09 Mar, 2016 It’s time to make your members effective
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Hi Pastor or Church Leader
The new year is in swing, and I want to bring a very simple encouragement to you today, simply titled: It’s time to do what it takes to make your members effective.
Time passes quickly in life. 1 year becomes 10, which becomes 40 – and with eternity in view we will all be standing before Almighty God sooner than we can imagine. My point is this: The opportunities we have in this life do not actually last for long – so what is most important? What are we going to tell God we did with our time when he asks us to give an account of our lives?
I firmly believe that, for those who are God’s, nothing will matter as much on that day as the efforts we gave to introducing others to Jesus! In fact, I think all the rewards of heaven will mean nothing in comparison to the people we know who will make it to heaven because of our efforts to encourage them to believe in Jesus.
We become busied with so many things people – and as pastors, but there really is something we do that really is more important than the rest. This thing is not merely one of the purposes of the Church – it is our mission, and it is our responsibility as church leaders to give that mission our full focus and effort!
So, what are you going to make of this year? What foundations could you lay so you can to another level in your church next year – instead of being stuck where many churches are, with members who don’t know how to communicate their faith within their culture, and who are stuck – like a broken record, functioning at this level, year upon year.
#1. Do your members know how to engage in non-threatening two-way conversaiotns about spiritual things?
This is about basic conversational skills – and these are not difficult to teach!
- The first part of teaching them is to explain and demonstrate the skill set involved. Amongst our sermon, small group and video resources online there are range of resources that can help you do this.
- But there is a second part to teaching these skills – and that is the reminding, reinforcing and encouraging. You see, learning is one thing – while application is another. To get application of these skills happening consistently this year you will need to engage with your members by taking time to ask them how they are going – and by listening to their stories and then sharing their stories to encourage others, so we build success upon success to get some momentum happening in our churches in this area.
- When we first teach these things only a few will apply them. And this is why it is essential that we find the success stories from these few so we can work with them to win over the majority, and begin to actually see things change.
#2. Are you members equipped to share the gospel, were an opportunity to arise?
Again, this is not difficult to teaching, and doing so would be a worth goal for your year. You could start next year on a new foundation if you did – but again, the same applies. Teaching from the front is only part of the effort. We need to engage with our people to see if they have remembered and applied what we have taught. And we need to find testimonies to encourage others, and to build a positive platform for ourselves – from which we can remind people of the key points again and again, until we are sure that what we have taught has become their practiced habit.
I want to encourage you that this kind of thinking is what is necessary to see change. Teaching from the front is only half the job. It is only when we are engaging with our members and sharing their stories, that the lessons we are teaching will really be understood, and begin to be applied, by the greater portion of our members.
#3. Are your members convinced Christianity is true?
As out of place as this question sounds, research on the religious views of people in churches – like by the Bhana group – have revealed that there is sometimes a quite surprising number of people in our churches who are not actually convinced that Christianity is true. This is a basic and important foundation stone to lay if we want to see our members mobilised.
How could a God of love create a place called hell? How could it be that there is only one way to get to heaven when there are so many religions in the world? I simply want to encourage you a pastors and church leaders to consider afresh that these are really important issues to talk about – because these are the issues that are on the minds of the people who live around us. Until our members have sensible answers to these questions, they are going to lack confidence to engage people in conversation. A part of discipleship is growing in knowledge, and so discussing these relevant topics is a necessary part of our work.
So – what are you going to make of this year? How much closer will your congregation be to being mobilised as witnesses by the end of this year? How about setting a goal to see them all knowing certain conversational and gospel skills – and then you could do some ‘quality control’ by talking with your membres to see what they really learnt and applied. And as you engage with them you could find their positive stories and share these – and then could use this positive platform as a positive platform from which to re-teach the things you need to, so a proper foundation is laid. Because if youdo this it could mean that you start next year on a platform that you may never have had before: a congregation who are growing to know what they believe – and why, and who know how to communicate it within their culture.
I tell you – if you do this it can only spell one thing: very good news!
What will you make of the rest of this year?
May the Lord make you effective in making your members effective.