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Growing a Healthy Church

Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

  Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways 

 

Part 1:  The Building Plan

 

Building a church is much more than putting up a structure.  Building a church is building the people of God.  It is developing a group of people who will live as the Family of God and the Body of Christ.  It is the formation of a community of believers that will be a living witness to Christ in the midst of your village.  It is creating a temple of praise to God, a dwelling place for His presence.  It is helping people to know Jesus and to become more like Him.

 

Many of our churches fall short of these goals.  However, by the grace of God we can improve.  Our churches do not need to be weak – they can be strong and healthy.  In this course we will discuss how to help our churches grow into greater health and strength. 

 

Purposes of the Church... Where are we Going?

 

1. A Healthy Church

We often do not stop to think about why we do the things we do, but this is a very important question.  Why do we do all our different church activities?  Why meet on Sunday morning at 10:00?  Why have Bible studies, overnights, home cells, lunch hours, and crusades?  Why do we even have church at all?  What are we supposed to accomplish through church?  We are going to begin by looking at this type of question.  If we are going to grow a healthy church, we need to know what the church is supposed to be.  What is a healthy church?

 

Discussion Groups:

Describe the ideal church.  What would it be like?  What would it do?    Describe the people who would be part of it.

 

2. What people can become

A. Healthy churches have a vision of what people can become

As mentioned earlier, building a church is building people.  Having a strong church means having strong believers.  Therefore we need to develop a vision of what people can become.  What should the people in your church be like?

 

 

B. Helping people to fulfill their purpose in life

1. Each person, as well as each church, has a God-given purpose in life

 

2. In order for the church to fulfill its purpose, it needs to help its members fulfill their purposes.  At the same time, as the members are fulfilling their purposes, the church will automatically be fulfilling its purpose.

 

3. Many church  leaders look at this backwards.  They think that the members are in the church only to help the pastor fulfill his purpose.  This is a false way of thinking, and is dangerous for the health of the church.  The pastor is to help the members fulfill their purposes.

 

4. The church therefore needs to have a plan as to how it is going to help each member fulfill his purpose, and become all that God wants him to be.  This does not happen by itself – it must be planned.

 

5. As we have seen in other places, the purposes of each person can be generally summarized by four things:  worship, evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship.  As the church helps its members to grow in each of these areas, it will be fulfilling its purpose.

 

3. Purposes of Church

Why did God create the local church?  What is it supposed to be?  What is it supposed to accomplish?  We are going to answer this question by studying the example of the first church in Jerusalem. Read Acts 2:42-47:

 

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many  wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had a need.  Every day they continued to meet together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

 

This passage gives at least five keys to the health and success of the church in Jerusalem.  They are:

 

A. Prayer --  "They devoted themselves… to prayer" (v 42)

Examples of the praying of the early church can be seen throughout the New Testament.  It was surely the foundation on which all other work was done.  Not only the leaders, but all the people were devoted to prayer.

 

B. Evangelism -- "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."  (v 47)

In this passage, people getting saved seems to be the result of everything else, not necessarily an active work of the church.  However, the book of Acts, as well as many other scriptures, reveal that people get saved because the church actively evangelizes.  This scripture makes it clear that the work of evangelism is strengthened by the other activities of prayer, worship, fellowship, and discipleship.  More than that, it is very clear that evangelism is successful because of the Lord's work.

 

C. Worship -- "They devoted themselves…  to the breaking of bread"  (v 42)

'The breaking of bread' refers to the service of Holy Communion, and speaks of the worship of the early church.  Celebrating the Lord's Supper was a central act in their worship.  Verse 47 adds that the believers were praising God as they grew into a mighty church.

 

D. Fellowship - "They devoted themselves…  to the fellowship" (v 42)

The fellowship of the Jerusalem church included eating together in homes and taking care of one another's needs.  They lived as a big family, sharing all things with each other.  This also includes various types of ministry within the body to one another.

 

E. Discipleship -- "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching…"  (v 42)

Based on what we know of the apostles' teachings, they included two very important elements.  They taught sound doctrine -- passing on   what Christ's followers were supposed to believe.  They also taught Christian living -- how believers were supposed to live as new creations. 

 

Whom are we Reaching?

We have thought about what people need to become.  Next we need to consider what they are now. If we want people to grow to a certain level, it helps to know what level they are on now.  We know where we want them to go, but we also need to know the situation from which they are starting

 

1. Different Groups of People

One way to consider who we are reaching is to divide people into different groups according to their commitments.   For example:

 

A. Group 1:  Community – Committed to not coming to church

These are unsaved people who do not come to church.  We need to preach the Gospel to them so that they get saved.  We also need to invite them to church.

 

B. Group 2:  Attenders – Committed to attending church sometimes

These are people who sometimes come to one of our church events – such as a Sunday morning service.  Some of them are saved, but some of them are not.  We need to challenge them to a greater commitment to Christ and to His body, the Church.

 

C. Group 3:  Members – Committed to membership in a local church

These are people who have been born again, and are actively committed to their local church.  Not only do they come for prayers on Sunday morning, but they may also be involved in a small group or in any other activities of the church.

