Outreach

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MinOut-Metrics

Tracking With Jesus' Mission

A friend of mine who pastors a church of 120 people in a town of 1,000 recently told me about a strange encounter he had with a megachurch pastor in another area about what constitutes a megachurch. The megachurch pastor led a church of 10,000 in a town of 600,000 and told my friend that if your church was reaching at least 1 percent of the population of your town, then you were leading a megachurch.

His assertion made my friend wonder if this was really true or was it just faulty logic. He asked this pastor how he would classify a church that was reaching 12 percent of the town’s population. The pastor was stunned.

“Who is doing that?” he asked.

“Our church is consistently running 120 people in a small town of 1,000!” my friend responded. To which the megachurch pastor quickly replied, “Yes, but that’s a different model .” read more

shaking-hands-church-welcome

Is Yours a Welcoming Church?

Two years ago I moved to southern New Hampshire with my family. Prior to that, we had been involved deeply in a church plant for almost a decade—serving in leadership, developing marketing tools, and loving the people in that community like family.

Losing that family was hard; trying to find a new church home was even harder. For more than two years, I visited approximately 20 churches within a half hour from my new home. These churches ranged from tiny (40 people) to huge (more than 3,000). They were evangelical, mainline, charismatic, denominational and independent. I heard hard rock gospel music, traditional hymns set to organ music and everything in between. read more

Tracking With Jesus Mission

How to calculate your church’s true missional impact

A friend of mine who pastors a church of 120 people in a town of 1,000 recently told me about a strange encounter he had with a megachurch pastor in another area about what constitutes a megachurch. The megachurch pastor led a church of 10,000 in a town of 600,000 and told my friend that if your church was reaching at least 1 percent of the population of your town, then you were leading a megachurch.

His assertion made my friend wonder if this was really true or was it just faulty logic. He asked this pastor how he would classify a church that was reaching 12 percent of the town’s population. The pastor was stunned.

“Who is doing that?” he asked.

“Our church is consistently running 120 people in a small town of 1,000!” my friend responded. To which the megachurch pastor quickly replied, “Yes, but that’s a different model .”

Beyond Raw Numbers

In some ways, the megachurch pastor was right. Few people would argue that pastoring 120 people is different from pastoring 12,000 people. And we’d all say that leading a church in a fast-growing suburb is significantly different from leading one in a rural community or complex downtown urban setting. So in some ways comparing the two ministry contexts is apples and oranges. They are different.

But in other ways the megachurch pastor was dead wrong. From the perspective of the people reached and actual community impact, reaching 12 percent of a small town offers a much greater result then reaching 1 percent of a larger city, regardless of the raw numbers’ magnitude. 

This “percentage of impact” number might be a strategic and effective tool to help us equalize our understanding of the missional impact of a church and get away from what I think is a shortsighted idea that the only factor that really matters is how many people gather in one place at one time.

Kingdom Measurements

The “percentage of impact” number is simply the number of people attending the church compared to the number of people in the local community. When you consider this formula, a church of 120 is a significant force in a small community of 1,000. I won’t argue with the idea that a church of 12,000 is certainly impressive. But it’s much less of a force in a community of 600,000. To be equal in percentage of impact to the church of 120 in a town of 1,000, the megachurch would need to be a church of 72,000 attendees.

Right or wrong, the perception in the American church world is that, when everything is said and done, the more people you have listening to you each Sunday/weekend, the greater leader you are. This idea that quantity is always better is an American idea, not a kingdom idea. America is a great nation, but American values don’t always synch up well with kingdom values. 

Kingdom is about impact, and in the kingdom, your percentage of impact number means more than how many you have in the room at the weekly worship gathering.

Other kingdom measurements that apply regardless of the size of the gathering are metrics such as: 

  • Ratio of baptism to attendees.
  • Ratio of leaders being developed to attendees.
  • Ratio of weekly conversations with lost people per member, etc.

These metrics actually tell you something about how well your church is tracking with the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost.

When you set out to plant a new church or you’re leading an existing one, make sure you measure the things that matter. If you focus on actions and activities that increase your missional impact, you won’t have to worry about how many people show up to hear you speak. The crowd will increase as you stay focused on the mission of Jesus.


