5 Core Values

The next two days we are participating in a staff retreat here at the Kentucky Baptist Convention. During our extended time together we are going to review and discuss the five core values that we hold dear as a staff–those things that are at the core of our organization that affects all of our decisions and interactions. I’m thankful and humbled to be a part of an organization that stresses these important areas because they are Biblical, Christ-honoring, and practical.

5 Core Values

1.  Trustworthy.  Can be relied upon as a resource to ease ministry pain, not create more.

 “Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.”  Proverbs 25:19

2.  Encouraging.  Finds joy in ministry, and in helping others find joy in theirs.

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”  Romans 14:13

3.  Accountable.  Strives to make a Kingdom difference; understands that ministry is not simply about activity, but on proclaiming and expanding the Kingdom of God.

 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  Colossians 3:23

4.  Mature.  Actively responsible for his/her own spiritual formation.

“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:7-8

5.  Sensitive.  Listens humbly to diverse voices, seeking understanding and reconciliation.

“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (HCSB)

 

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The Chick-fil-A Church

imagesThe average church could learn a lot from Chick-fil-A. About once a week I drop by our local Chick-fil-A for lunch. I always have a wonderful experience. Good food, great service, fair prices! Their mission statement is simple, “Be America’s Best Quick-Service Restaurant!” The founder, Truett Cathy, may well have fulfilled that statement.

THINGS THAT CHICK-FIL-A DOES RIGHT:

  • Clean and neat. The restaurant is well landscaped, clean, and bright. The atmosphere makes me comfortable and relaxed from the beginning.
  • Friendly, prompt service. The employees who take my order make eye contact, smile, welcome me, and process my order perfectly.
  • Generous. Condiments are available at the condiment station and I’m trusted to get the amount I need. A whole basket of delicious mints are available for the taking. (Note: I only take one.)
  • Great product. Of course, the main reason I go to the restaurant is to eat. Their food is always hot, tasty, neatly packaged, and delivered with a smile.
  • Customer-oriented. Let me tell you what happened one day when I was there. After my meal, I walked to the counter to get a refill of their delicious sweet tea. At that particular moment everyone was busy, but a gentleman who was wiping off a table saw me, stopped what he was doing, quickly came up and said, “Sir, could I get you a refill.” I really don’t think it was his job to refill my tea, but he left what he was doing to serve a customer. After I thanked him, he said, “It’s my pleasure sir.” I’m sorry, but that was just flat impressive!

I’m not going to bother trying to make an application to the church because I think the application is obvious. I repeat, the average church could learn a lot from Chick-fil-A.

For more help with assimilation, see The 3-Minute Rule.

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The 3-Minute Rule

stopwatchAny church can immediately become more effective by practicing a simple little rule each time they gather for worship.  I call this rule the 3-Minute Rule. It’s simple, and it ONLY takes three minutes.

Here’s how the 3-Minute Rule works. Immediately after the morning worship service ends, all the regular attenders spend the first 3 minutes talking with guests, newcomers, or simply people they do not know, before they begin talking with their friends. If possible, they introduce those they meet during the 3-Minute time to their friends with the hope of including them in the group. This intentional approach would greatly improve “first impressions” of the church and assist with the assimilation of newcomers. We should always keep in mind that . . . .

We are a culture craving relationship. In the midst of our crowded existence, many of us are living lonely lives. We live and work in a sea of humanity, but we end up missing out on the benefits of regular, meaningful relationships.  (Andy Stanley)

I think we should practice a similar rule before the service as well. I call it the 2-Person Rule. Strive to meet at least two new people before the service begins. Imagine how many people you would meet after a few weeks. Remember . . . .

People are not merely looking for a friendly church; they are looking to make friends at church.  (Steve Rice)

It’s true that worship can be a time of personal reflection and adoration for the Lord, but it can also be a place of service. Make an effort this Sunday to meet at least two new people before the service and then take the first three minutes after the service to venture outside your normal conversation circle.  You’ll be blessed and you be a blessing to others as well!

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Church Revitalization Radio Interview

Click on the link below to hear my blog radio interview with Chuck McAlister and Tim Stafford from Promise of Hope Ministries.  On this program, we discussed the important topic of church revitalization.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/promiseofhope/2012/11/05/promise-of-hope-radio

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Plow Horses & Dogs?

I agree with Dr. Gary L. McIntosh, that every church and every church leader needs to refocus from time to time! Every church needs to ask, “What sets us apart from other churches? What can our church offer to the community that is uniquely us?”

The truth is, that may be easier said than done. How can a church refocus? How can a church determine which ministries are unique to them? McIntosh says that it is helpful to categorize all the ministries of your church into one of four areas.

