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Logo of ASI 2018: Business Unusual

Panel Discussion: Sticky Church

Douglas Na'a Michelle Doucoumes Eric Flickinger
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Turn your church into a new member magnet! Discover simple steps that will help guests stick around rather than move along. From their first impression as they drive by to enthusiastic involvement in church ministry, you will discover how to attract and keep new members in your church. 




  • August 3, 2018
    10:45 AM
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Welcome glad that you are here this morning for those of you who may not know which seminar your in you just chose the most appropriate room in closest 1 you are about to learn how to build a sticky church we are you looking here at unusual witness the track that that teaches us by the grace of God how we can be more effective in witnessing to others so how to build a sticky church is what we're going to be looking at this morning my name is Eric flick and you're on the associate speaker for it is written I'm joined in this panel discussion by 2 very good friends and colleagues of mine we have Michele dickless who is an assistant associate professor assistant professor there we go of business at Southern Adventist University she's also 1 of the instructors at the salt program salt is so winning and leadership training you know how we Adventists love acronyms can't seem to get away from them so the salt is so winning in leadership training it is the the soul winning school the vandalism school of it is written and Southern administering diversity we work together with the program and we have at the far end of the table there Douglas nahi is the director of the salt program there on the campus of Southern you know he's dedicated to the work of soul winning because he came to the program from pastoring in a place called whole Y. e so we are grateful to have him here Absolutely and our hope and prayer is that our time together the smarting from 1045 till right about noon is going to be beneficial and will give us some practical ideas of how to build a sticky church so let's begin with prayer then I'll share with you a little bit of a story those of you who have maybe heard me speak before know that I love stories and the kind of stories I love most are ones that we call true stories how many of you love true stories so I'll be sharing a true story with you to get started that we'll have a little bit of discussion among ourselves and then have a bit of a panel discussion so we'll kind of work through this hour and 15 minutes and by the grace of God it will be a blessing to you let's pray. Father this morning we're grateful to be able to be here together to talk about the work that you have called each 1 of your children to and that is witnessing and soul winning I can't imagine that there is much that brings greater joy to your heart than seeing someone who makes a decision to choose to be with you throughout eternity so bless us as we seek to find ways this morning that we can help our churches to not just gain members but to retain them and to teach them how they can be active participants in the work of soul winning as well bless us as we endeavor to do that guide and direct our conversation today in Jesus' name we pray men. For share a story with you about Keith and Jenny I met Keith and Jenny several years ago when I was doing an evangelistic campaign in Kentucky and as I visited with them they were members of the church had been for a little while anyway and I talked with them and I always like to hear stories from the church members about how they came to the church how did they come to the truth what what touched their hearts and made them make that decision to join the 7th Day Adventist Church and so I was having dinner with them 1 evening they're young ish couple I guess they're getting younger and younger ish and younger ish by the by the year as I get older and older ish but they were probably early thirty's and had a couple of young kids talk with them I said How did you hear this message and they said you know it was interesting we got a handbill in the mail 1 day for a seminar a Bible prophecy seminar that sounded really interesting so we decided to go to it we couldn't go the 1st few nights but we went several nights after it had started and the night that we went they were identifying the anti christ Beast of Revelation 13 we thought that sounds really interesting and so they came and they were sitting there in the audience in the chairs and as the evangelist was going through the identifying marks of the little horn in the. The 2nd beast of our 1st piece of Revelation Chapter 13. Started to kind of to sink down in his chair point after point after point after point his wife said What are you doing what's what's wrong with you he said I know the identity of the anti Christ. And it just so happens that Keith and his wife were raised Catholics so he was seeing the points and they were settling home and he knew kind of where things were going but he also realized that what he was hearing was Biblically accurate he said I can't deny it it doesn't make me feel comfortable but I can't deny it it's the truth and at the end of the campaign Keith and his wife Jenny were baptized and joined the church excited about it but not long after that some members of the church kind of pulled them aside and said you know that seminar that you went to was really really good and they shared a lot of things with you but there are a few things that they didn't cover during the seminar that it would be good for you to know about and they started to tell Keith and Jenny about the time of trouble that was coming and how there was going to be great persecution against the Adventists and they started to tell them about how concentration camps were being built across the country right now to How's the Sabbath keepers during this difficult time and how the government had already begun surveillance of them from the time that they were baptized and how black helicopters would circle their neighborhood and keep keep watch on