Steve Pike serves as national director for the Church Multiplication Network, which collaborates with church multipliers to effectively equip, strategically fund and innovatively network new faith communities in America. Follow him on Twitter @StevenPike.   read more

‘Use Me’

Taking the first step in leading others to share their faith

Willing men inspire fear.

The one thing Satan fears more than any other is a man of God who’s willing to say two little words each day: “Use me.” As leaders, we especially grab the enemy’s attention when God burdens us to begin inviting others to explore a relationship with Christ. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from fusing these two little words in our prayers; he knows he needs to keep them separate in leaders’ lives. Using something else is much better, he’ll say to us—people, substances, credit cards, false motivations, feelings. Using these things now is optimal.

If the enemy can make us a dedicated user, distracting our lives and minds with other things, he knows we won’t be available for God to use us. So go on, he says, use, abuse and blow a fuse! Satan would love to decommission you, dishonorably discharge you and destroy your availability to lead and be used by God.

The “me” part of “use me” is potentially just as good a derailment (if not better). It diverts our attention away from others and their need to know Christ by putting the focus on No. 1.

“What about me?”

“They’re all following me!”

“What’s in it for me?”

If Satan can’t turn us into users, he’ll exploit our self-centered nature, enticing us into self-absorption. When it comes to sharing your faith and leading others to share their faith, self-centeredness over others-centeredness helps him breathe a little easier. Focusing on you and your needs obscures your view. You begin to overlook or not see the people in your life who need Christ. C’mon, Satan says to us, why even risk it? What were you thinking, anyway? How does talking to them help you? Forget about it.

In the natural realm, when we as leaders do put these two words together and speak them sincerely to God, it may seem mundane. But in the spiritual world, huge repercussions take place:

  • A general is added—a leader ready to be the “first to fight” for souls.
  • Conversations about Christ and countless eternal consequences start spinning out into solid patterns.
  • Salvation, connection and life transformation take place.
  • Forgiveness and healing begin.
  • The game is changed forever.
  • A warrior is born, and the gates of hell will not prevail against him.
  • God’s man joins the ultimate battle line—the one of true consequence that determines eternal destinies.
  • A new asset is in play for the enemy to contend with.

Willingness on the part of God’s leaders to share the gospel is weapons-grade plutonium in spiritual warfare—the final ingredient that makes a nuclear impact possible. Telling someone else about the Lord requires humility and faith, the two most powerful agents of spiritual conductivity. God’s power flows most deeply through you when you leave the shores of safe, spiritual spin for the unpredictable rapids of evangelism.

Your spiritual life comes full circle when you’re willing to give away the same news you received and accepted yourself—and lead others to follow your example. You’ve risked combining responsibility with a willing availability to speak about Him. And once God’s man experiences His power in this way, no other experience can compare.


Kenny Luck is a men’s expert: speaker, author, founder and president of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., where 7,000 men participate in weekly small group gatherings. He has authored and coauthored 20 books, including his most recent title, Sleeping Giant: No Movement of God Without Men of God (B&H). For more information, go to everymanministries.com. Follow Luck on Twitter @Kenny_Luck and on Facebook at facebook.com/KennyLuck. read more

Your Fight, Too

What every church can do about human sex trafficking—now

Can I be blunt and say that I’m sick and tired of churches and ministries that are committed to “raising awareness” about sex trafficking?


We’re living in a time in which the world has more modern-day slaves than ever before. The United Nations crime-fighting office estimates that at any given time, 2.4 million people are being trafficked—and of those, half are children. Nearly 80 percent of those 2.4 million are being exploited as sexual slaves.

Although it’s difficult to cite an exact figure, we know that no country is providing more girls per capita than Moldova, where I’ve worked for more than 20 years. Right now, 450,000 women and girls have simply and mysteriously vanished from the tiny country—more than 12 percent of the nation’s total population!

I had been working with children in state-run institutions in Romania and Moldova for decades before I discovered this horror. Children—the same kids I had brought Christmas boxes to since they were 8 years old, put roofs over their heads and had made more than 100 trips to see—were suddenly gone, victims of the Eastern Europe sex trafficking industry. While serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Moldova, Michael D. Kirby told me that within 24 hours of getting into a car, girls end up in places such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Italy. They are then beaten, raped and forced to comply with the demands of their new masters. Many will be forced to provide sexual services as many as 30 times a day.

