(Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks, we will share excerpts from Bill Easum’s keynote address to the 2011 Innovation Forum, October 20, in Nashville, Tennessee. Part 3 continues today, as Bill continues to share observations from his years of consulting.)
Less is Best
- Most church plants try to do too much too soon.
- All that is needed to begin is worship, children’s ministry, some form of intimate settings, and a facility coordinator.
- It’s best to lose some folks than to try to be all things to all people too early.
- List the essential ministries you’re going to need the day you open for public services
- Ask, what are the few specific things we do really well?
- Teach your people to say, “We’re not there yet.”
- Understand that some people who visit actually do “need” a full-service church and may leave. Let them.
Thriving Plants Focus on Four Core Processes
1. Bringing People in the front door.
When I see a successful plant that reaches 500 in worship I find a pastor who is still focused on getting people in the seats. Here are four things I see in every planter reaching the unchurched:
- a heart for those far from God;
- a knowledge of the community in which you serve;
- a personal story to tell;
- and a willingness to set aside regular time to connect and establish relationships with the unchurched.
So here is how to connect with the unchurched.
- Mine the unchurched relationships your new members have with the unchurched. New members are more likely to have relationships with unchurched people than anyone else in their church. So instead of getting people so involved within the church that they don’t have any free time equip them to share their story with their networks.
- Plan weekly practical deeds in the community on a weekly basis. It doesn’t matter what these events are as long as they do four things: bless the people you’re helping; bless the city; bless those who are doing the practical deed; and cause visibility for your church. This is one of the most important ministries a church can undertake. The more you bless your city and others, the more God will bless your ministry. And it is also one of the few ministries I’ve seen that usually becomes intergenerational.
- Set aside a regular time every week to figure out how to reach unchurched people in your area. If you look for them, you will find them.
- Actually follow through and spend time with the unchurched people you discover in your search.
- You can find a long list of possibilities at http://effectivechurch.com/about-us/bill-easum/ in the FAQS section.
2. The second core process is Retaining Those Who Show Up. Hospitality is a key issue, including first impressions, worship, follow up and small groups.
3. The third core process is Equipping Those Who are Ready
- A process is in place to multiply leaders through one-one-one mentoring rather than courses or membership classes.
- A Staff that knows how to hand-off ministry.
- And a small group system that raises up people.
4. The fourth core process is Sending People Back Out into the Community. The more that is done on a weekly basis, the larger the visibility, the louder the buzz, the more the community is affected, the more the servants invite their friends, and the larger the church becomes. To round it all out you need neighborhood small groups who not only meet together for community but they also adopt their neighbor and seek to transform it through incarnational living. In other words, the small groups become what I call backyard missionaries. Outside of mainstream: This is becoming the primary ministry of more and more churches.
What are your thoughts on Easum’s proposals? Share your thoughts here and be on the lookout for Part 4 of “Excerpts from Easum” soon.
Email Bill Easum at email@example.com