them you can imagine what this did to Keith and Jenny they started looking over their shoulders everywhere they went they were very uncomfortable they they after a while they started thinking you know what if this is what it's all about we really don't need this and so they seriously begin to contemplate leaving the church. By the grace of God Some other members saw what was happening I will say some more well balanced members saw what was happening and they they drew close to Keith and Jenny and they built positive relationships and friendships and trust with them and help them to see the Gospel a little bit more clearly and to not focus on some things that may not have a complete element of truth to them and so by the grace of God Keith and Jenny were brought back into a little more positive relationship with the message of the scripture in the church and they stayed in the church so that 1 had a good ending and do all the stories have good endings I think if you're here this morning it's probably because you're familiar with 1 or 2 stories that don't necessarily have good endings and so were at least don't have good presents maybe the ending yet will be good by the grace of God but I wanted to give us a little exercise to get started this morning why do people leave the 7th Day Adventist Church often there's really not a single reason but it's a journey it's sort of starts with something a seed being planted and then that seed grows into something more ominous and then something else gets added to it and there's a snowball effect that ultimately results in people leaving the church I want to encourage you to think of someone you know who is no longer in the church how many of you can think of at least 1 person that is no longer in the church that's nearly every end in here. Think of that 1 person or family and ask yourself what significant events in their journey brought them to that point of decision why did they leave if you have some idea what were the things that brought them to that I want to encourage you to find somebody near you groups of no more than 32 or 3 people share with your neighbor about this person or this family and what caused them to to leave we're not going to judge or critique their decision right now it just describe it to the person who's sitting next to you and then we're going to share together as a group and we'll share about 2 or 3 of these stories and see if these stories marry up to what we're about to share with you for the general experiences as to why people leave the church to take about 4 minutes something like that just share briefly with somebody the seated near you about someone you know who left the church have them share with you and then we're going to share a few of those stories amongst ourselves so take just a few minutes to do that if you would. All right then ask for just a couple of volunteers who in over the course of about 3 to 4 sentences can just share very concisely about the experience with the person that you're talking about Rosalyn as it has a mike back there if you're willing to share just very briefly about that person or family that you that's on your mind and what brought them to the decision to leave the church just raise your hand in the air again we're looking for just 34 sentences very brief this will kind of give us an idea of what everybody is experiencing there we go there's a hand up. I know they left the church because the church has Sunday preachers come in and preach to them all right so you had Sunday preachers coming in preaching on a in a Sabbath church is going to change some things yet go right ahead I had a grand uncle who accepted Christ but left the church because the church I'll read a statement from Eleanor it partially read that statement that Christians ought not to vote and did not really explain what it meant and really TRUE him into a fit he went out and drank himself to that all right so that's a scene a judgment is not a good thing to judge mentalism and statements taken out of context very good another hand back there so I was meeting with this gentleman back here in the corner and we both agreed that have for social reasons church not being social enough if you go to a church and you don't have family or close friends to visit with after church you have individuals that come and go to church and they're not connected through the week outside of that church and so people drift because of the social aspect social in an aspect we get maybe 1 or 2 more hands I think we've got a moment 1 in the back here anybody else at 1 time for 1 more I think already ahead for me once I visited 70 administered and it wasn't pleasant you know it was a little races all right you know 1 scene where there's another hand right up here it's Raise your hand up 1 more times the Rosalyn can find her she's moving quickly look at her go thank you Rosalind. There we go another 1 we got a couple couple of them so that we got you and that's why we got on the red head was there we go. We've had people leave our church from being overworked you know overworked you know burnt out you know when you've got just a few people who are doing everything makes the challenge and then right back here I think just behind you Roslyn go right ahead right behind. I have. Been at these. Salif that 20 students because he sat 2 fan at the. 2 fanatic very good all right thank you very much we can go and bring the mike back up here to Michelle. All right thank you very much so let's let's talk a little bit about what's happening statistically for every 100 new members who join the administration 49 of them eventually leave the church that's what the statistics have been telling us of late we're doing a fairly good job of gaining members that there aren't too many Protestant faiths out there that are gaining people faster than we are if there are any we may be at the top of the heap but we're also losing them pretty quickly so out of the out of existing members about 1 in 3 are going to leave this loss is even more significant among young adults I think many of us realize that we're up to 70 percent are leaving the church so the question is have we left the