The very day I learned the truth—beginning with a physically disabled girl named Stella—I had to do more than talk and raise awareness. I had to do somethinganything. Let me suggest a few ways you and your church can get involved in the fight against injustice and the $32 billion-a-year global sex trafficking industry:

Educate yourself and your congregation—but don’t stop there. I believe education is the most powerful, world-changing weapon we have. Books such as Not for Sale, Sex Trafficking and God in a Brothel, as well as films like Taken, Trade and Call + Response offer substantiated facts and stories that put a face on the numbers.

Stop sugarcoating the issue. Churches need to hear from those on the front lines. Invite a restored victim or first-response leader like Christine Caine (see p. 46) to come to your church and share. Every summer, we bring more than 15 orphans to the United States who often share their stories with churches.

Take a stand where you can make a difference. We built a house for orphans aging out of the Moldovan orphanage system. As soon as we raised the money, we built a second one. Soon, two more homes will be filled. I confronted the problem head-on in one country because the Lord told me to, and because the country was small enough that I knew we could be a game-changer.

Advocate for stronger laws and tougher enforcement. Write your local, state and federal government officials and petition for stronger laws and better enforcement of the current laws. Find out what your elected representatives are doing to end human slavery and how you can help. You may also want to contact your local law enforcement branch and find out what the protocol is for handling victims of sex trafficking. Bring the issue to their attention.

Send a missions team. At Stella’s Voice, we are always in need of short- and long-term volunteers. Everyone has something to offer, whether it’s assisting with light construction, teaching English, helping with our summer camps or caring for the orphans. Wherever you serve in whatever capacity, you’ll be forever changed.

Organize a fundraising event.Set aside a Friday night or Saturday afternoon and hold an art show or auction, host a community dinner or organize a clothing drive.

Devote a Sunday. Many of my best friends are pastors. I know the struggles you face to meet budget, reach out to the community and do all that God has called you to do. But I challenge you: Devote one Sunday to this injustice—just one week. Make a difference in the lives of girls who are literally standing on the edge of hell. They are more than statistics on a page; they’re human beings who are treated worse than cattle. They’re someone’s daughter, sister or friend.

This isn’t just my fight. We are all biblically mandated to fight injustice, help free the captives and to give voice to the oppressed. This is your fight, too!


Philip Cameron is founder and president of Stella’s Voice. The ministry’s website offers free videos for use at a fundraising event and opportunities to set up a fundraising page. To learn more, go to stellasvoice.org.   read more

Raising Our Faith Level

Patterns and keys to seeing more of the miraculous

Being in healing ministry, I have witnessed the miraculous regularly and seen thousands touched by God each year.

I remember two times when the Lord spoke something to me out of His Word, and it gave me an insight that brought an increase for healing. The first instance happened about two years ago, and the second about a year ago.

The first came out of 2 Corinthians 4:13, where Paul said, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak” (NIV).

I’d seen this Scripture many times, but when God quickened it to me, all of a sudden it took on life. All of a sudden I made this connection: Faith needs to be spoken. You can say you believe something, but if you don’t have enough faith to declare it, to speak it, there’s something that’s not released. read more

Treasure Hunters

The Holy Spirit’s clues will lead you to the lost and needy

 

The clues on our treasure map led us to a home improvement store, where we began looking for our treasure—someone with “red hair,” “headache,” “Ralph,” and “back problem” were among our clues. 

Immediately, I noticed a woman with red hair. As I approached her and her husband, I asked, “Hey, do you by any chance have a headache?” She responded, “As a matter of fact I do!”

She was visibly shocked that I had this inside information. After explaining that God had clearly highlighted her on my treasure map, she agreed to let us pray for her even though she adamantly stated that she was not a Christian.

After a short prayer, her headache vanished and she started to cry, overwhelmed that God would care enough about her to send us to help her. She then asked Jesus into her life right there in the middle of the aisle, while her husband stood at a distance in obvious disgust. read more

d-MinOut-Missions

Remembering Egypt’s Dwindling Minority

Why the church must seek opportunities to minister to Arab believers

 

Egypt has been in the news a lot during the past 12 months. News footage of protesters in the streets has played in the background as we share family meals and live our everyday lives. Often the images of what’s happening are violent, and make us thankful we’re not caught in the crossfire. 

