Keys to Worship Planning: A Formula for Transformation

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“Information plus inspiration plus action leads to transformation. God provides the inspiration; we provide the information and the call to action.”  

              - Nelson Searcy and Jason Hatley

The above quote is from p. 36 of Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services.

Engage is your step-by-step, stress-free guide to planning creative worship services that allow for true life change. Comprehensive in scope, Engage provides teaching pastors, worship leaders, and volunteers with the tools they need to work together to develop and implement a worship planning system that improves communication, enhances creativity, and honors Jesus every week.

Click here to grab your copy for just $1.00 (shipping included!)

Posted On: September 30, 2016
Posted as: Worship Planning
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Lazy Staff Syndrome

Man in computer room sleepingToday’s guest blog comes to us from Tony Morgan, Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group.

I can’t believe I’m writing this article.

I had always assumed that Christ-followers would always model a healthy work ethic, especially if they’re paid to engage ministry. My assumption is challenged, though, by a growing culture of laziness infecting many of our church staff teams. I know there are some staff cultures that have the opposite problem. Staff are overworked and the Sabbath is a commandment that’s disregarded. Generally, though, I’m finding that laziness is a more pervasive challenge.

Too many church staff teams lack hustle. Then, when they’re pushed to put in the hard work, they complain about how difficult ministry can be. It’s time for a bit of a reality check.

Normal people don’t get Friday and Saturday off from ministry. They work 40 hours or more each week and then they use their weekends and evenings to engage with the church. If more church staff had to follow a similar schedule, I’m convinced we’d have far less ministry programming and events competing for people’s time.

Normal people don’t get flexible schedules to care for children or other family members. They’re on the clock and, if anything, they have to use a limited number of sick days or vacation days to help at home. I can’t tell you how many times I see both husband and wife working outside the home, and the person on church staff is the one who stays home with the sick child. Be grateful you have that flexibility, because normal people do not.

Some of you just need to suck it up. Give your job your best effort. Many people would love to have the job you have.

Click here to read the full article.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

 

Posted On: September 29, 2016
Posted as: Ministry
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The Magic Seven: Do this when the service ends… – Part 4 of 4

Last week in Part 3 of this series, we started to talk about how you can create opportunities to connect with your guests in the seven minutes after the church service ends.

In the conclusion of our four part series, here are the remaining ways you can best connect with your guests:

7-minutes 2THE SEVEN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDS
As the bookend to your Sunday service, these seven minutes carry their own set of opportunities and rules for connecting:

Have some assistance near you for greater pastoral needs
Meet and greet as many guests as you can but you may encounter times when someone needs more time than you can offer. Either ask them to wait for a few moments until you have spoken to all your other guests, or introduce them to another pastor or volunteer.

Use those connection tools
Just as you did during the first seven minutes, have business cards available to hand out. Carry a notecard to write down info on people you meet. And introduce your guests to members and regular attenders when appropriate.

Be warm but not overwhelming
Put your best, most friendly face forward but be sensitive to how much or how little your newcomers want to engage with you. Sometimes they are in a hurry to leave and sometimes they seek you out to introduce themselves. Adapt to their comfort level.

A final reminder
These strategies for what to do during The Magic Seven should be taught to your key volunteers and staff, and reinforced on a regular basis. Share these reminders in your monthly staff meeting and also
weekly when you meet before the service.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Assim Intensive WS logoP.S. – For an in-depth study on the the Assimilation System – the process of reaching and keeping more first-time guests and helping them become fully-engaged members in your church – join me in Orlando this October for The Assimilation Workshop.

You’ll go beyond just the basics and do a deep dive on practical, how-to strategies that you can take back to your church and implement next Sunday!

Plus, with super low guest rates of just $99 each and hotel rates of an unheard-of $79 per night, we’ve made it very easy to sign up and bring your team!

This event will NOT be repeated — don’t miss this opportunity to learn EVERYTHING I know about Assimilation and get a complete “done-for-you” system to reach and keep more guests.

Register before Friday, September 30th and save on your registration with the Early Bird rate.

Just go to:

www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com/Live

Posted On: September 28, 2016
Posted as: Assimilation
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John Wesley’s Rules for Preachers

Today’s guest post comes to us from Nathan Finn for BetweenTheTimes.com

wesley4John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the key leaders of the Evangelical Awakening in Britain during the mid-eighteenth century. Circumstances drove Wesley to adopt itinerant evangelistic preaching, an idea he picked up from his friend and former student George Whitefield. Once Wesley embraced itinerancy, he extended his movement’s influence by appointing other itinerant preachers to serve various “circuits” (regional networks) of “classes” (small groups). Wesley hoped this strategy would bring evangelical renewal to the Church of England. It did bring some renewal, but the greater fruit was the Methodist denominations that were birthed in both North America (1784) and Britain (1795).