back door and some might suggest also the side door swinging wide open so why are people leaving only about 5 percent say that it's because of doctrine the vast majority say doesn't mean to do with the doctrine that the church is teaching biblically it's accurate that's what 95 percent are saying the largest portion 028 percent said that they left because they just sort of drifted away 25 percent cited a lack of compassion I think that was shared over here so a quarter of them 19 percent cited the moral failure they wanted to live right they slipped up they fell they felt bad about it and they didn't feel that they could come back to church 18 percent said they did not fit in we had several people mentioned that we just don't fit into this congregation 14 percent felt that there was too much of a focus on minor issues so what do you notice about each of these. People drifted away a lack of compassion a moral failure not fitting in focusing on minor issues what do you notice about those things those reasons why people left not making friends not connecting with people. Yet going to judge mentalism So 1 of the nice things about all of these reasons they can be fixed these are fixable doctrine is doctrine it is what the Bible teaches this is fixable so 1 of the most significant facts we found in reasons for people leaving is a stressful life event somebody moved out of state they had been in a church where they fit in regularly they had a regular church life and then they moved out of state and had to find a new congregation it just didn't quite fit like the old 1 marriage lot of times when people get married that's a big life event and you're looking for either a new church or when your spouse comes to join your church it changes the dynamic divorce a death in the family all big stressful life events and what did the church do many people said when these things happened the church did Guess what nothing when I got divorced nobody said anything at least nothing positive right when when we left town few people even recognize the fact that we had left no 1 noticed no effort to reach out. But there's good news in this very few of the former members though are hostile toward the church most of them don't hate the church they just say you know what the church just didn't care about me and because they didn't care I figured I'd just move on but they're not hostile and about 58 percent of them said that under certain circumstances they would be open to reconnecting with Adventism that's a pretty good stat I mean if we're going to look for the silver lining on the on the dark cloud 6060 percent more or less said you know what if the opportunity came I'd be open to coming in reconnecting with the church that's all right now our hope and prayer though is that we never get to this point we don't want the people to leave so that we have to bring them back so what can we do to make church a little stickier so that people it's a church becomes a member magnet they want to stay by so we're going to spend a little bit of time talking about how we keep people in we'll break this down into 3 different areas embracing new members to begin with empowering them and then employing them in active labor for the Lord and when I use the word employ here the verb employ I'm speaking less of fiduciary compensation and more in the frame of mind of active use how do we use them actively And so we're going to spend a little bit of time talking about this between ourselves and Willow will invite you to participate as well. And talking and breaking it down into Like I said 3 different areas of 1st of all in embracing our new members who come into the church and again I'm joined by the shell and the DOUGLAS They both have no small amount of experience in dealing with churches from Bible work perspective from pastoral perspective from evangelists perspective from beginning to end we've got a fair bit of experience up here and a story or 2 I reckon along the way that we're going to hear so let me just kind of open up by asking this question what have churches done what have you found the churches have done to be more friendly just to be a welcoming place that people new people can come into and can feel like they're being embraced by a by the new church. Any thoughts there. Well that's a lot there's a lot that can go under that but I have found that some of it starts at the very beginning they say you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression for a herd that's what happens when people come in the door even that's 1 place that I have started or seen help with churches that I've been a part of is really making an effort for the greeters to be more than bulletin dispensary and I've been to churches where walk in the door to the nice happy Sabbath in a bulletin that's it no 1 is like this is where you go oh oh can I help you no 1 remembers the name and so we started making an effort to really try to remember people's names and then even some cold things to know where the visitors were so this was really kind of subversive 1 thing we tried as we got a little gift like a little flower or something for people who are new to the church or visitors and they liked it but that was a code for the rest of the members to know hey there's someone new go talk to them so it's kind of a secret way a little different than just having all the visitor stand up in the middle of the church service and so let's just 1 thing the Start with us trying to find ways from the very beginning when they walk into know who they are and to have other members know also go say hi to this person make friends with them. You know 1 of the things that I have. When I was posturing that I try to focus on is getting church members to embrace each other. Before they you know it's really difficult to embrace another person when they come into a church that's not even embracing each other and so I think that has been 1 of the 1 of things for me that I have you know try to and it comes in the form of training in you know dealing with conflicts in the church but just getting the church to embrace each other and I think when new members come into the church and