Posts Tagged: Church Planting

October’s Top Posts:

Here are the top ten for the month of October. If you haven’t read/watched have a look now. Be blessed and share with a friend!

  1. Faster Pastor Episode #2 Unity in Diversity with a full month to run and the little pick-up from the blogs Spectrum & Advindicate moves up from #4 to #1.
  2. The Ordained Women Pastors of China made me cry both times I watched it!
  3. Daily Disappointment a little piece I wrote as I reflected on the great disappointment of 1844
  4. Pastor Dwight Nelson’s Sermon “A Mighty Throng of Women: A Second Look at Male Headship” our third video is #4 this month.
  5. Donkeys, Elephants, & a Lesson Learned at Chick-Fil-A last months top post remained in the top ten this month.
  6. What U2, Bon Jovi, & AC/DC Teach Us About Church I wrote this blog more than a year ago, but my readership was much less then and so I reposted it this month & I guess enough folk hadn’t read it so it made it back into my top 10.
  7. Introducing Speiro Media Ministries thankful for the many that have supported this endeavor and praying many more will jump in!
  8. I Love Dayton one of my favorite blogs I have ever written. Probaly because of the deep nostalgia associated with this city and great love I have for Ohio/the people of Ohio and all they did for me in my life!
  9. Faster Pastor Episode #3: Training Journal Apps. This one is all about running.
  10. The Pink Slip another blog I wrote almost 2 years ago that I re-released brings up the tail of the top 10 posts for the month of October.

 

The Ark Kids

The Greatest Evangelists of the Ark (our church plant) have been…

The Ark: Our Name

Introducing Speiro Media Ministries

What would happen if there were a healthy, vibrant, multiplying Adventist church in every city, in every county, in every state in the North American Division?

What if there was one healthy, vibrant, & multiplying Adventist church for every 10,000 individuals in the North American Division?

There would be a lot of churches!

In fact if we had one healthy, vibrant, & multipling Adventist church for every 10,000 individuals there would be 35,000 churches throughout the United States and Canada.

Some one may ask: “Why would we want that many churches?”

The simple answer would be, “Because we are called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ & His soon coming in the context of the Three Angels Messages with all 350,000,000 persons in our Division (and beyond) Matt. 28:18-20.”

You may ask, “why 1 for every 10k?” I would encourage you to read my blog post by just said title: 1 For Every 10k, but to answer quickly and succintly studies have found that a church of 200 individuals can realisitically only have an impact on 10,000 persons.

So how are we doing with this goal, this need of 35,000 churches?

Well we are a little behind? We currenly have 5326 churches.

But wait at the top we said we are in need of 35,000 healthy, vibrant, multiplying Adventist churches in the North American Division.

Dr. Joseph Kidder in his excellent book, “The Big Four” points out that in Adventism 80% of all churches in North America are Plateauing or in decline. That means that out of the 5326 churches that we already have in existence only 1,066 of those are healthy, vibrant, multiplying churches, while 4,260 churches have stopped growing and are whithering.

Which is why we Jason Lombard–a marketing, web design, creative type–& myself–a pastor, talks a lot type–started Speiro Media Ministries.

To plant new churches & re-plant the churches that have lost their health, their vibrancy, & their ability to multiply.

Speiro Media Ministries is a ministry with a deep commitment to seeing local churches change lives for eternity, a deep belief that God will still do the impossible (even plant 30,000 Adventist churches and revive 4,260 others), and the deep conviction that as believers in Christ we have no other option than to give our lives for the salvation of others!

So how will Speiro work?

The best way to understand how Speiro will work is simply to take you through our intended process & to do that I will use a local town that has been on our radar ever since this conviction and dream began to formulate in our hearts.

Kingsburg, CA.

In Kingsburg, CA a city of 11,537 persons there is currently no Seventh-day Adventist Church. We believe this must change, so what do we do about it?