 

D. Group 4:  Disciples – Committed to growing in Christ

These are active members in the church who are determined to grow to be more Christ-like in their daily lives.  They may be part of small groups or weekly Bible studies.  They probably attend seminars and other events that help them to learn more how to live in Christ.  They are committed to Christian disciplines such as prayer, fasting, Bible reading, etc.

 

E. Group 5:  Ministers – Committed to reaching others for Christ

These are active members, becoming like Christ, who are determined to bringing lost people to Christ.  They are committed to becoming witnesses for Jesus however they can – through their work and home relationships as well as through being part of special church evangelistic outreaches.

 

Group 1:  Community

 

Group 2:  Attenders

 

Group 3:  Members

 

Group 4:  Disciples

 

Group 5:  Ministers

 

2. Reaching Each Group

The way you minister to each group is different.  You do not minister to group 1 (unsaved people who never come to church) the same way that you minister to group 5 (mature believers who are sharing their faith with others).  They have different needs.  They are in different places in their spiritual journey.

 

A. Identifying each group

Think about the different people your church is ministering to.  Can you identify which group different people are in?  Is your church ministering to people from each group?  You will lose the people who are in groups that you do not actively seek to serve.

 

B. Different goals for each group

What you want to accomplish with people in Group 2 is different from what you want to accomplish with people in Group 4.  We can use the four purposes we have already discussed to see different goals for each group:

 

1. Group 1:  Goal is to lead them to Christ.  As you reach these people, your church is fulfilling the purpose of evangelism.

 

2. Group 2:  For those who are unsaved, your goal is to lead them to Christ, fulfilling the purpose of evangelism.  For others who are already saved, you want to help them grow in worship.

 

3. Group 3:  Goal is to help them to grow in fellowship.

 

4. Group 4:  Goal is to help them to grow in discipleship.

 

5. Group 5:  Goal is to help them to grow in evangelism.  These are the very people who are being used to reach out to group 1, so we have developed a complete circle.

Community:  Lead to Christ 

 

Members:  Fellowship

 

Attenders:  Worship

 

Ministers:  Evangelism

 

Disciples:  Discipleship

 

C. Different methods for each group

Obviously, you do not minister to the community the same way you minister to the ministers or the disciples.  You will have different methods and programs for ministering to each group.  Do not try to minister to all the groups at the same time or in the same way.  You cannot minister to everyone on Sunday morning in your main service.  You must decide how you are going to reach each group.

 

D. Helping each group move to the next level

In addition to the goals already mentioned for each group, another goal is to help them move to the next level.  So, one goal for people in the community is to move them to the group of attenders.  One goal for attenders is to move them into membership.  You want to move members into disciples, and disciples into ministers.

 

How to Get Where We Are Going

1. You never complete any level after the first one.

Even when a person is a minister, he is still growing in worship, fellowship, and discipleship.  You do not move to the next level by perfecting the one you are in.  You move by making a new commitment.  To be a member does not mean I have become all I need to be concerning fellowship.  It means that I have committed to fellowship.  Likewise, discipleship means that I have committed to growth, and ministry means that I have committed to evangelism.

 

2. Developing a Plan

A. Growth is not automatic

The goal of your church is to help people to grow – to develop into fully devoted followers of Jesus.  This is a wonderful thing to desire, but it does not happen all the time.  If you want it to happen in the people in your church, you must plan for it.  Do not assume that just because someone has been very involved in the church for a long time that he is growing.  Many people will not grow unless you follow a plan to help them.

 

B. Planning ministries on purpose

1. Most churches are involved in many different ministries.  However, many times these ministries are not part of an overall plan of growth.  All of the ministries in a church should be specifically planned to meet one of the purposes of the church.

 

2. Meet with the leaders of your church, and prayerfully develop a plan for how you will fulfill each of the purposes of the church.

 

3. As we continue with this study, we will be discussing many ideas for how to develop ministries to fulfill your church's purposes.  However, the key is not to follow all the suggestions mentioned here.  The key is to seek the Lord concerning developing a plan that is right for your church.  All churches are different, and will fulfill their purposes in different ways.

 

A Healthy Church

 

Pillar of  Worship

Pillar of  Fellowship

Pillar of  Discipleship

Pillar of  Evangelism

Foundation: Prayer

 

3. Pillars in Building a Strong Church

In a previous section, we studied Acts 2:42-47 in order to learn from the early church.  From that study, we saw five important points for building a healthy church.  We picture this as four pillars resting on a strong foundation:

 

A. The foundation of a healthy church is prayer.

 

B. A healthy church experiences God's presence through worship

 

C. A healthy church connects to one another through fellowship

 

D. A healthy church grows more like Christ through discipleship

 

E. A healthy church reaches the lost through evangelism

 

Part 2:  Building the Church

 

In this section we are going to discuss how to develop ministries to build healthy churches.  Each local church should have ongoing ministries which serve to fulfill the purposes of the church.  We are going to examine the foundation of prayer, and each of the four purposes of the church, and discuss ways that each of these can be fulfilled.  A healthy church must have the foundation and all the pillars in order to remain powerful.