4 Ministry Categories

STARS: Stars refers to the most fruitful ministries–that is, the ministries that are responsible for bringing in the most new people or reaching the most people for Christ.

PUZZLES: This category includes the ministries that appear to be good but are not producing the results you think they should.

PLOW HORSES: The most popular ministries that do not result in many new people coming to Christ or to your church but which you must keep go in this category.

DOGS: The ministries that are draining your church of resources and produce almost no results go here. The church must deal with these ministries by retooling them, reinventing them, or by replacing them with stars.

McIntosh says that some churches find that they have zero stars. If that is the case, the church should focus on starting one new ministry each year for the next 5 years because new ministries tend to reach new people. Programs and ministries become less effective with age. New ministries are the most fruitful.

For more information about Church Revitalization, see the following posts:

Please contact the Church Consulting & Revitalization Team at the Kentucky Baptist Convention if we can help your church in any way.

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The KEY to Revitalization

I am currently posting highlights from Dr. Gary L. McIntosh’s recently published book aimed at Church Revitalization called There’s Hope for Your Church.  In the last post, we looked at 3 Reasons There Is Hope for Your Church. In this post, we’re going to examine the irreplaceable role that pastoral leadership plays when it comes to church revitalization. I agree with Dr. McIntosh when he says….

“In order for a church to be revitalized, the pastor is the key!”

In chapter two, McIntosh discusses consultant Ken Priddy’s belief that two types of pastors exist: a revitalization pastor and a revitalization leader. A revitalization pastor sees the church as his client while the revitalization leader sees God as his client. A revitalization pastor views himself as an employee of the church while a revitalization leader sees himself as being called by God to lead the church where God wants it to go. Revitalization leaders expect to encounter resistance and are willing to lead without affirmation and often with pain.

“For churches to transition into a new era of ministry, courageous, godly leadership is paramount.”  Terry Walling

One of the reasons that most pastors are not successful in bringing about revitalization is that they simply don’t stay long enough. The average tenure of a senior or solo pastor in the United States in 3.8 years. McIntosh says that it takes 5-7 years to revitalize a church in the city and 10-12 years to revitalize a rural church. The bottom line is that revitalization leaders stay!

McIntosh warns that it is possible for a pastor to stay too long. In his experience, if the church has not experienced revitalization within 10-12 years of the pastor’s tenure, it is not going to happen. Although there are exceptions, the average pastor’s ministry tends to lose momentum after 10 years. After 10 years, the original vision the pastor had for the church has most likely been accomplished, and then the church flounders, searching for a new direction. Some pastors are able to re-envision their life and ministry for another 10 years in the same church, but some cannot and find it best to move to another ministry.

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There’s Hope for Your Church

Gary L. McIntosh recently published a helpful book aimed at Church Revitalization called There’s Hope for Your Church. In his usual style, Dr. McIntosh provides practical, realistic coaching advice for pastors who are embracing the difficult task of helping one of the 75% of American churches that are plateaued or declining. In the next few posts, I’m going to share some of the key teachings from the Dr. McIntosh’s book.

Chapter 1 – See the Potential

If you are currently serving as a pastor in one of the 75% of churches that is on a long-term plateau or declining, THERE IS HOPE! There is hope for renewal, hope for growth, hope for new life! Dr. McIntosh says that there are at least three key reasons for such hope.

3 Reasons There is Hope for Your Church

1.  God wants your church to grow. The first mention of the church in the Bible contains God’s promise that his church will grow: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Today there are approximately two billion Christians in the world. Compared to the small band of believers that met together in the upper room in Acts 1, the world-wide church makes it clear that Christ’s church has grown. God has kept his promise. God wants your church to be fruitful and multiply as well. Acts 12:24 reports that “the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.” God wants his church to grow and multiply across the world as new believers accept the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

2.  God revitalizes & restores churches. The New Testament records several beautiful pictures of restoration, such as the return of the prodigal son in Luke 15 and the call to the church in Revelation 2 & 3. The implication in Revelation is that God will restore churches that hear and repent.

3.  God is revitalizing churches right now. Dr. McIntosh points out that for the last three decades he has observed churches throughout the United States and Canada being renewed and revitalized. As a Kentucky Baptist pastor for over 23 years, I have been privileged to lead three churches to varying levels of revitalization. I have also been amazed to observe other pastors do so as well.

In a recent Western Recorder article, I read the amazing revitalization story of the Hillvue Heights Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky where Dr. Steve Ayers serves as Senior Pastor. When he came to the church, only a handful of people remained. Under his 21 years of leadership, the church has baptized over 7,000 new believers and grown to an average weekly attendance of 4,000. Although Hillvue’s story is not typical, it is a vivid testimony that THERE IS HOPE FOR YOUR CHURCH!

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