  1. We establish connections in Kingsburg through media content. How? Through direct mailing, google ads, Facebook ads, hard print ads, and various other marketing techniques. All of these things would direct people to our website. On this site people would be able to hear messages, full length & devotional length. They would be able to read blogs, sign-up for interactive Bible studies, and receive prayer support. In many ways your typical media ministry website content in a new & updated package. 
  2. When, through the analysis of data, we see that we have a decent following within Kingsburg we will then advertise & hold a series of meetings, aka public evangelism, though with a twist.
  3. The twist to these meetings is that almost simultaneously we will begin, through media provided to meeting attenders, & through short training sessions held in conjunction with the meetings train people for what it means to be part of a church. The meetings will not just be evangelistic or doctrinal, but they will be practical as well.
  4. One of the key differences with Speiro is that at the end of the meetings, rather than just baptizing and leaving, we will seek to establish a “permanent work” a church plant in the city of Kingsburg. (This of course will be done in accordance and in conjunction with the local Seventh-day Adventist Conference).
  5. Speiro to unburden the conference will initially provide resources to the local body for a Bible worker to help oversee the church as a local elder.
  6. The evangelist, right now that is me:), will continue to preach to the local body on a weekly basis. How? Through a satellite feed from the Visalia Seventh-day Adventist & or The Ark Seventh-day Adventist Church. 
  7. Continued training will continue to take place in the new church plant, and a continued proactive media presence will remain in Kingsburg to support the new believers as they take on the responsibility of reaching their family, friends, coworkers, & neighbors to grow their church.
  8. End result: A healthy, vibrant, multiplying Adventist church.

Ellen White wrote:

“In every city that is entered, a solid foundation is to be laid for permanent work.”   –Testimonies for the Church, p. 38.

We want to be faithful to that counsel! Our media ministry will not be the typical big coverage, TV, expansive meetings, famous speakers. It will follow more in the steps of the greatest church planter ever, Paul. Ours will be a missionary journey to go from city to city through modern technology seeking to establish churches that the good news of Jesus & His soon coming will be more widely spread through.

One of the other components of Speiro is helping to revitalize plateaued or dying churches. What is our intended plan to accomplish this agenda?

Well it is three fold:

  1. Quality Content–For churches that are plateaued and dead without a consistent pastor, there is often a lack of consistent, cohesive, & quality preaching.  This prevents growth in the local church, because the #1 reason given by people, even in this post-modern world, for why they choose to attend a church is the Preaching! (90%). Speiro through satellite will provide a consistent, cohesive message that was written with the knowledge of that specific church in mind. Some people ask, will people really come to see a preacher on a screen, the overwhelming answer is YES! Hundreds if not thousands of churches are utilizing this method of providing quality preaching, and sometimes even quality worship to other venues.
  2. Experienced Training–Our team will take the things we have learned in turning a plateaued church into a growing church, combine them with the things we have learned through our church plant and provide training for these churches. Simple things that won’t cost money, just a love for reaching people, and a desire to grow. The reason this training is so important is because although preaching will get people to choose your church, if we want to keep them in the church we must love them, care for them, and get them involved! If not they will eventually go out the back door.
  3. Evangelistic Support–Speiro will, like with the church plants flood the area with content, seeking to make connections, and leading them to their local church. We will also in time provide a live evangelistic series, and help offset the costs of Bible Worker that will assist with continued evangelistic growth.

In time we believe that Speiro will provide many levels of content for all people, but these two objectives will remain the consistent focus of Speiro. We are not trying to be big, we are trying to be faithful missionaries, journeying from town to town, leaving a lasting legacy in each town the Three Angels’ Messages are preached!

This missionary journey is already underway in many steps of faith, but to move forward even further we need your support! Speiro is in need of $10,000 seed money. This money will help provide the quality camera for filming and producing content (our one video thus far was filmed on an iphone:)) and the beginnings of the equipment we will need to establish a quality live stream to the churches that are already wanting to join us in this endeavor.  Would you prayerfully ask God what He may desire you to give to this ministry. Please we ask that you not give us your tithe, that should go to your local conference, through your local church, but if God is calling you to give a gift above and beyond your monthly 10% we would greatly appreciate the support.

You can give at our website Speiro, & in advance I thank you for your generosity!

(Speiro is a non-profit 501c3 and all gifts are tax-deductible).

 

April: Ted Ran Laps Around the Rest

The following are the 10 most viewed posts on this blog for the month of April. Check out the ones you didn’t yet read.