they see that. It's an easy so it does make a big difference 1 thing that I've seen churches do very effectively is to have regular name tags Sabbaths What's the benefit of a name tag Sabbath if you've ever been a part of a decent sized church it's not uncommon for members to not know the names of other members the sort of a code word or code phrase that you'll hear expressed in administrations on a regular basis happy Sabbath brother as you pass in the hallway happy Sabbath sister happy Sabbath brother you know what that really means right means you don't remember their name that's that's really what it means but but if you have regular name tag Sabbath just with the 1st name everybody in church members guests everybody wears a name tag that helps the members not have to go through that awkward discussion or talk with the other member that they can't remember their name if they see on a regular basis the names the 1st names of people who are in the church all the time all of a sudden the awkwardness disappears because they now know the names of the other members of the church and once they know the names of the other members then they can start to know the names of guests and get to know them too I really liked your point on that list is that the whole idea that if we're not building community with ourselves how are we going to bring other people into that now some churches going the opposite side and it becomes clear and that can be a problem too we're only comfortable with ourselves and we don't bring other people in I mean I remember going to 1 church once where they have the visitors go through the potluck line 1st you know site didn't sat down and no 1 sat with me the entire potluck they all went and sat with their friends so we don't want to do that but at the same time if we're having good community with each other then that helps to bring people in a member doing an activity and 1 church where we kind of practice the fort acronym Have you heard of that asking people about their family their occupation their religion their testimony. I just did it with our church members and in a couple of them were neighbors on the same street didn't know it we don't know each other very well so maybe taking the time to actually get to know people more than the surface I find that it's so easy to just have surface conversation how are you I'm fine I praise the Lord we just have no idea how people are really doing in life I found this pretty cool in 1 church I'm going to with a designated a certain amount of parking space that's closest to the church building for visitors you know it's pretty frustrating for visitors to come and they have to park halfway across the other side of the parking lot and in you know it's in a visible area so those that are standing by the most of the greeters when they see these visitors coming in parking on these days in a parking spots they're really you know that they're visitors rather than waiting for the end of the divide now worship to invite people to potluck you can invite them as soon as they walk into the church building and I have found a church members do that I think that's awesome rather than waiting tools you just right there at the beginning as they are about to grab their brochure or their whatever their literature you say he was thing and point like afterwards would you like to join us afterwards for that song and let them know already that they're that they're welcome. Michel you made mention of of potlucks and south sometimes it can feel awkward to go through a line 1st and not know where you're going to sit I do like to do something with churches I think it's kind of fun not all the members think it's wonderful but but I found it very helpful that kind of alleviates that problem what I'll do when I start working with the churches I will tell them how potlucks are going to go during the time that I'm going to be there rather than having the guests stand up and go through the line 1st which kind of makes them feel little singled out and again the tough for them to find a place to sit and somebody sit with them. I invite everybody to go and find a seat at the table 1st and then we dismiss by table to go through the line but here's the way that that we do it now we don't tell the guest the members know that this is the way it works and the pastor and I if I'm the visiting evangelist knows the way it works we're going to dismiss the tables that have the most to guests 1st. So we'll tell we'll tell the church members listen you can sit at any table that you want but if you sit with a bunch of Adventists I can guarantee you something you're going through the line last if you want to go through the line 1st you go find a table that has a bunch of guests sitting at it and you're going to go through the line faster than other people so it doesn't take long before the members start sitting with guests and they get to know the guests and so forth so we're going to not to not to punish anybody but what it does is it helps to encourage the members to get to know guests to visit with them and to realize that this is actually normal or should be normal rather than just a click ish as you mentioned a little while ago now what about if you have a church I've visited churches before and before the service during the announcement time the head elder or somebody will make an announcement we're glad to welcome you to the A.B.C. 7th Day Adventist Church where the friendliest church this side of the Ohio River or something like that and after visiting there for you know 20 minutes you're going No really you're not you know you're 1 of the least friendly churches the side of the Ohio River but you can't very well tell them that So when you do have a church that's that thinks it's friendly but really isn't what are some ways some subtle ways that you can. Help move the church. What's the word I want to use here move them in the right direction without without forcing and banging the pulpit any any ideas in that. You know that's and you're a member at the church no no when you visit the church. Of clarify that visited churches like that yes OK No if you're if you're a member yes