The Congregational Development Corner

8/1/2016

10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth)

During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Anne Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay attendees 10 action steps for 10 percent growth.

In the next several Advocate issues Congregational Development will share articles to give you and your congregation practical steps for church growth and development.

Simplify

By Rev. Antonie E. Walker

It’s complicated. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to describe some of our churches’ philosophies. No one is really aware of what it is that the church is all about. That shouldn’t be the case. Church growth and development depend on clarity and simplicity.

Take a moment and think of what your church mission (why we exist), vision (who we seek to become), method (how we plan to accomplish these things), and core values (what matters most to us) are. Can you think of them? Do you have them? Is your church culture honestly reflective of them?

If our conference is to grow by 10 percent in the next year, we have to become serious about simplifying our philosophy so that our members will be able to put it into practice. Please understand that in no way am I suggesting that we should water down the gospel. The message will remain strong and central. However, I am suggesting that we remove the clutter from our church culture. Here’s an example of a simplified philosophy from the church I’m privileged to serve, Grace Corner:

Mission: To exemplify, educate, and encourage life in Jesus Christ.

Vision: We seek to become the most caring, covenant community of Christians the world has ever seen.

Method: Through next-level ministry (excellence), major marketing (evangelism), significant community involvement (adopting Southwest High and an apartment complex), and health and wealth campaigns (improving the quality of our lives through dieting, exercise, financial literacy, and disciplined efforts), we will fulfill our mission.
           
Core Values: Teaching, Fellowship, Meals, The Lord’s Supper, and Prayer (Acts 2:42).

This concept has been perfected in the secular world by Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Their menu is shockingly simple. In an incredibly smart approach to fast food, they’ve noticed that they can’t do everything well, so they identified what they do that’s above average and they focus on those things only. That mentality, coupled with the best ingredients, makes for a successful national chain. If Five Guys Burgers and Fries can do that, why can’t the church? We already offer the absolute best product, now it’s a matter of adopting a simple approach to making Him known to the communities we serve.

Jesus taught us that candles belong on stands atop hills, not under bushes. It’s really not that complicated. Shine for Jesus and draw men, women, boys, and girls to Him! That’s what our church cultures should be centered on. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rev. Antonie Walker is Senior Servant of Grace Corner Church in Macon. It’s an innovative restart that’s growing with the motto, “No Judgment, Just Jesus!” Contact him at pastoraew@aol.com.