 

Foundation of Prayer

 

1. The Importance of Prayer

A. Prayer is different from the four purposes.  It is necessary for all of them.  It is the foundation.  It will not do any good to build any of the four pillars unless they are on the foundation of prayer.

 

B. Jesus said  "Apart from me you can do nothing"  (John 15:5)

No matter how good our plans are, or how much we know, we still can do nothing without Jesus.  Prayer is the way we connect to the power of God.  You cannot have a strong church without a strong foundation of prayer.

 

2. Truths About Prayer

A. We need humility

We pray because we are weak.  We pray because we cannot do things ourselves.  We pray because we need help.  It takes humility to admit all of these things.  Humility is knowing that we need Jesus.  Understanding our own weakness is the first step to receiving God's power.

 

B. Prayer connects us with Jesus

Jesus said, "I will build my church"  (Mat 16:18).  The church belongs to Jesus, and He is the one to build it.  In order for us to join in building His church, we must connect with Him.  His church cannot be built without Him.  Prayer connects us with Him so that we can be His co-laborers in building His church.

 

C. Prayer changes us

In order to work with Jesus in building His Church, we need to be the kind of person He can use.  Prayer can put us in a position for Him to change us into such a person.  We cannot become that person on our own strength.  When we commune with God in personal prayer, we become people that He can use.

 

D. Prayer brings God's power

Building a church is a supernatural work.  It can only be done by the power of God.  God promises that power to those who pray.

 

3. How to Pray

A. Develop the discipline of personal prayer in your own life

 

B. Praying in a group

1. There is power when we come together in agreement to pray – Mat 18:19-20

 

2. It is good to organize different opportunities for people to come together to pray.

 

3. This is a good time to help people learn about prayer.  It is good to teach about prayer, but we can learn even more by actually praying with others who are more experienced.

 

C. What to pray for

1. Individual needs of the people who are there – it is good to pray for people who come, but do not allow that to be the only focus.  Encourage them to also come and pray on behalf of others.

 

2. Needs of people in the church

 

3. Different church ministries

 

4. Other churches in the area – remember that your church is just one part of the Body of Christ

 

5. Unity among all believers – see John 17:20-23

 

6. The nation

 

7. The world:  ask the Lord to lead you to pray for certain areas of the world.  Your church can touch other nations through prayer.  Pray for nations where people are suffering with war, drought, etc.  Pray for nations where Christians are persecuted.  Make a point to learn about the places you are praying for.

 

8. Other things as the Lord leads

 

4. Developing the Foundation of Prayer

What can your church do in order to build a solid foundation of prayer?  If this foundation is not strong, you will not be able to fulfill the four purposes.  Here are some ideas to help:

 

A. Be a prayerful person yourself

 

B. Preach and teach about prayer regularly

 

C. Share many testimonies of answered prayer with the church. This motivates people to pray more.

 

D. Develop prayer ministries.  Some possibilities include:

1. Overnights every month or every week

 

2. Intercessor groups whose ministry in the church is to pray

 

3. Special seasons of prayer and fasting

 

4. Regular prayer meetings (every week, month,…)

 

5. Trained people available to pray with people during services

 

6. Home cell groups dedicated specifically to prayer

 

7. Prayer retreats where the church gathers to pray for 2-3 days

 

8. Seminars and conferences where different teachers teach on prayer

 

9. Assigning prayer partners to all the members of the church

 

10. Have prayer walks where you organize for church members to walk in a certain area or village and intercede for the people there.

 

11. Allow the Lord to lead you to modify these and give you other ideas as well

 

Pillar of Evangelism

We are going to discuss two parts of evangelism – local evangelism and evangelism in other places.  These are both important, and each church should have a plan for both.

 

Local Evangelism

In order for your church to successfully lead lost people to Christ, you should develop a clear strategy.  This plan needs to include several elements, including:  evangelistic programs, a service where unbelievers can come, follow-up, and training believers in life-style evangelism.

 

1. Evangelistic Outreaches

There are many different things your church can do to reach unsaved people.  We will discuss a few, but please understand that these may not be the best for your church and community.  Also, do not think you need to try many ideas at once.  Sometimes an effective strategy includes only two or three different programs.  Of course, there are many other possible ideas that are not listed here.  This discussion should serve to help you get started in making your plan.  Seek the Lord so that He can guide you in how your church needs to fulfill this great purpose.

 

A. Small groups

1. Small groups can be an effective way to help unsaved people come to Christ and join the church.

 

2. Plan the groups with the intention of reaching the lost.  Here are some ideas:

a. Choose a group leader who has the gift of evangelism.  This gift is not necessarily only for those who are great crusade preachers, but it includes people who are especially good at attracting people to Christ with any method.

 

b. Encourage only those people in the church with a true burden for reaching the lost to join the group.  Do not encourage people to come who are looking for fellowship or in-depth teaching.

 

c. Challenge the members to invite unsaved people.  This is very important.  If the group members do not bring unsaved people to the meeting, there can be no evangelism.

 

d. Train the people in the group to be accepting and loving to the unsaved.  Do not expect those who are outside of Christ to behave like saved people.

