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Helping make ready the bride of Christ (Rev.19:7-8)

Archive for the tag “relationships”

Part 1 — 50 Ways to Love Your Leaders….by Robert Beike

October is Pastor Appreciation month. In honor of church leaders, and in an effort to contribute to the cause, here are 50 ways to love your leaders all year round…part 1.

  1. Send them a card–this month & on their birthday.
  2. Celebrate their birthday. (even a small gesture like cake & ice cream)
  3. Recognize their wedding anniversary.
  4. Find ways to encourage them.
  5. Offer a sincere compliment. (think of something)
  6. Take notes when they speak. (doodling doesn’t count)
  7. Pray for them regularly.
  8. Buy or lend them a book that will benefit them. (Not just to make a point)
  9. Provide a Sabbatical. (And not a permanent one)
  10. Provide an occasional dinner out with spouse & family.
  11. Provide occasional child care.
  12. Provide a get-away; overnight or weekend.
  13. Give them an occasional bonus or “love offering.”
  14. Send them to a conference of their choice.
  15. Volunteer to help with some aspect of ministry.
  16. Provide some new office or study furniture. (Before the old collapses or becomes eligible for the National Historical Society)
  17. Compliment their children.
  18. Give them a gift card for clothing.
  19. Send them a thank-you card.
  20. Attend services regularly

…..to be continued

 

VELCRO CHURCH……………………..by Robert Beike

“Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as everyone had a need.”

ACTS 2:44-45 (HCSB)

Many churches seem to have a Teflon-like non-stick coating. First time guests don’t stick around and members seem to slip out the back door without much notice. Not so the first church of Jerusalem. Their fellowship was more like Velcro.

The word Velcro is a combination of the two French words velours and crochet, meaning “velvet” and “hook.” This hook-and-loop fastener was invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral. It consists of two components: lineal fabric strips that feature tiny hooks on one side, and even smaller loops on the other. When pressed together the hooks catch in the loops and the two pieces form a tight bond. Separating the two Velcro strips creates a distinctive “ripping” sound. (Wikipedia.org, “Velcro”)

These new believers in Jerusalem formed a Velcro kind of connection as available resources hooked to pressing needs. It was the kind of uncommon connection that “had everything in common.” This was not a “communistic” effort to redistribute wealth, and create an artificial equality, by taking from the “haves” to give to the “have-nots.” Instead, it was a genuine Christian community, caring for one another, and fleshing out the life of Christ in real servanthood. This was a family of believers putting others’ needs ahead of their own. They not only shared the word of God, but also, their worldly goods. They practiced what was preached.

Velcro churches are easy to spot. They stand out like cities on a hill. Authentic friendships replace superficial “friendliness.” Members carry ropes to rescue and not rocks to condemn. Meeting physical and spiritual needs is normal behavior for all members. Loving relationships create a kind of warm incubator conducive to safety and spiritual health. Connections in Velcro churches are so tight that if they are separated, for whatever reason, its as if they are being “ripped” apart.

The 10 Most Important People in Your Church on Sunday…by Robert Beike

1. Guests — Are newcomers treated as visitors who may come and go, or as guests who are expected, planned for, and made to feel welcome?

2. Greeters and Ushers — Smiles are the most cost effective outreach tools a church can employ. The first 4 minutes a guest is on your property are the most critical. What kind of impression are you making? Is your attitude saying, “stay away,” or “come and stay?”

3. Custodial Workers — Is your facility clean and uncluttered, especially in the ladies restroom and nursery?

4. Nursery and Children’s Workers — Are parents confident their children are well cared for and safe?

5. Sunday School/Small Group Workers — Are all attendees valued and made to feel welcome? Is God’s word being taught for transformation and not just information?

6. People who sit next to new people — Are new people ignored or included? Are they introduced to others and their comfort considered?

7. Worship Leader(s) — Is there warmth and enthusiasm? Are the people engaged in authentic worship, escorted into the presence of God?

8. People who sing — This includes the congregation as well as singers of special music. Are they smiling? is there joy? Genuineness?

9. Pastor — It’s no mistake that the pastor is so far down on the list. Unless the first eight are positive influences the pastor’s role is extremely difficult. Still, the pastor can make a huge difference. Is he engaging and people friendly? Does he handle God’s word with integrity? Does he communicate God’s truth clearly?

10. Follow-up Person(s) — Is appreciation for guests’ attendance expressed? Is an invitation for further involvement extended? Are questions adequately answered? The first 48 hours following the service is critical in securing their further participation.

 

SEVEN DEADLY SIGNS of an unfriendly church….by Robert Beike

Though not exhaustive, these seven signs of unfriendliness are usually deadly to the possibility of guests returning or connecting to your church.

 

1. No (or unclear) directional signs inside or outside your facility

Unfortunately, familiarity often breeds contempt for strangers. Once we know the ropes we forget about those who don’t and it becomes every man, woman, and child for themselves. Put yourself in the place of a first-time guest and ask; “Do I know which door to enter?” (What if that door leads to the choir loft, or the front of the worship service? What if it opens into the Pastor’s study? Or maybe its locked and I’ll make a fool of myself.)  “Do I know where the childcare or classes are located? Where are the restrooms? Etc.