As the mission field in our post-Christian society gets nearer to our own doorstep, there’s a tendency to focus our efforts only on those within our safe, familiar cultures. While we should adapt our missions philosophy to the 21st century world, we shouldn’t ignore foreign mission fields and less-reached people groups. In fact, what we will find is that, as other parts of the world experience civil unrest, our outreach is needed more than ever. 

My wife, Judy, and I flew into Cairo, Egypt, just five days after 25 people were killed in a fresh burst of bloodshed in that city. We were on our way to Alexandria for a ministry appointment. Many of the victims killed in this clash were fellow believers—Christians who were killed while protesting the burning of a church in the southern province of Aswan. read more

d-MinOut-Community

Sharing Hearts of Hope

A leading rabbi reflects on the growing friendship between Jewish and Christian communities

 

As a rabbi, I share with many others in the Jewish community a deep sense of gratitude, allied to  some perplexity, at the phenomenon of evangelical support for Israel. I welcome this chance to share my views as a Jewish leader, on our shared perspectives and goals. 

A great Hasidic teacher, the Kotzker Rebbe, once said the only whole heart is a broken one. 

In an unredeemed world, there is so much pain and loss, any healthy heart must break. What people of God share is that our hearts must hope as well. read more

Counting The Cost

Measuring your ministry will help to increase its impact

 

I’m a numbers guy. I love to challenge people with goals we can measure. So when God called the Rock Church to be “first responders” in sharing God’s love in the community, naturally I looked for ways to measure our success.

First, some background. I started the Rock Church in San Diego in 2000. By God’s grace it has grown to be the city’s largest, averaging 12,500 worshippers each Sunday. With that comes some incredible opportunities and challenges. The biblical stances we have taken on politically charged debates sometimes put the Rock in opponents’ cross hairs. But they also open doors to ministry and to relationships with community leaders.

San Diego County is approximately the size of the state of Connecticut. Like many regions in the United States these days, we’re facing serious budget cuts and reduced services. Likewise, the city of San Diego, the eighth largest in the U.S., is hurting. One out of every 10 people are without work, and more than 12 percent live below the poverty line. read more

Training the Timothys

We need to equip young adults to help change their world


I am the product of spiritual genetic engineering. God has placed a passion inside of me to see global change through young people. 

Never in history have we been faced with these demographics—60 percent of young people live in Asia and 90 percent of the world’s youth live in developing nations. These countries are part of what’s known as the 10/40 Window—a geographical region that is the most densely populated and yet the least evangelized. 

Young adults worldwide are facing horrific issues, which we must confront. The average age of human trafficking victims is between 10-18, and 60 percent of those rescued from brothels in South Asia are infected with HIV. Approximately 1 million youth and children are sold into the sex industry annually.

Those, as young as age 5, are being recruited and forced to serve in combat in nearly 50 wars worldwide. Child labor is another concern in developing countries. Forced labor threatens the physical, emotional and mental well-being, as well as the proper development of a child. The International Labor Organization estimates that 215 million children, as young as age 5, have been forced to work in order to pay off the debts of their parents.  read more

The Good Neighbor Guide

Seek the best for your community and see your influence grow

 

Imagine a church of 850 in attendance winning nearly 2,000 people to the Lord in the space of just 12 months. In addition, imagine that church being featured in Charisma magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. Imagine this church had been stuck at a plateau for over three years. Sound unimaginable? That’s exactly what happened to my church in 2009-2010.

When our church was at a plateau, I become weary in attempting to motivate my congregation to regularly evangelize. Some responded, but I didn’t get the results I was looking for. I couldn’t understand why most wouldn’t or just didn’t. I needed a unique strategy for our house.

First, I began to focus on increasing their love quotient. I believe evangelism flows best out of a heart overflowing with love for the Lord. So, I talked more about God’s attributes and personality—attempting to cause their hearts to soar. I motivated the church to focus on intense prayer, asking the Lord to mark each heart with His presence. read more

Signposts Point to Life

We must be carriers of Jesus’ presence to a dark, broken world


Recently, we partnered with local leaders and organizations by opening the first Dream Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., a free medical clinic for women who are underinsured or uninsured. 