 

e. Plan a significant time for informal fellowship.  If possible, serve tea and a small snack (it is worth the expense if it helps to bring people to Christ!)

 

f. Make the messages brief and simple.  Speak of things that unsaved people will be interested in, and show them how the Bible offers solutions to our daily problems.

 

g. Allow for questions and discussion.  After the formal meeting, train members to ask the visitors what they thought of the message in a one-on-one setting.

 

h. Show concern for the lives of those who come.  Help them when they have needs.  Go to them when they are sick.  Give them food if they are hungry, etc.

 

i. Pray for people and expect God to answer.  This is one of the most effective ways of bringing people to Christ – when they see His power and compassion in their own lives.

 

j. Visit newcomers.  This is an important key in helping people to come back again.  Be sure to go see them after their first visit, before the next meeting of the group.

 

3. We will also discuss small groups as ways of building other pillars in the church other than evangelism.  It is important to decide what purpose you intend to fulfill with your small groups.  If you try to use them for all four, you may find that they do not actually fulfill any.  It may be best to do one of the following:

a. Choose one or two purposes for small groups to fulfill, and then look for other ways to fulfill the other purposes.  For example, if you decide that small groups will be a major part of your evangelism outreach, do not also try to also use them for discipleship.

 

b. Assign different purposes to different groups.  For example, you may have some evangelistic small groups and some discipleship small groups.  Both may also serve in building the pillar of fellowship.

 

B. Crusades

1. Crusades can be effective, especially when well planned.  Here are some ideas:

a. Be sure to have a gifted evangelist who is a good crusade preacher.  He should be one that people like to listen to.

 

b. Make the crusade part of an overall spiritual warfare campaign.  See the course SPIRITUAL WARFARE for more ideas about this.

 

c. Budget for the crusade far in advance so that you do not have to beg for money at the time.

 

d. Be sure to have a system of follow-up in place.  Most people who get saved in crusades never make it to church.  Pray and plan for how you can overcome this.

 

e. Be sure that the members of your church will support the crusade with their time and resources.  If not, do not try to do it on your own unless you are sure the Lord is directing you to do so.

 

2. Do not trust in crusades as your only evangelistic plan.  Make them part of an overall strategy that includes other things as well.  Crusades can be expensive, and there are other methods that do not cost as much money that can be used as well.

 

C. Door-to-door

Form an evangelistic team led by a church minister who is gifted in personal evangelism.  Train people so that they are effective in this, and have regular outreaches.  Some churches have teams that go out once a week or once a month.  Others set aside a special month where they focus on this.

 

D. Other outreaches

1. Hospital / prison ministry

Some churches have very effective ministries to those who are sick or in prison.  Many people come to Christ in this way.  Even though these people will usually not join your church (because they may be from a different place), it is a good way of reaching people.

 

2. Jesus film

 

3. Services to the community

Anything your church can do as a benefit to people in the community can help bring people to Christ.  One example is a medical or dental clinic that saved doctors can bring for one or two days.  Other churches have nursery, primary, or secondary schools.  Be creative in thinking of ways you can serve people who live near your church.

 

4. Special occasions, such as weddings, funerals, holidays like Christmas and Easter, etc.

 

5. Music galas

 

6. School outreaches

 

7. AIDS ministry

 

8. What others can you think of?

 

Assignment:

How have the people in your church come to Christ?  Think of individuals that you know in the church.  Make a list of different ones, and what method brought them to salvation.  Over the next couple of Sundays, talk to the people whose testimonies you do not know, and find out how they got saved.  What can you learn about what evangelistic methods are successful in bringing people to church membership?

 

2. Planning a Worship Service that Attracts Unbelievers

Because this is also related to worship, we are going to look at this in detail when we discuss the Pillar of Worship.

 

3. Follow-up

Every pastor knows that follow-up is necessary in order for evangelism to be truly successful.  However, few seem to have planned programs of follow-up that are actually used, or that work effectively.

 

Class Discussion:

What is your church's strategy for follow-up?  Has it been successful?  What has been good about it, and what has not worked well?

 

Here are a few ideas to help in developing this important ministry:

 

A. Appoint a leader:  Choose someone who:

1. Is Christ-like.  His life is a positive testimony in the church and community.

 

2. Has a heart of compassion for lost people

 

3. Has a good knowledge of the Bible and sound doctrine

 

4. Is spiritually mature

 

B. Train people who will be involved in this ministry

 

C. Visit people in their homes within 24 hours of their confessing

During this visit encourage them in their decision and ask if they have any questions.  Give them some scriptures to meditate on, and remind them to come to church.

             

D. Visit again within a few days

 

E. Offer to come and escort them to church on Sunday, or to a small group or some other service

 

F. Be patient and persevering

Do not give up on people.  Many people who have just come to Christ go through periods where they fall back into old sins and life-styles.  They struggle to live according to their new faith.  However, a patient person full of God's grace and mercy can help them to overcome in the end.

 

G. Help them to become involved in the church in different ways.  Introduce them to people who can befriend them.

 

H. Continue to check on them until they are able to stand, and you see that they are involved in the church and are growing in Christ.

