I respond: Which would you prefer—players known for their faith and good sportsmanship, or players who are arrested for assault or drug use?
If you have a young basketball fan in your family, tell him or her the story of how basketball was invented. And pray for Christian players who can use the public’s love of sports the way Naismith envisioned when he invented basketball—as a witnessing tool to “win men for the Master through the gym.” (HT)
Vision casting in a new church is critical!Casting a compelling vision with clarity and conviction will help you with fundraising, launch team recruitment, motivating, focusing your team and even evangelism!
Vision casting from a biblical perspective is capturing God’s heart for your community. It involves communicating it is a way that connects with people hearts and moves them towards enthusiastic commitment.In fundraising you want people to invest generously.In recruiting your launch team you want people to be sold out to this idea, committing their time, talents and their treasures. In keeping your team motivated and focused you must discover ways to drive the vision deeper into the hearts of your people. Finally, if you are going to seriously see the gospel spread into the hearts of people far from God, you will need to creatively communicate God’s desire for their lives and the part they will play in His great redemptive mission.
I found these five tips online at www.castyourvision.net; they are great tips on creating a compelling vision.
Tip #1 -Think through your vision very well before you begin to share it. If you can't think through your vision yourself, others won't be able to think through it with you!
Tip #2 -A vision is like an iceberg...there is much more to it than what is seen on the surface. You've got to discipline yourself to share just enough - and yet not too much! Show your viewers the 'tip' of the iceberg- and when they are ready, they'll begin asking you about all the details! Just when you think it is short enough - look at it again and see if you can shave it down some more. If you've really thought through it - you'll be able to communicate it in a concise way.
Tip #3 - Remember - you might be the only person excited about your vision at this point. It's hard to believe, but it is true. As you communicate your vision, focus on those points which are the MOST exciting to you and leave the rest out...for now! People generally have to 'warm up' to a vision, which takes time. Be careful not to bore viewers with the details.
Tip #4 - Gradually release your vision to select viewers. Find 3-5 of your closest friends or mentors and ask them to preview your Vision Site. Give them permission to provide you with constructive criticism. They may identify some areas that need more (or less) information. Their input will be invaluable to you. Sometimes visionaries 'release' their vision prematurely, which can often be detrimental to the vision in the long run. Be patient, and wait for some quality feedback from your closest advisors - they'll be far more forgiving than others!
Tip #5 - A vision is something you see in your mind's eye - it's something you 'see' which doesn't yet exist. The paradox of this is that when you communicate a vision, other's aren't looking through the same lenses you are. You MUST visually present your vision to others to be most effective. You must transfer thoughts from your mind's eye to pictures in your listener's eyes. As you build your Vision Site, spend time looking for images that really depict what you are trying to say. They'll be worth a thousand words!
Here are five reflective questions to consider in creating a vision statement:
What is the specific vision that God is planting in your heart?
How is the great commission reflected in your vision statement?
How compelling is your vision statement to the churched as well as unchurched?
What does success look like specifically?
Could you describe what your church would look like ten years from now?
Solomon wrote, "Where there is no vision, the people perish...." Proverbs 29:18
“If you want to talk to somebody honestly as a human being, ask him about his kids, find out what his dreams are, just to find out for no other reason because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore, it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being you’re a marketing rep.”Phil (Danny Devito) from “The Big Kahuna”
Here is a good list of ten spiritual conversation killers by Doug Pollock
In the article he developed nine questions for assessing your churches readiness to launch another site.Here they are:
Is my church growing at least 5% a year?
Is my church full at 80% at optimal inviting hours?
Is my church meeting resistance to campus expansion due to zoning rules, environmental concerns or traffic congestion?
Is my community 50% or more unchurched?
Does the church have a good reputation in the community?
Does my church want to release more people into high impact, meaningful ministry?
Does my church want to launch new congregations in my region that are healthy, sustainable and reproductive?
Does my church want to be more accessible to more people in my region?
Does my church want to reach and serve more people in the most efficient and cost effective way?
If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions then your church may be ready to go multi-site.
Jim states that these questions need to be answered in the context of your churches vision. What is God calling us to be, and then do, in our community?
How would you as a leader in your church answer this question? How would your staff, volunteers, and members answer this question. In my opinion multi-site is not a cure all for plateaued churches but a viable option for churches who know what God has called them to, who are experiencing the blessing of growth, who are seeing multiplication happening at all levels of their ministry.
Last month was Part 1 of "Sowing Mentality." Below is a recap of that introduction, followed by Part 2.
Why is it that some missional leaders see growth in their church every year?Why is it that some can crash through growth barrier after growth barrier?There are multiple issues around this subject but one thing rings true in every leader I know who hasn’t settled on a plateau.Each of these leaders possesses what I like to call a “sowing mentality.”They are constantly and liberally sowing seeds to uncover receptive hearts to the gospel. It may often come about through increasing their ability to get into more spiritual conversations, loving their community with incarnational service, engaging people through random acts of kindness or saturating their community with captivating marketing images. These leaders do whatever it takes to discover those who possess that “good soil” Jesus spoke about which will produce a yield a hundred fold.
King Solomon offers some wisdom on the subject of sowing and reaping in the book of Ecclesiastes, "Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well." (Ecclesiastes 11:6)This verse speaks volumes to those who are serious about making connections with those who are disconnected from your people and know nothing about your church.
3. Those with a “sowing mentality” embrace the mysterious work of God, “…for you do not know which will succeed…”
There is a sense of mystery to the work of God. In the parable of the sower, you get the idea from Jesus that the sower was really concerned with scattering the seed and not so much as to where the seed landed. He trusted God for the fruit.His job was to get the seed out and to get it out liberally no matter what it cost.I remember our first Easter Service in our church plant. We had $1050.00 in the bank and spent $1000.00 of it on an Easter Mailer of 5000 post cards.The result of this mailer was we had our highest attendance, cultivated very receptive contacts who became converts along with attracting some significant families who became ministry partners.I remember thinking that that $1000.00 would not have made any difference if I just kept it in the bank.
Sowing seeds in faith and prayerfully trusting God to work miraculously through your efforts is essential.Scattering seed without watering with faith, fertilizing with prayer and cultivating it with hard work will be like casting seed to the wind…fruitless.
4. Those with a “sowing mentality” are not particular about methods, “…whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well…”
In my experience too many church leaders get stuck or inebriated with a particular style of evangelism. Yet leaders with a sowing mentality understand it is never an “either/or” proposition but more of a “both/and” conviction. Equipping your people through a highly relational and incarnational style of evangelism is the first place to start but it does not rule out doing a systematic visitation or follow up process that is built on the connections with your public worship service. Equipping your people to be includers and inviters does not nullify the use of social networking, various types of marketing and branding your vision and image throughout your city. The old revivalist Leonard Ravenhill said, "Any method of evangelism will work if God is in it."
Developing a sowing mentality is a life or death proposition for any church.For a new church, if you are not sowing evangelistic seeds in your community, you will die a quick death filled with indefensible excuses.For an older church, it will be a slow and painful death, built on harmful rationalizations. Both are equally tragic and embarrassing to the Lord of the Harvest.Are you reaping what you have sown?