  1. In Defense of Ted: This month had a clear favorite. In fact this year, in fact the history of this blog has a new favorite. Ted Wilson! A lot of folk wanted to know about defending Ted it received more than 1000 reads in just three days. I’ve had 4 maybe 5 likes on Facebook with other posts, this post has received to date 185 “likes.” So have a read if you are someone that hasn’t.
  2. Oh What a Mom!: This post is about my beautiful wife and her positive influence on our oldest son. She has modeled for him time with the Lord and at just three years old he is taking his own initiative to spend time with Jesus.
  3. Christina, The Lord Knew Best: A quick little post celebrating the anniversary of when Christina and I first became boyfriend and girlfriend…before we broke-up and got back together again:)
  4. The Bleeding Trash Can: This was a teaching moment for me, when my son showed evidence of how the stuff we put in his brain sticks and he is able to then process it and think it through logically or somewhat logically at least!
  5. April 26, 1996: This was the first blog post I wrote after “In Defense of Ted.” For me April 26, 1996 represents the greatest story of my life, but I guess not so much with other folk:) I picked this up when it has received to date 1,465 less views than El Presidente:)
  6. The Porn Pandemic: This was #2 last month and stays in the Top 10 this month. Why? Because porn is a struggle in many lives.
  7. Val Kilmer & I: This was #1 last month, I have no idea why it stayed in the top 10, unless folk at Val Kilmer’s Facebook page are still coming over to read it. Yep it got reposted on the official U.S. Val Kilmer Fan Facebook page.
  8. Cars Pull Over In the South: This is a very old post, but I reposted it because I attended a funeral and was reminded once again of this great Southern tradition!
  9. The Superiority of Adventist Education–Please Read: Another old post I believe probably found and revived due to all the Ted Wilson traffic.
  10. 1 For Every 10k: A post on church planting. This was #9 last month and dropped to #10 this month. I love church planting so I am glad folk are reading it!

So there you go the posts that were the most read in the month of April, 2012. Enjoy and be blessed!

March: Val Kilmer, Porn, Apple, & a Tiger

The following are the 10 most viewed posts on this blog for the month of March. Maybe you read them all and want to read again, maybe you missed a few & would like to catch-up, or maybe you’d just like to share one with a friend. And perhaps you want to leave the page now. I’m cool with any of those options 🙂

1. The Porn Pandemic–I woke-up earlier than I normally do one morning and felt impressed to write this blog. Wasn’t really something I planned on writing and the content wasn’t the direction I was thinking of going when I started writing it. But it turned out the way it turned out and several folk have said they appreciated the honesty. In many ways it was written as a Dad with two boys, whom prays for God’s protection over them and God to give me wisdom in how I & my wife can help Him in that endeavor.

2. Bittersweet Moving–Two of our dear church members are moving in late July and the thought of them moving and also the reflections on what I had learned from them compelled me to write this tribute to them & encouragement to pastors & young leaders to be mentored.

3. Val Kilmer & I — This was orginally a post simply for the purpose to encourage encouragement that I wrote in February. It turned into a hit in March on the internet because the web manager of the Official Facebook U.S. fan page of Val Kilmer got a hold of the post and reposted it, due to my uncanny resemblance to said actor. That ended up getting this post a lot of traffic:)

4. Childhood Friday Nights — I love music! I especially love older Christian music & it seems like many others do as well!

5. The Apple Store — I believe churches could learn a lot about “customer” service from secular businesses! This was just another example.

6. 1 For Every 10k — I love church planting, I believe it is the best avenue by which to have mass sustained evangelism! 

7. The Negativity Pandemic — I am sick of negativity!

8. Flee the Tiger — One of my members Kay Rizzo has recently published her first ebook. I was excited for her and wanted to help her get out the word.

9. Zechariah’s Beautiful Picture of the Gospel — I love Zechariah 3:1-5 and I wanted to share a couple thoughts in regards to this passage.

10. The Twitter Blessings! — I meant for this to be a compare & contrast of Facebook & Twitter with my views on why I prefer to Twitter. It turned into just a Twitter lovefest!

And those are the top 10 for the month of March & here just for good measure are the top for the first quarter of 2012:

  1. Val Kilmer & I
  2. The Porn Pandemic
  3. The One Project Analysis
  4. Bittersweet Moving
  5. Thoughts From Pastor Carlton Byrd…
  6. This Is Discipling
  7. Childhood Friday Nights
  8. The Apple Store
  9. 1 For Every 10k
  10. One of Many Goals for 2012

Hope y’all enjoy and would love your feedback!

 

 

1 For Every 10k

That is not a 10k race…for those runner friends out there. I am writing of 10k as in 10,000, & the 1 is representative of 1 church.

We need 1 church for every 10,000 people, to be precise we need 1 church of 200 active members for every 10,000 people. This is the conclusion many have come to, including those in the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Why? Well let the folks at NPUC explain:

“A typical church of 200 active members will impact a maximum of 10k people (200 members x 50 contacts = 10k if there is no overlap).”

Now let me throw in this caveat that I believe to be absolutely 100% truth, and definitely verifiable through the stories of scripture. God could reach everyone with just 1 person. I don’t know how, but He could do it. And although that is true that is not the way God seems to work. In fact He seems to work in the way we would typically think of working, at least when it comes to numbers.