 

4. Life-style Evangelism

A. The most important part of your evangelistic program is to develop evangelistic people.

Your church will only be successful in winning the lost if your people are witnesses for him in their daily lives.  You can have the best programs possible, and still your church will not grow unless the members live lives that attract people to Christ.

 

B. Ideas for developing an evangelistic people

1. Teach and preach often on the need to reach the lost, and on each person's responsibility

 

2. Focus on personal holiness and character building and helping each believer become more like Christ (discipleship)

 

3. Be a good example yourself of an evangelistic life-style.  Make the most of every opportunity to lead people to Christ.

 

4. Teach and demonstrate the importance of love and grace in leading people to Christ – Rom 2:4

Teach people to be accepting of unbelievers and loving towards them.  Note that you can accept a person without accepting his life-style.

 

5. Challenge people to develop friendships with lost people with the goal of leading them to Jesus.  See Luke 5:29-32

 

Evangelism in Other Places

 

1. Each church is responsible for taking part in the Great Commission of taking the Gospel to the whole world

A. Jesus told the fist disciples to take the Gospel to all nations (all ethnic groups, tribes, tongues, etc.) – Mat 28:19; Mk 16:15

 

B. Do not give excuses

Many churches claim to be too small or too poor to take the Gospel to other places.  But this is not true.  If you ask Him, the Lord will give you a vision of reaching a particular place.  This may be another village in your own district, or another part of your country, or even another country.  When he gives the vision, He will also give the means to accomplish it.

 

2. How your church can be involved

A. Seek the Lord for a vision to reach out

 

B. Make this vision known to your people, and encourage them to seek the Lord also about the part they can play.  Challenge your people to be willing to go wherever God would send them!

 

C. Find other churches that have needs that you can meet – whether spiritual or physical

 

D. Take crusades or other evangelistic outreaches to other places to assist other churches

 

E. Develop a ministry of beginning other churches (see the course CHURCH PLANTING).

 

F. Support a member who has a vision to reach out in a particular place

 

Pillar of Worship

There are two important parts to the pillar of worship:  unified worship (when believers come together to worship the Lord), and individual worship (in which each person develops a lifestyle of worship).

 

Unified Worship

In this section we will discuss issues related to the body of Christ coming together to worship God.  For most churches, the primary time this is done is during the main service on Sunday morning.  We will therefore consider some ways we can plan this service to help believers to truly worship the Lord.

 

1. Worship in Church

A. Only believers can truly worship God

 

B. Unbelievers can watch believers worship, and even feel the presence of God as they do.  They can be drawn to God as His people worship Him.

There is a connection between worship and evangelism.  Worship can draw lost people to God.  In addition to that, when we worship God He gives us His heart for people, and we become motivated to share the Gospel with them.

 

C. There is no correct style of praise or worship

Jesus simply said that we should worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  Every church can have its own style of music and worship and praise.  One style is not better than another.

 

2. Planning a Worship Service That Attracts Unbelievers

Because worship and evangelism are closely related, we should plan worship services in which unbelievers can attend and be touched by God.  This is especially important for our Sunday morning church services, because that is the most likely time for an unbeliever to visit the church.  We should therefore plan Sunday morning services which fulfill two purposes:  helping believers to worship God together, and creating an atmosphere in which unbelievers can experience the presence of God and be drawn to Him.

 

 

A. Be sensitive to unbelievers

Think about what message you are giving them concerning salvation and God.  If you want unbelievers to come to church, you need to plan a service that will reach them.

 

Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity – Colossians 4:5

 

Cell Groups

Imagine yourself as an unbeliever visiting your church on Sunday morning.  How would you feel when you first arrive?  Think about everything that happens, and discuss how an unbeliever would be likely to react to it.  Would they become more interested in God, or more convinced that salvation is not for them?  Consider things like the following, along with anything else about a typical Sunday service in your church:

 

·      how they are welcomed when they first enter

·      introducing themselves in front of everyone, and saying whether they are saved or not

·      the times of praise and worship

·      announcements

·      special music (choirs, bands, etc)

·      testimonies

·      the preaching

·      the offering

·      praying for people

·      the length of the service, and what time it begins and ends

 

B. Being sensitive to unbelievers does not mean that you need to compromise your message

Do not change the message, but be willing to change your methods.  Be willing to change the atmosphere of your church so that unbelievers can feel welcome.

 

C. In your preaching, focus on things that both believers and unbelievers might be interested in

For example:  how to have financial success, how to have a good marriage, how to deal with suffering or grief, how to forgive people, how to be content in life, what God is like, how can you know Him, etc…

 

D. Know the purpose for each service

If you decide that Sunday morning will be for building the pillars of worship and evangelism, do not try to also focus on fellowship and discipleship.  Plan each Sunday service to help people worship God and help unbelievers be drawn to Him.  Plan other services or ministries to build the other pillars.

 

E. A worship service cannot be your entire evangelism ministry, but it can be part of it.

 

F. Teach your church that the Sunday service is for unbelievers.

Help them to know that their needs will be met in another service, but that Sundays are for visitors.  Train them to welcome visitors in a friendly way, and encourage them to invite unsaved people to come.

