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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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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New Shelbyville First Baptist Website

Website-Screenshot

We have been working closely over the last few months with an awesome design team from 524 Concepts to design and launch our new Shelbyville First Baptist Church website.  The site is now live and you will discover a different look and feel.  Roam around the site, push a few buttons, and let us know what you think.

We will be adding a lot of items to the site over the next few weeks.  For example, we will soon add our Sunday messages that can be heard on a standard media player or through a Podcast.

I want to personally express my sincere appreciation to Sue Gray and others who helped so much to maintain our past site.  As a new pastor, I simply wanted us to have a new look and a new approach to communicating through our website.  Be sure to tell others church members and friends to check out the new website.

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Real Bull’s-eyes

BullseyeA little boy got a real bow and arrow for his 10th birthday and immediately went outside to practice in his yard. A few minutes later his father stepped outside to check how he was doing and was amazed to see a dozen arrows dead in the center of a dozen different bull’s-eyes that were painted on the trees in the backyard.

“That’s astounding, Son! You just got that bow a few minutes ago. How do you manage to hit a bullseye every time?” “Easy, Dad. First I shoot the arrow. Then wherever it lands, I paint circles around it!”

That’s a cute story, but a deeper lesson is easy to find. I have found that many live theirs lives exactly that way. Instead of aiming for the targets of life set forth by the Bible, they draw circles around their own lifestyles and call it a bullseye. As a preacher, I must strive to preach the truth of the Bible without compromise. When this is done, we know where to aim in life.

As Christians, we should stand for what’s right! We should stand for the truths in the Bible. I believe if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! With that in mind, let’s stand for what we know is right even when others don’t understand. I like the way the Apostle Paul said it in Philippians 3….

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14

Paul did not say, “I’m not pressing toward anything in particular . . . I’m just drawing a bullseye around my lifestyle.” Paul didn’t say, “I press toward what this cultural deems acceptable.” Paul didn’t say, “I press toward what would make me appear to be a really super nice guy!” No! Paul said, “I press toward the mark!”

This mark had been set forth for Paul by the Lord. Our marks are given to us in God’s Word. Take a solid stand on God’s Word, but be nice about it!

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24:Jesus

One of the most popular television shows the last few years has been a show called 24. 24 is a drama presented in real time, with each season depicting a 24-hour period in the life of Jack Bauer who works with the U.S. government as it fights domestic threats.

In my new sermon series, 24:Jesus, we will use John’s account in chapters 13-19 to focus on the 24-hour period in the life of Jesus leading up to His death. In this series that begins March 1, we will deal with the following topics:

  • Greed
  • Arrogance
  • Heaven
  • Vineyards
  • Prayer
  • Death

If you have any suggestions for any of these sermons, I would certainly welcome them.

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