Wesley laid out twelve rules for preachers who wished to serve as Methodist itinerants. While some of the rules themselves are not strictly applicable to a settled, non-Methodist ministry, there is still much wisdom to be gleaned from the principles Wesley articulated.

1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
2. Be serious. Let your motto be, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.
3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women, particularly with young women.
4. Take no step towards marriage without solemn prayer to God and consulting with your brethren.

Click here to read the entire article and the remaining eight principles.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Church Growth PrinciplesP.S. –  Though John Wesley lived more than 300 years ago, when we look closer at Wesley’s story, it’s clear how similar his situation was to ours – and how applicable his leadership principles are to ministry TODAY.

In his day, there was also a great anti-Christian movement.

There was a great need for renewal and revival.

There was a need for structure and organization in order for the gospel to be shared.

Wesley knew the difficulty of ministry – but also what we would need to do to turn things around in this difficult climate we face as church leaders.

Dr. Bob Whitesel, a church growth expert and John Wesley scholar,will engage you with colorful narratives of his travels across England studying original Wesley writings in the actual locations where Wesley wrote them! Plus, hear about growing churches today that have recaptured Wesley’s biblical principles and are growing exponentially.

Click here to join Dr. Bob Whitesel on an inspiring exploration of the life and leadership lessons on John Wesley that you can apply to unleash your own church! (only $49!)

Posted On: September 27, 2016
Posted as: Church GrowthMinistry
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Monday is for Follow-up: Gifts from God

“Actions always speak louder than words. There’s no getting around this truth: How you respond when you’ve been given a gift – and what you do with the gift itself – proves just how much you really appreciate it.

So have you gotten any gifts lately? Think about that question another way: Did you have any first-time guests at your church last week? How many have you had in the last month? The last year? Those guests were God’s gift to you. How did you receive them? Did you show the Giver your appreciation? Did you treat those gifts as they deserved to be treated by having a plan in place to integrate them into the life of your church? Or did you just say a quick thank-you and move on?         – Nelson Searcy

(the above quote is from p. 27 of Fusion by Nelson Searcy)

What will you be doing today to follow up with the gifts God has sent you?

Assimilation-Seminar-collageThere IS a proven process to welcome first-time guests, get them to return again and again, and effectively move them to membership and an ongoing relationship with Christ.

10 years in the making, it’s completely updated and expanded to be 30% longer with 50% more content – the latest learnings and strategies that have worked in my church and at over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations.

Multiple package options available to fit your budget – Click here to choose from Download, CD or DVD! Plus save up to 90% with Early Release bonuses – Hurry, opportunity ends soon!

Posted On: September 26, 2016
Posted as: Assimilation
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John Wesley on Our Soul Priority

 

John Wesley

“You have one business on earth – to save souls.”
– John Wesley

Posted On: September 24, 2016
Posted as: Evangelism
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Keys to Worship Planning: Honoring God Through Excellence

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“We are a reflection of God’s character on this earth. God isn’t sloppy or ill prepared; he’s excellent. And excellence on our part honors him. Where you and I get into trouble is in thinking that excellence is the same as perfection. It isn’t. We will never be perfect this side of heaven. But that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect our Father’s perfection by being excellent in all we do. As Nancy Beach says in her book An Hour on Sunday, excellence is simply doing the best we can with what God has given us.”  

              - Nelson Searcy and Jason Hatley

The above quote is from p. 38 of Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services.

Engage is your step-by-step, stress-free guide to planning creative worship services that allow for true life change. Comprehensive in scope, Engage provides teaching pastors, worship leaders, and volunteers with the tools they need to work together to develop and implement a worship planning system that improves communication, enhances creativity, and honors Jesus every week.

Click here to grab your copy for just $1.00 (shipping included!)

Posted On: September 23, 2016
Posted as: Worship Planning
0 Comments

Global Megachurch Growth

churchesSmall churches out number U.S. megachurches nine to one. Each has their own unique local and global tasks. When John Vaughan, founder of Church Growth Today (1980), wrote the book, The World’s 20 Largest Churches (1985), there were only 27 known non-Catholic churches in the world with 6,000 plus weekend attendance. Eleven were in the United States. Today, more than 200 in the U.S. are that large.

By the year 2000 the Springfield, Missouri, researcher reported the 100 largest churches grew to 4,000 attendance. They then doubled in size and the smallest of the 100 largest by 2010 increased to 8,000 weekend attendance. Today, Vaughan reports, the 100 largest of the 1,742 non-Catholic megachurches (Hartford has 1,467) begin at 9,000 attendance and the 200 largest begin at 6,000 attendance.