The small clinic space was given to us and sits right across from the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office, where the poorest families in our city go to apply for food stamps. This is the first of many ministries we plan to open. Soon, we want to have a home for single parents who are afraid to come out of the shadows of homelessness for fear of losing their children to the foster system. We also plan to open homes for kids who are too old for the foster system and have no families.

We are not doing this out of guilt or to be trendy or popular. We are certainly not out to prove to the world that we really are nice people despite the caricatures of Christians.  read more

Saints and Sinners

Why Jesus wasn’t big on asking unbelievers to follow Him to church


Growing up, I was not too interested in church or religion. When I became a teenager, I was invited a few times by Christian classmates to attend their church youth group activities and Bible studies. I was pretty good at saying no. I was not ready to dive into their world. However, I couldn’t keep them from diving into mine.

I am forever grateful that Ron Musselman, the First Presbyterian youth pastor, did not just invite me into his church world; he jumped into my not-so-churchy world. Ron engaged my culture and my community because I was not interested in engaging his.

Jesus gave the greatest demonstration of engaging culture and community when He left the streets of gold in heaven to walk the dirt roads of the Roman Empire. Showing up was just the beginning. While here, He was the expert at engaging all types of cultures and communities that were disenfranchised by the religious elite. read more

A Passion for Prayer

If we don’t pray, how will we really know what God has for us?

 


Passionate spiritual zeal is one of the most important, evident qualities of having an authentic relationship with God. It is key to our witness. It is vital to moving His church forward. Passionate Christianity should be the norm for every believer—not the exception. Our spiritual passion should be something we fight to protect.

It has been through times of drawing closer to God through prayer and fasting that I have received some of the most precise, specific direction for my own life, my family and our church. Without fail, each time I fast I look back in amazement at what God has done in my heart and what He has revealed to me, and I wonder, What if I had not fasted? I would have missed out on what God had for me and our church.

The first 10 years of my ministry at Celebration Church felt like life with Jesus in the fast lane. I ran so hard and so fast. My relationship with God was great, but the church grew so rapidly I had to sprint to keep up. I suppose it’s OK to be in the fast lane, but it is so important to ensure we are making regular stops along the way to get alone with God. If not, the other voices, business and pressures of ministry crowd out the voice of God. read more

How to Love Your Neighbor

Could you be pursuing the right ministry for the wrong reasons?

I have come to love the people of the Hawaiian islands in the 27 years since we planted New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu. The warmth of the Aloha spirit in the islanders wonderfully complements the islands’ perfect temperatures. A unique blend of nationalities and languages here creates some of the most beautiful people on the globe.

Yet, at the start, much of my love was a choice. I didn’t always live here. I received my education and early experience in ministry in the Pacific Northwest. But it was a love for the island people that compelled us to come here and stay here. And no matter where I travel, that love has never left.

Love for people, even love for an area of the country, is mandatory for a church to succeed. A church God loves to bless is one that loves the people in its community as well as its call to reach them. read more

The Land We’d Rather Go Around

How we can remember ‘the forgotten’ among us, even as our churches grow

But He needed to go through Samaria” (John 4:4). In Jesus’ time, Samaria represented a land of cultural difference and prejudice for many Jews—a land they’d rather go around. I believe our cities and towns too have “a land we’d rather go around.” Jesus’ conviction was clear: He had to go through Samaria. And I believe that as His body, so must we. 

For years I felt I had nothing to offer people unlike me. Because of my upper-middle-class upbringing and the fact that I pastored a church full of people who looked like me, I was led to believe that I was incapable of being used by God to make an impact in a different cultural context in our city. read more

Growing Your Church’s Small Groups

The key lies in knowing how to develop strong leaders

Strong, healthy small-group ministries succeed because they develop strong, healthy small-group leaders. So, naturally, one of the top concerns ministry leaders have is how to develop strong group leaders. How can you be sure they’ll lead well? What will slow down the turnover rate? How do you get more people to lead?

Healthy leaders are empowered leaders. Empowered leaders are trained for success and entrusted with authority.  read more

Working With Firms and Freelancers

Tips for hiring creative help

I'm a big believer in tapping into freelancers because hiring them often means matching the best talent to the right project. Full-time creative people are nice to have on the team, but many ministries can't afford the luxury. Here are some things I've learned through the years: read more

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