More people reach more people!

“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” –Matthew 9:37-38

The idea is MORE laborers MORE reaping!

So yes God could reach everyone with just 1 person, but He has chosen to use people and to call for more people to help Him in reaching everyone. Which is the very reason why the statistic above is significant. For a church to truly impact 10,000 people it must have 200 soul winners, engaged members in its midst.

In most communities where there is an Adventist church of 500 or more folk will often ask, “Why do we need another church?” It doesn’t matter if the city is 20,000, 50,000, or 100,000+. A church of 500 or more is usually quite satisfactory to folk and again people ask, “Why do we need another church?” How do I know this? Because we have recently started another church (in my mind it is a campus, but to the community it is another church) The Ark a Seventh-day Adventist Christian Church, & because there is already a significant size church in our community, The Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church, (740 members and growing) I have heard many times, “Why  another church pastor?”

My answer is this:

Because 1 church cannot reach 125,000 people quick enough with the Adventist message (and yes I do believe in proselytizing) That is how many people there are in my city. Which would mean we need at least 12 churches of 200 soul winners to reach all 125,000+ people in our community.

What about in your community? How big is your city? Does your city have a population of 10,000 or more?

And if so…

Do you have an Adventist church? Are there 200 engaged–on fire, Jesus loving, people serving, Good News spreading–members in your church? Do you have enough churches & or enough members if your city is 20 thousand, 30 thousand, 40 thousand, 100,000, 500,000 people?

For most of you the answer will be NO!

How do I know? Because in the United States the mean size of a typical Adventist church is 215 members. That is good, except…there are only 4950 churches which in comparison to the population of the United States computes to just 1 church for every 63,267 people.

(Even if we took our total Adventist membership in the U.S. and divided it by 200 we would still only have 1 set of 200 people for every 58,900 people. Now probably wouldn’t be the right time to mention that only about half of all professed Adventists are “active” in their local churches right? Yeah that would be a much more dismal picture, so let’s at least let something be rose colored:)).

Back to our situation. In order to have 1 church for every 10k in the United States, we need 31,317 Adventist churches of at least 200 in the United States. So roughly, 26,350 more of our mean size (215) church.

So do we throw-up our hands and say impossible? Can’t be done? Do you remember that God that could reach everyone with just 1 that you were defending earlier when I was throwing-out numbers? Yes, He is still on the throne and He can very well do this! And He can very well do this through us!

Based on some quick adding and some quick math on my part. Let us state that there are about 750 churches with 300 members or more.

What if every church with at least 300 members, encouraged, taught, made a part of their culture, a membership tithe from the church. In other words if a church has 300 members they would ask 30 members to step out in faith and plant a church. If they have 400 members, 40, 500, 50…600 they plant two churches and send out two groups of 30.

What if a church such as Loma Linda University church made the decision to tithe their members. To call for 600 members to step out in faith and plant churches…what if they sent out 6 different teams of 100 to plant a church. 6 churches in 1 year. The same could be true for Pioneer Memorial Church, Pastor Dwight Nelson if he were to stand-up every year and teach every year his congregation to tithe themselves? Could they plant 3 churches of a 100 members every year? Why not? On faith they could!

Here is what I know about tithing financially. With an honest tithe I am never found in need! I believe the same would be true for our churches. If we stepped out in faith and said “we will not be satisfied with the inability to reach more people; we will not ignore the call to pray for more workers, we will actually send out more workers.”

If we were to do this, our churches would never be found wanting and the Adventist message would spread like wildfire!

Are you a Seventh-day Adventist believer? Then the above scenario is not something nice to throw around it is your calling!

“Upon ALL who believe, God has placed a burden of raising up churches.”

–Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 315


 

 

 

 

Pride Goeth…

As the King James Version states it: “Pride goeth before destruction…” Proverbs 16:8

An article from The Christian Century and picked up by the U.S.A. Today have recently been passed around amongst Adventists affirming our church growth in North America. Yesterday my twitter and e-mail box was a buzz with this article.  Most the comments from folk indicated excitement about our growth and making statements of pride regarding the growth of the Adventist Church in the U.S.. 

Here are a couple realities though:

We are the fastest growing church amongst the Mainline Protestant Denominations:

  • These denominations though have been on the decline for a number of years and our church is not being measured against all the non-denominational churches that are growing. 
  • We shouldn’t measure our growth by that of other denominations. Our measurment should be, “are we doing what God desires of us to do?”
  • We should ask is the growth we are experiencing something that seems impossible to man but possible to God? I would say probably not!  