if you're a member if you're a member of the church of course you can begin with just 1 person a few people just to kind of change the direction in the the D.N.A. of the church it begins of just a few people saying look we want to be more intentional now in China direct out church to becoming more and more friendly. Of course we all know there's a structure in the church these protocols and procedures of how we can go about a book I don't think it needs to be possible bold means saying look we're going to be a friendly church you know this is just 1 of things you just. Friendliness has to be organic. And that's and that's what and that's what makes a genuine Where is it friendliness is imposed like hi my name is Douglas I've been assigned to be a friend the Sabbath you know the nominating committee assigned me to be a free sample you know just that's not organic that's not genuine and so I think framing this needs to be organic in it's 1 of those things that you know it just comes I'm going to come across naturally and I'm still trying to figure out a way of how to train members to be natural friends so if we're noticing that the church is unfriendly change really starts with us exactly us being more friendly and welcoming to people Michel so I might say this is probably really easy for Douglas but I want to make a confession Eric to you guys are like evangelists people but when I was 1st up Bible worker I meant to admit I knew that it was actually my mite job to go and make friends with people like I'm supposed to figure out who the guests are and meet them and whatnot and I'm naturally an introvert you might not know but it's. And so I would sit there when the closing him would play during church and I would think oh no I need to go meet people I'm going to be friendly now. Well I will tell you what the Lord helps look that some of us is more natural than others but it actually becomes natural as we do it and so I would encourage that even if it's not some people you like that's my personality I'm going to meet everyone I'm friendly some of us aren't and it takes a little more work but it's worth it a lot of times I've realized that there are reasons that are not friendly maybe we want to be but we don't know how especially you're talking to like Nolen Adventists and people we don't relate to what do we do with that and the Lord will help us but it takes me putting myself aside a lot of times the reasons that we don't as I'm selfish I'd rather go sit with my friends and talk to other people and I have to consciously say Lord remove my selfishness so that I care about other people and what the church is about rather than just what I feel like doing right now so we ought to be stepping out there and doing things ourselves you talk about being organic Douglas and there's there's much to be said for that but needs to be said what about something like a program like a spiritual friends program where there are there are individuals who are you mentioned like being a Bible worker but who are are tasked with your responsibilities to make sure that this new member who comes in gets connected with people how would something like a spiritual friends or spiritual guardians or spiritual parents program work just kind of concisely how what would that going to look like I think that's really the missing link you mentioned about Jane and Julie who is an earlier on I think that if right from the right from the get go Jane and Jerry were assigned a spiritual freend maybe they would. Those folks there. That a while meaningful in their intentions but I think spiritual friends. Another word for sports fans will be if someone is a disciple a mental some other they could be accountable to but I think that 51 selecting in our church today is funny good solid spiritual friends and coming up with a criteria. On who qualifies to be a main tool a spiritual frame or a structured program if you will that connects good solid members with the new members to make sure that they are they are guided through this transition time exactly and it might seem like a little bit like we're speaking contradicting ourselves here because on 1 side it's saying it's got to be organic on another site or say we're going to make a program but here's the deal the sad truth is everyone thinks someone else is going to do it and so there are people that fall through the cracks because I think Eric is is keeping up with Joe and Eric's not cause their thought Douglas was and yeah we the spiritual friends program does not require replace organic friendliness but it's simply a net to make sure that everyone has someone looking out for them that people don't fall through the cracks that there is at least 1 person who will be sure to notice if I'm not at church or something's going on in my life or remember what my birthday was and so creating that having a structure is not it's not necessarily bad it creates kind of a safety net so we don't lose people that way to different people have different gifts different members have different gifts and some of them have the gift of of being outgoing and friendly and others are more more structured so there's a place for both it's interesting that when the new member joins a church it is often been say that they go through 3 stages the 1st stage is the honeymoon stage. In the timeframe where the honeymoon stage could very this is where the new member thinks that the Church is perfect nobody can sit in the church I mean everybody or sinks in the love the Church for what it is they're all float and 6 inches off the battlefield this is just off the. And so new members often go through a honeymoon stage the 2nd phase that new members go through after the honeymoon stage is the discouraged and disillusioned stage this is after a while they start seeing some inconsistency in the church they start noticing politics in the church they start hearing gossip in the church and this is when the new member is at its most vulnerable that's this is this is where they are just bombarded day date this is not the church they thought it was and are not only that but of course the culture shock to the difference in diet the