Tips from Antonie Walker

Reach and Teach!!!

By Rev. Antonie E. Walker

Without question, growth and development have become obsessions of the church. That’s particularly because of the longtime decline of membership and worship attendance across denominational lines. Books have been published and conferences have been developed around these themes, but often with principles that aren’t exactly applicable in every context. The objective of this article is to give practical and user friendly advice on how to create an atmosphere for growth in your congregation.

At the ground floor of your church’s numerical development is reaching and teaching. I know, I know, you’re probably saying, “We’re a Great Commission church; loving people and sharing the gospel isn’t our problem.”

I’d implore you to revisit those thoughts. Faith communities are to be welcoming of all, expecting attendance records to be broken weekly because you’ve invited everybody and not just somebody to be a part of the Sunday fellowship.

To reach people, the implication is that we leave the sanctuary. So the goal is to not merely be a church in the community but to become a community church. Have a block party, give away gift cards on Sunday morning, create a happy hour café prior to worship, make flyers that advertise a creative sermon series, abbreviate Sunday worship and make the afternoon a fun day, have a free car wash, and offer your sanctuary for funerals to families who aren’t members of a church. My point is – REACH!

Reaching people doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it require you to already be a large church. The only prerequisite for reaching is for you to be so in love with Jesus that you just can’t keep him to yourself, so you innovatively share him. That’s it! Don’t be so rigid in your methods that you miss your ministry target. Remember, when you’re fishing, different fish need different bait. Sometimes you have to switch up your methods; the important thing is that you get the biggest catch, not that you’re the most comfortable in the process.

Teaching is the other facet of this union. They go hand in hand. Discipleship begins with reaching, but it continues with teaching/preaching. Here’s a few words of advice that aren’t in any specific order. I’ve found them to be effective in communicating the gospel and developing healthy disciples.

  • Plan your preaching, at least quarterly. This allows you to advertise what’s coming next (just like movies). Also, it helps you to be more creative so you can teach people by affecting all of their senses. If you aren’t that creative, form a small team of members in your church who are and allow them to help you flesh out your sermon.
  • Preach in series. It builds anticipation and it gives a sense of ease in delivery because you’re not under pressure to explain the entire story in one sermon.
  • Make teaching/preaching interactive. Use cell phones for social media, and have demonstrations that include worshippers.

I hope that these suggestions will be helpful in your ministry endeavors. I pray for you to have good success and that growth will be your goal!

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


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