U.S. megachurch attendance, by global standards even by 1999 standards, are still smaller. In 1999, Church Growth Today had already identified 10 churches outside the U.S. with 30,000 weekend attendance. The three largest were Yoido Full Gospel Church-Seoul, Korea (180,000), Vision de Futuro-Santa Fe, Argentina (80,000), and Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Lagos, Nigeria (70,000). Africa is projected to be the most populated Christian continent by 2020. Africa already has more than 15 churches reporting more than 20,000 attendance. What many American church leaders think of as unique recent American creativity and innovation has been known in other global megachurches as simply old school survival strategies for several decades.

What about the next decade? Vaughan, with the Springfield, Missouri based Church Growth Today has already identified the next 150 potential emerging 9,000 attendance megachurches, their geography, and their rates of growth. There are, as never before, an abundance of capable pastors able to lead these churches in the next generation.

About Church Growth Today – Church Growth Today, located in Springfield, Missouri, is a church growth research center founded in 1980 by Dr. John N. Vaughan and specializes in U.S. and global megachurches. International Megachurch Research Center was created in 1985 under Church Growth Today specifically for global megachurch research already begun by Church Growth Today.

Click here to read the full article.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Posted On: September 22, 2016
Posted as: Church Growth
0 Comments

The Magic Seven: Do this when the service ends… – Part 3 of 4

Last week in Part 2 of this series, we wrapped up how you can connect with your guests during the seven minutes before your Sunday service begins. We pick up today with how you can create opportunities in the seven minutes after the service ends.

7-minutes 2THE SEVEN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDS
As the bookend to your Sunday service, these seven minutes carry their own set of opportunities and rules for connecting:

Be accessible but not in the way
Position yourself in a place where you it’s easy for first-time guests to find you but not be forced to talk to you. For example, I like to stand near the area where we hand out our gifts to first-time guests.
You could also have your Worship Leader or other teaching pastors help in this area.

Hand out a gift for first-time guests
BTW yes you should be offering a gift to your newcomers. A book is a popular choice; we give out a copy of my book Unshakable, which is available for use in your church as well.

Don’t start teardown yet
This applies if you’re in a rented space. Train your team not to start teardown during these seven minutes, as it can be distracting when you’re trying to connect with guests.

Tune in next week for the final installment in this four part series. I’ll share with you the remaining ways you can connect with your guests in the seven minutes after the service ends.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Assim Intensive WS logoP.S. – For an in-depth study on the the Assimilation System – the process of reaching and keeping more first-time guests and helping them become fully-engaged members in your church – join me in Orlando this October for The Assimilation Workshop.

You’ll go beyond just the basics and do a deep dive on practical, how-to strategies that you can take back to your church and implement next Sunday!

Plus, with super low guest rates of just $99 each and hotel rates of an unheard-of $79 per night, we’ve made it very easy to sign up and bring your team!

This event will NOT be repeated — don’t miss this opportunity to learn EVERYTHING I know about Assimilation and get a complete “done-for-you” system to reach and keep more guests.

Register before Friday, September 30th and save on your registration with the Early Bird rate.

Just go to:

www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com/Live

Posted On: September 21, 2016
Posted as: Assimilation
0 Comments

Ten Observations about the New Testament Church

scot-mcknight-31Today’s guest post comes to us from Scot McKnight, a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. Scot has also authored more than fifty books and is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

A local church has the capacity to adjust itself to its environment and, so long as the environment is redemptive, adjustment is good. When the environment is not redemptive, adjustment is compromised. I believe this is why many today use the term “institutional” for the church: they are saying the church has become not what it should be but more like culture.

To rethink what the church needs to be we need to return to the period of the apostles (and behind them to Jesus’ own kingdom vision) to see how they thought about the church. James Thompson, author of The Church according to Paul, has some observations about Paul’s churches that deserve strong consideration today. Here are ten theses in Thompson’s own words. [My words in brackets.]

1. He nowhere mentions administrative institutions that coordinate or have authority over the activities of the local community. [That is, no pope, no monarchical bishops, no centralization; local, local, local.]

2. That Paul thought of the church in universal terms is most evident in his use of the terms ekklesia and hagioi (“saints”). Although he employs both terms for the local community, the language is from Israel and expresses Paul’s understanding of the continuity of the church with Israel as the people of God.

3. Although Paul gives no indication that he envisions a universal church that was administratively connected, he envisions koinonia within the local church and among the churches at the regional and international level. [The “unity” is a unity in fellowship.]

Click here to read the full article and remaining seven observations.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Posted On: September 20, 2016
Posted as: Ministry
0 Comments

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