Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Usually summer is a slower time in church work, but a lot of good things have been happening in home mission churches this summer.

Bill Reynolds and the church in Rhode Island had their new building dedication this past Sunday.  The place was packed with 200 people!  4 people were saved

The Marana, Arizona church with Jeff Goodman and Josh Bennett celebrated their first anniversary this past Sunday with 101 people present!

Donnie Burke and Mark McCraney stepped out into a cold Colorado river recently to baptize 10 people there!

Tim Osborn and the folks in Oakland, Tennessee had to tear down a wall in their rental building to make more room.  Broke the record last Sunday with 79!  80 will be soon, then 90, then 100!

Here’s an example of sowing the seed and harvesting later from Jeff Crabtree in New Brunswick:
Several years ago for about ten years our church bought a daily 30-second radio spot and I gave a one or two sentence devotional "thought for the day." An older gentlemen used to listen to those. One of our men invited him to our church several months ago.  He and his wife now come regularly and bring their great grandkids with them.  This couples' daughter and son-in-law started attending about the same time and her daughter and husband (parents of the children) came once.  Yesterday the son-in-law prayed to receive Jesus as Saviour and all four generations with their spouses were in service this morning.
The church there will have their self-supporting service in November.

Jim Kilgore in California just led a man to the Lord that he had been talking to for 2 ½ years.

Allen Hall in Pennsylvania baptized 5 people last Sunday and 4 more people want to be baptized soon!

Jose Correa and the church in Puerto Rico averaged 100 in July!

Other good averages for July:

Jeff Cates in Texas96!

Stephen Gray in Illinois105!

David Sexton and Marc Neppl in Virginia – 107!

Scott Warren is leading the church in Salt Lake City into a merger with another local church.  This means a bigger building, more people, and more opportunity!

Two more church planters were approved at the convention:
Edgar Chavez going to a suburb of Los Angeles, California
Heath Ferguson going to a suburb of Houston, Texas

God is still working and good things are still happening!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I heard Larry Osborne (author of Sticky Church ) say in a seminar:

"In a large church, the pastor's performance (preaching, leadership) is most important.
In a small church, the biggest question is, DOES THE PASTOR LOVE ME?"

Whether you agree or not, I think we realize that it is important for people to know their pastor loves them.  It may not even be a conscious thought.  But I have found that people will put up with a lot if they feel the pastor loves them and they love the pastor.

One of the keys to church growth is - take care of the people you already have.
This does two things:
1. It helps close the back door (people leaving the church).
2. People want to invite their friends to church (without that worthless exercise by the pastor every week - "Invite someone to church this week."

Consider these two verses:

"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."  Acts 4:32

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."  Galatians 6:10

In the New Testament church, people were a part of a family where they were cared for.
In the 21st century church, people want to be part of a family where they are cared for.

In a new church or a small church, we can't have all the programs of a large church...
But we can love people!

7 ideas on how to show church people they are loved:

1. Talk good about your people.  When you say bad things about the church people behind their backs, it is hard to really love them.  When you don't really love them - they sense your true feelings.

2. Show appreciation.  How about making a habit of writing at least one thank you letter every week?  And I do mean real mail.

3. Be there for people in the special times of their lives - graduation, new baby, wedding, sickness, death of loved one.

4. Talk to everyone in your church - every Sunday.  Once you get over a few hundred this becomes impossible.  But in a church of 100, everyone should get a smile and warm welcome from the pastor.

5. Know their names and use them.  Know the names of their children.  Know the name of their dog.

6. Help people to get connected to other people in the church.  This can happen through church dinners, fun events, Sunday School, small groups, having people over for dessert, etc.

7. Listen.

To get a church bigger, I think we have to look small -
How well do we care for one person?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I've heard some church planters or pastors talk about how they only wanted to reach out to unsaved people. I get that. Our goal isn't to just empty out other churches to fill ours.  Here are some thoughts I have on this:

1. Having some more Christians can help you reach out to the unsaved.  They can invite, work with children, pray, teach, help pay bills, etc.  When you are small, just having more warm bodies helps.

2. Surely God loves believers as much as He does unbelievers.

3. There are a whole lot of people in America who say they are Christians and aren't going to church.  They need the truth and love of our churches.

4. Maybe you will reach some people who attend churches that don't teach the Bible.  I'm all for getting them.

5. Some people who move from church to church can be critical people and others want to spread their own doctrine. Know what you believe and stand firm.  Your church isn't for everyone.  (In Delaware, we had a lot of Christians that came to our church for one reason or another and became a huge blessing to the church and became like our family.  But we also averaged 25 baptisms a year.)

6. I certainly don't want us to forget our goal of preaching the gospel to everyone.

I like this quote from Sticky Church by Larry Osborne.  (recommended book)
"One pastor recently told me that he didn't want any Christians come to his new church plant.  He only wanted non-Christians searching for God, and new Christians who'd recently come to Christ.  
On one hand, I understand where he's coming from.  He's tired of dealing with small-minded traditionalists who want to maintain a historical preservation society more than fulfill the mission. 
But on the other hand, I fear for the unintended consequences of his outlook.  If he's only going to reach out to non-Christians and nurture new Christians, what's he going to do when those new Christians become plain ol' Christians, the kind he hates to be around?
His patience and compassion flow easily toward people caught in the addictive clutches of sin. He thinks the rough language and butchered theology of a new Christian is cool, sort of like the things little kids say and do.  But two or three years later his patience runs thin and the compassion runs dry when he realizes that these cute new Christians are still dealing with the same old issues.
At that point he leaves the "slow growers" to fend for themselves.  Many quietly make their way out the back door, though he never seems to notice in the excitement of all the new folks coming through the front door.
There's another large group of churches at the opposite end of the spectrum.  These are the ingrown and dying churches that don't seem to care if anyone ever comes through the front door - or goes to hell, for that matter."