2. No greeters other than someone handing out bulletins.

Strategically placed greeters not only say “hello,” but their presence communicates to guests that they are special and you’ve been expecting them. A smiling face, a warm handshake, and a helping hand are hallmarks of a friendly church. Many churches place greeters in the parking lot, at the entrances, in the classrooms, and worship area. They not only welcome folks but also are available to walk people to where they need to go. (By the way, even regular attendees appreciate a friendly greeting.) Can’t find anyone in the church with a friendly disposition willing to greet guests?…Well, that may be another deadly sign.

3. No information about your church is readily available.

A greeter armed with brochures, or a wecome station stocked with newsletters, info cards, and Sunday School/small group information, and other opportunities to plug in or get connected is extremely valuable. It tells your guests who you are, what you’re about, and that you’d like them to be a part too.

4. No one introduces himself or herself to, or welcomes the guest(s).

You’re probably thinking that this never happens. That’s probably because you haven’t attended any churches other than your own lately. Check out the friendliness quotient of your church by enlisting a non-attendee to show up some Sunday and give you honest feedback (A kind of “mystery shopper”).

5. No one extends an invitation to lunch or to return next week.

People will connect to your church through relationships. If they can’t relate they won’t return. You will need to overcome your discomfort to make them comfortable. You will need to make others part of your life if you want them to be part of God’s kingdom. Hospitality may be the church’s most under utilized gift.

6. No general word of welcome is offered from the pulpit/platform.

What is said from the platform can make a big difference in how one feels from the pew. How the welcome is extended is critical. Normally, its not wise to call guests by name, have them stand, or stand in their honor (while they are seated). You don’t want to embarrass them in any way. In today’s culture people seek a degree of anonymity, yet don’t want to be totally ignored. Find a balance that works in your setting. Use the term “guest” rather than “visitor” and simply thank them for coming. Have registration material available in the pews/chairs and encourage them to fill it out and place in the offering. Bulletin tear-offs work well for this and can be used by everyone present to allow for prayer concerns, decisions, and other requests. A bonus would be a time and place after the service for guests to meet with the pastor and have refreshments.

7. No follow up within 48 hours of guests attending.

You have a two-day window to make a positive impression after someone attends your church. After that the possibilities of their connecting with your ministry are dramatically reduced. Send a letter, a card, an e-mail, or make a phone call to say thank you, invite them back, offer assistance, etc. In some cases a brief drop-by to leave literature or a gift is appropriate (hint: keep the car motor running and the car door open to signal the brevity of your stay). Also, if the contact person is someone other than the Pastor it is of more value. Sorry, but a non-clergy contact is often considered more genuine.

Get S.M.A.R.T. About EVANGELISM….by Robert Beike

Let’s get S.M.A.R.T. about evangelism. No, I’m not referring to a “cone of silence,” or communicating via shoe phone, for those old enough to remember the TV series. I’m talking about a holistic approach to reaching more people for Jesus. Examine your church’s entire ministry and overall approach to fleshing out the great commission. Is there proper focus on others, and their need for the gospel? Do the elements of church life work together to create positive synergy for evangelism? Here are some ways your church can get S.M.A.R.T. about evangelism.

SPIRITUAL CLIMATE

Learn to become a spiritual climatologist, and evangelism environmentalist. The spiritual atmosphere of your church largely determines if you will experience showers of blessings or a draught in the baptistry.

Pray for souls to be saved, and for believers to be bold. Preach the word of God in season and out. Stress outreach and include gospel presentations in Sunday School classes and small groups. Conduct regular witness training, and set aside  specific times for outreach. Make use of testimonies. Be mindful that every kind word and caring act enhances the spiritual climate of your church and community. We must be good news if we are to share the “good news.”

MINISTRY TO OTHERS

Get outside the walls of the church and serve beyond the gravitational pull of the membership. Discover the needs of others around you and develop ministries to meet those needs. Recovery ministries, child care, food distribution, tutoring, literacy classes, and servant evangelism efforts are just a sample. Create your own list of 101 ways to reach out to your community.

ACTIVITIES FOR OTHERS

Include those outside the church in activities of the church. In fact, initiate activities just for them. Vacation Bible School, concerts, musicals, dinner theaters, recreation, family movie nights, and game nights (including video games), just scratch the surface of possibilities. But, activites need not be just an inside job. Consider how others can join you in engaging the community for Christ.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS

Equip and encourage the church to cultivate relationships with neighbors, co-workers, and others in their constellation of influence. Learn to genuinely care for them and show it. Practice a lifestyle of evangelism, and “infiltration” tactics, so when Sunday services are over the church is strategically deployed not simply dispersed. Be salt and light by “infiltrating” organizations, teams, exercise classes, and other venues where lost people gather. As Jesus demonstrated, meeting people where they are is the first step to getting them to where God wants them to be.

TRUTH SHARED WITH OTHERS

Become an opportunist. Be sensitive to holy moments and divine appointments. Share the truth about Jesus; who He is, what He has done, and the difference He makes in your life.

Since evangelism is a top priority of the church and every Christian’s job, let’s get S.M.A.R.T. about it.

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