We are growing more than any other mainline denomination in North America, but our growth is minimal in comparison to our past history and to the world:

  • From 1913 to 1975 we grew at a rate of 3.61%.  A full percent+ higher than we are currently growing, in other words our growth rate is also declining.  For more information on this see my previous post, “Increasing Our Presence” & Dr. Kidder’s article in Ministry Magazine.
  • The world church is exploding. Only about 1.1 million of the roughly 16 million Seventh-day Adventists are in North America, and as Dr. Clouzet pointed out in the The Christian Century article without the Hispanics in the United States this number would be far less!
  • Our ratio of churches to the population is far inferior to where we were 100 years ago when our church was still a fairly new denomination on the Christian landscape.  To reach the ratio we had at that point in history we would need to add 1,000 churches.

I believe it would be wise of all of us to celebrate the individuals that are accepting Jesus and the message we teach as Adventists, but to not celebrate our growth because we still have a LONG way to go and God can do so much more if we will all have the heart of Jesus to “save the Lost.” Matthew 18:11.  If we don’t have that heart and instead our hearts are turned to pride over our “growth” we will soon find destruction!

It would be mindful to hold in our thoughts the comment of Dr. Ron Clouzet in the Christian Century article,

“We don’t feel that we’re growing very much, and that is a source of concern, especially for North America,” said Ron Clouzet, director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. Hispanic Adventists are “the one group that is growing very well,” he added. “If we didn’t have that group, we would look even more dismal.””

May God increase and we decrease!

Increasing Our Presence

“There is an urgent need to plant churches if the North American Division (Seventh-day Adventist denomination) churches are to maintain their current presence in North American communities,” says Dr. Joseph Kidder in a recent article entitled “Reflections on the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America: Trends and challenges (part 1 of 2).” 

It is alarming that there is an “urgent” need to plant churches just to “maintain” our presence in our cities.  But does God call us simply to maintain our presence?  As I read scripture and particularly the great commission the goal from our Lord is always to “GO and make disciples”, to increase presence.  Dr. Kidder states, “Increasing the Adventist presence and visibility in local communities would require even more aggressive church planting efforts.”  To me what this is saying is that we must become multiplying churches!  Viral churches!  Churches that not only plant once, but that plant over and over again, or churches that plant churches, that plant other churches, that plant other churches…

Why does Dr. Kidder make these assertions and why do I agree with them?  In 1913 when our church was growing at one of its greatest rates we had one church for every 52,000 persons, but in 2005 (and I am sure the gap has grown even more in the 6 years since) there was one church for every 65,000 persons in North America. This is one of the factors for the church going from a 3.61% growth rate from 1913-1975 to a 0.06% growth rate from 1976-2005.  If we were to have the same ratio of churches to population as we did in 1913 we would need more than 1,000 new churches. 

What does this mean for my community? 

The current population of Visalia, California is just a little north of 125,000 persons with 2000 professed Adventists, 1.6% of population, but in actuality only 800 active (attending church at least once a month) members, 0.6% of population.  If we are going to reach all these people we are going to need more churches!  I used to think we would just need bigger churches, but after reading Dr. Kidder’s article and doing a fair amount of other research, “New Churches” are better able to reach folk than necessarily “bigger churches.” Which is why I think it is time to begin looking at a model of church multiplication rather than just church growth. 

Three zip codes make up Visalia and in those three zip codes which include some outlying rural areas as well.  The zip’s are 46,000, 38,000, & 56,000 (136,000 total) in population.  Why couldn’t there be an English church of at least 500 active members in each one of those zip codes?  Along with a Spanish church of at least 500 active members in each one of those zip codes? Do you know that would still only be 3000 active Adventists only 2.2% of those zip codes combined? That means there would still be 133,000 persons still to reach in just this one part of the valley.  So why not then dream bigger?  Why not six churches of 1000 or maybe 12 churches of 500?

Here is the great thing though, none of these churches would be competing for members!  The goal would be multiplying churches not just growing “my” church!  The goal would be increasing the presence of Jesus and sharing the Three Angels’ Message not increasing our membership rosters.  Right now what to often happens is a competition over the Adventists that already exist, even church plants are more often church splits that just siphon off members from other already existing Adventist communities. And in reality even our growing churches mine included, is more transfer growth than conversion or Kingdom growth.  We need to stop competing and we need to start planting churches TOGETHER to grow the Kingdom of God and increase His presence and His message in the hearts of all people.