 

G. Things to keep in mind when planning a service for unbelievers

The following are suggestions.  You may not embrace all of them, but they are given to help you to think about these issues

 

1. Music style – try to use music that people of the world would like

 

2. Time – unbelievers are much more aware of time during a service than you are.  Do not keep them too long, or they will not want to come back.  Here are some things to consider that can save time and yet not take anything away from the service

a. Spend only a very brief time on announcements

 

b. Be in control of testimony time.  Have people tell you before the service if they have a testimony, and make them tell it to you first.  Then, instead of inviting anyone who wants to come for a testimony, you can call on the people who have already spoken to you. Many churches already handle special music in this way, and you could also do testimonies like that.  Unbelievers can get bored with our 30 minutes of testimonies.

 

c. Plan for and limit special music to maybe 2 or 3 songs.

 

d. Do not preach so long.  The preacher likes long sermons, and some of the believers might like them, but very few unbelievers do.  An hour is more than enough time to give your message if you plan it well.

 

e. Limit the time between other activities.  Often times the pastor or service leader spends a lot of time talking and restating what someone else said.  Just introduce the next thing and move on.

 

f. Praying for people – if you are going to pray for people at the end, consider dismissing everyone else first who does not need prayer.  There is really no need for a visitor to be there while you lay hands on people, unless he wants to be.

 

g. Do not beg people to come on time, or rebuke them for coming late.  If you feel it is important to begin on time, than simply do so – even if you are the only one there.  People will come based on when you actually begin, not when you say you begin.

 

3. Think about how you introduce visitors.  Some unbelievers do not want to have to stand and introduce themselves to everyone, and especially to have to say that they are not saved.  You can give them the opportunity, but do not force them.

 

4. Welcome them personally, and show interest in their life.  It impresses a visitor if he can speak individually with the pastor, and if the pastor is interested in him.

 

5. Do not condemn them.  Do not rebuke visitors for the way they put on, or their style of hair, or coming late, or anything else.  First lead them to Jesus, and then begin the process of discipleship.

 

6. Do not focus much on getting money.  Most unbelievers think that the church only wants their money.  Because of this, you should be extra careful.  Visitors should be made to feel that they are not expected to give in the offering.  Do not do much fund-raising during the Sunday morning service.

 

3. Other Ways to Build the Pillar of Worship

A. Have special services that are focused mainly on praise and worship.

This can be once a week or once a month, maybe on Sunday evening or Friday evening, or some other time.  Make this a time where believers can worship God without thinking about how unbelievers would react.  They can enter in and express themselves fully, and you can do it for a longer time.

 

B. Encourage worship as part of other ministries, such as seminars, retreats, Bible studies, small groups, etc.

 

C. Encourage people to worship together informally in their homes or places of work


Individual Worship

In addition to providing opportunities for the church to worship together, the church needs to help people to develop a life-style of worship.  Each person needs to learn to be a worshiper if the church is going to have a strong pillar of worship.

 

1. Life-style of Worship

A. The 'Great Commandment' is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).  Worship is expressing this love to God, and can be done in many different ways.

 

B. Worship is doing whatever we can to bring pleasure to God.  We are His people, and we can bring Him pleasure – Ps 149:4

 

C. Worship is surrendering our lives fully to God – Rom 12:1-2

 

D. Worship is developing a close relationship of friendship and love with God.

This includes continually reminding yourself that God is with you.  Speak with Him, give Him thanks, and honor Him throughout the day in whatever you do.

 

E. Worship is trusting that God is with you all the time.

Our response to the presence of God is to worship Him.  By faith we know that He is always with us.  Therefore everything that we do can become an act of worship as we do it unto Him.

 

2. Helping People to Become Worshipers

In order to truly have a strong pillar of worship in your church, each member needs to live a life-style of worship.  Jesus said that the Father is seeking true worshipers (John 4:23).  Here are some ideas as to how you can help people in your church develop into this kind of worshipers.

 

A. Be ever growing in worship yourself

Always seek to learn more, and to become more and more a worshiper in your own life.

 

B. Teach and preach about worship regularly

For some ideas on this, see the above section (Life-Style Worship), and also the courses CHRISTIAN GROWTH and PRAISE AND WORSHIP.  Every year be sure to preach about worship on Sundays, include it in weekly Bible studies, have a seminar, etc.

 

C. Regularly challenge people to commit to being 'living sacrifices' for God, and to surrender their lives fully to Him

 

D. Plan worship retreats or weekends, where you have a mixture of unified worship as a body as well as time for individual worship.

 

Pillar of Fellowship

Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to love other people as we love ourselves (Mat 22:39).  We can call this fellowship.  Fellowship includes living life together as the Family of God.  It also means for each person to fulfill His role in the Body of Christ and serve others.  In building the pillar of fellowship, attenders become members, and make a commitment to one another.

 

The Family of God:  Church Membership

1. Encourage Attenders to Become Members

A. Every believer needs to be an active member in a local church

This is true of mature Christians as well as new believers.  It is true for evangelists and apostles as well as for farmers and teachers.  Every believer needs to be joined to a local church.

 

B. People will want to commit to membership in your church if they can experience things like:

1. acceptance – knowing that they belong

 

2. friendship – people are more committed to churches where they have good friends

 

3. purpose or value – to know that they are needed

 

4. agreement -- understanding what the benefits and responsibilities of membership are

 

 

C. There are some requirements of membership – before being accepted as a member, there should be some basic requirements.  For example:

1. being saved

2. baptism

3. accepting the responsibilities of membership

4. completing the membership class

 

D. There are great benefits to membership in a local church

1. Provides a spiritual family to support people in their Christian walk –Heb 10:24-25

 

2. Provides an opportunity to minister to others through using spiritual gifts – 1 Cor 12:4-27

 

3. Provides security and protection of godly leaders – Acts 20:28-29;  Heb 13:17

 

4. Provides accountability which helps people to grow – Gal 6:1-2

 

5. Provides help and support during times of difficulty

– 2 Cor 1:3-4;  Rom 12:13;  Heb 13:3

 

E. A member also has responsibilities

1. Decide what you expect of your members.  What kind of commitment do you require of them?

 

2. Some things you may want to consider as responsibilities of members – feel free to add some things and take away others.

a. Work for unity in the church – avoid gossip, walk in love towards other members, follow the leaders

 

b. Reach out to unbelievers and encourage them to visit the church

 

c. Serve in some kind of ministry

 

d. Be actively involved in a small group

 

e. Give financially to support the church

 

f. being committed to living a Christ-like lifestyle

 

2. Developing Membership

A. Establish a membership seminar

1. This should be short but meaningful.  You can accomplish all you need to in one afternoon or so

 

2. Important things to cover:

a. salvation – make sure everyone is saved and understands the Gospel

 

b. The purposes of the church

 

c. The benefits of being a member

 

d. The requirements of being a member

 

e. The responsibilities of being a member

 

f. How to get involved in ministry

 

B. Have a membership covenant or agreement

This is something that members can sign, stating that they understand and accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership.

 

C. Honor your members

When people are honored and treated as special, they are more likely to be positive and contributing members of the church

 

D. Encourage members to be part of a home cell

It is impossible to build the pillar of fellowship only through weekly services and Bible studies.  People need opportunities to connect with each other.

 

E. Create as many opportunities for people to build relationships as you can

Possibilities include:  retreats, ministry teams, social events, events for various groups (youth, marrieds, women, men,…)

 

The Body of Christ:  Church Ministry

We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do – Ephesians 2:10

 

…to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up – Eph 4:12

 

1. Every Member must be a Minister

Continually teach people about the Biblical view of ministry – that every believer is a minister.  Consider the following scriptures, and many others like them:  1 Pet 2:9-10; 1 Pet 4:10;  Rom 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:7, 27

 

2. Every Ministry is Important

A. Many church leaders make people think that some ministries (like preaching) are important and 'Big,' while others are insignificant, and 'little.'  This is not true.

 

B. Any service we do for God is significant

 

C. Read 1 Cor 12:14-27

 

3. God has Prepared you for a Ministry

A. God has equipped you to do whatever He has called you to.  Read  2 Cor 3:4-6

 

B. Help people to discover their ministry by discovering how God has equipped them.  God uses different things to equip people for ministry:

1. Spiritual Gifts – Help people to discover their gifts by allowing them to try different things.  The best way to determine what spiritual gifts a person may have is by allowing them to be involved in different ministries.  If they do not do well in a certain area, then let them try something else.

 

2. Desire – God has given His people desires for ministry.  A person will be much more faithful in a ministry that he desires than in one in which he was just placed because there was a need.

 

3. Abilities – God has given people abilities in different areas.  Some people are good in music, or in building, or in teaching children,…

 

4. Experiences – God uses the things people pass through to prepare them to minister to others – 2 Cor 1:3-6

 

4. Help People get Involved in Ministry

Your church should have a plan for how to involve people in ministry.  It is not enough to teach people that they should minister, and to ask them to minister – you must give them the opportunity.

 

A. Teach on a regular basis about ministry, and how people can discover their ministry (see above)

 

B. Develop a process to help people get involved.  Have them

1. attend a brief ministry training

 

2. meet with a pastor to determine what ministry they can be part of (or see if there is a new ministry they can begin)

 

3. meet with the leader of that particular ministry

 

4. be commissioned as a minister in a particular ministry

 

5. provide on the job training – have the leader of the ministry teach them whatever they need to know in order to be successful

 

5. Developing Ministries in the Church

A. Never start a ministry without a minister

1. Begin with the people you have, and help them to discover how God wants to use them

 

2. Do not try to recruit people for a particular ministry vision that you have – people will be much more faithful to something that is on their heart than to something you have appointed them to

 

3. Trust God's timing.  If there is a ministry need, trust Him to provide the right minister at the right time

 

B. Establish your standards

1. Let people know what is required of them in any particular ministry

 

2. Let people know what kind of lifestyle standards are expected of ministers

 

C. When you give someone responsibility, you must also give them authority

When you delegate a ministry to someone, be sure that you also give them the authority to carry out the job.  As the pastor, you do not need to be in control of everything.  Your job is to equip the members to minister.  Let them do it without your interference.

 

6. The Ministry of Pastoral Care

A. In order to help people to grow, it is very important for the church to give each member good pastoral care

1. People who receive such care are more likely to continue growing in Christ

 

2. People who receive such care are also more likely to be a witness to others and bring them to church

 

B. What is pastoral care?  There are two types we will discuss:

1. Care during special events or crises

This means helping people during special times such as weddings, and also difficult times such as the death of a loved one, sickness, etc.  The church should be there to help people during these big times of life.

 

2. Continual care

This means helping people to learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives.  It can include the following:

 

a. counseling

 

b. accountability

 

c. spiritual conversations that build up

 

d. knowing about what is happening in their life – showing love and concern

 

e. prayer

 

C. One person cannot give everyone pastoral care.  This is not the job of the pastor of the church.  Instead, you need to develop believers who have the gift of helping people in their spiritual lives, and let them do this pastoral work.

 

Class Discussion:

How can the church be sure that everyone receives all the pastoral care that he needs?  How could you help believers to be involved in this ministry?

 

Pillar of Discipleship

 

Spiritual Maturity

1. Truths about Spiritual Maturity

A. Spiritual growth is not automatic.  It does not happen to everyone who is saved.  You need to plan for it and work at it.

 

B. Spiritual growth is for everyone.

Do not think that only a certain few can grow into spiritual strength.  God wants every believer to be powerful.

 

C. Spiritual growth is a process

No one can grow into spiritual maturity quickly.  You do not become powerful spiritually by being prayed for by someone, or by fasting for 40 days.  It is a life-long process.

 

2. Spiritual Maturity requires Commitment

A. People need to commit to spiritual growth.

 

B. Challenge people to commit to growing through participating in the discipleship ministries of the church

 

Three Keys to Discipleship

We are going to discuss three necessary aspects of building the pillar of discipleship.  These are:

1). Teaching

2). Mentoring / individual discipleship

3). Spiritual disciplines

 

1. Teaching

A. Teach the full Bible

1. Many pastors only teach on a few favorite topics or scriptures.  It is very important to teach the whole truth of God's Word.

 

2. In order to do this, make a plan.  Do not simply decide week by week what you are going to teach.  Make a list of important areas that need to be covered to help people grow, and then follow through.

 

3. Teach on topics that excite people, and on topics that do not excite them.

 

B. Teach in a practical way

In your teaching, show people how to apply the truths of Scripture to daily life.  Talk about things that people face in real life.

 

C. Teach often, and help people to see the value of teaching.

 

D. Teach in an interesting way

People have a concept that preaching is exciting but teaching is boring.  That does not have to be true.  You can teach in a way that people can enjoy just as much as preaching – but just be sure to not compromise the message.

 

2. Mentoring

A. Provide continual pastoral care for people (see the previous section concerning this)

 

B. Discipleship comes through relationships

1. Teaching is very good and useful, but it alone does not produce strong disciples.  People grow best when they have strong relationships with godly people.

 

2. People need to learn from the lives of others, not just from their teaching.  We grow as we see Christ in other people, and learn to follow their example.

 

3. Relationships also help to keep people accountable, and are very helpful in learning to overcome sin.

 

3. Spiritual Disciplines

A. We learned about spiritual disciplines in the class CHRISTIAN GROWTH.

 

B. Help people to make these disciplines a part of their daily lives.

 

C. People need to form good personal disciplines in order to grow.

Teaching and relationships alone are not enough.  If people do not form good disciplines, they will not stand strong if they are separated from the one teaching and mentoring them.

 

Building the Pillar of Discipleship

1. Challenge People to Grow

Help people to understand the need to grow in the Lord.  Once people have become born again and active members of the church, challenge them to move to the next level.  Encourage them to take the time to grow in their personal lives.

 

2. Church Ministries for Discipleship

These are just a few ideas that your church can consider as you seek to help people grow.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into others as well.

 

A. Weekly Bible Study

This can help to provide the Biblical teaching that is necessary for spiritual growth.

 

B. Seminars

These can also provide another means of good teaching.  Try to focus on one particular thing in each seminar, and include the believers to build these truths into their lives.

 

C. Small Groups

Small groups can provide both teaching and mentoring.  Encourage the leader of the group to take the time to provide pastoral care for each member.  Also, encourage them to build relationships with members in order to be examples to them and help them to grow.

 

D. Challenge to Spiritual Disciplines

Help people to develop disciplines.  You could do this through small groups, the weekly Bible Study, seminars, or other ways.  Teach about the disciplined, and develop a program to help people be accountable to building them into their lives.

 

Assignment

 

Think about how God could use you to grow a healthy and strong church.  Write out a plan.  Include how you will build the foundation of prayer, and each of the four pillars discussed in this course.  Also write how you will minister to the people in different groups – the community, the attenders, the members, the disciples, and the ministers.