difference in dress even in the difference in worship in and a lot of is just just coming at them all at 1 time and by the grace of God If they stick it out if they hang in there then they go up to the next stage where they feel at home and I think that at all 3 of these stages there needs to be a spiritual free and to guide them to come to lead them and say look when you become discouraged when you become disillusioned it's not a middle if it's a matter of when right this is you know this is just coming into kind of guarding them along through those 3 phases of. Of a new member joining a church so Spicher forensics so that these 3 stages that you're talking about. As people move through these 3 stages and by the grace of God on to the 3rd when they don't fall out in the 2nd stage they need some help along the way they need to learn how to develop a potion a life how to study the Bible for themselves how to learn how to share their faith how to defend their faith let's talk a little bit about empowering a new person what can we do to give them the tools the skills the. What they need to make it through the disillusionment phase to the to the atoms phase give me some ideas of what that would look like you know also an experience that I had last Sabbath and this is kind of relates to both sides of this. You know people go through those stages in the large sense but I. I think we all go through it in micro senses throughout our throughout her career in the church throughout our lifetime and a lot of times it's when those tough times happen whether it's the solution that with the church or just stuff going on in life and so you know this last Saturday I was having some some stuff going on and not feeling very well about things and there was a family who invited me home for lunch as a really simple thing but I just needed I know that the Lord had them do that these are awesome people people of prayer who just said hey let me invite a few of you home and that was something that also makes a difference in that embracing category but it's also part of the empowerment having the personal relations with people who are strong when you're not people that can encourage each other just fellowshipping is part of what helps me to grow and I when you got there is people who are modeling genuine Christian behavior because it is you've got a new person who's coming into the church many times they'd be OK I'm supposed to keep the Sabbath holy So I go to church and then after church ah a Sabbath you're supposed to it's a day of rest so I go home and ice sleep the rest of the day and they're not quite sure what the Sabbath looks like so if you've got somebody who invites you home to their lunch after to their house for lunch after SOB that gives them an opportunity kind of model what. Keeping the Sabbath is is kind of like and as you've got people who are interacting with you they are modeling other things like say devotional life or Bible study or something like that or what what you would do on a Sabbath afternoon as opposed to. The traditional lay activities so to speak so what are some other things that a friend might be able to do to to guide you in your in your walk to empowering I think the best is and I've mentioned this in class also is that a spiritual friend or discipleship I love the definition where 1 person says that discipleship is simply truth being told in the context of a relationship in love times we can we can share truth outside the context of a relationship and I think really the best way is to model it yourself I mean here's a person here that just got baptized last week invite him over all set up a time every Tuesday mornings at 7 in the morning and say hey look we're going to have personal devotions together in that I think by them seeing it maybe holding it themselves they can get a grasp on how devotions are done rather than being taught in identical way where the teacher stands up in front and just mixtures on it they can actually see it. Being you know there's something tangible something concrete that they could that they could fix themselves on so talking about new members and how they're becoming a part of the church family you know the great commission Matthew 281020 or 1620 depending on how you want to slice it. We often quote it we know what it is but many times it's interesting we talk about what the Great Commission is Jesus says go there for and do what teach all nations they the New King James of the more modern translations translate a little bit differently I think a little more accurately it says Go therefore and make the sign disciples what it DOESN'T say is Go therefore and make church members and there's a big difference between a church member and a disciple now often our last. Members what is a disciple and the answer that I commonly get as a disciple is a follower of Jesus. Now I don't know if you've ever taken a an exam where the instructions above the multiple choice answers said This choose the most correct answer from the ones below Have you taken an exam like that aren't aren't those the exams that you dread my student could explain the students complain everybody complains and rightly so they're tough because you've got several correct answers so what is a disciple of Jesus a disciple is a follower of Jesus that's correct but it's not really the most correct answer because the a disciple by definition is someone who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading them so if Jesus commission is to go and make disciples what he's really telling us is not to just make church members but to make followers of him who will make followers of him who will make followers of him who will make followers of him so if we're making disciples which we should be doing there's got to be some measure of training that's involved in that talk talk with me a little bit about training a person in some practical ways what might that look like. Well you know training to be our traditional like training classes weekend seminars difference in the things that we talk about how to how to share your faith how to do some of these different types of things I think sometimes we miss some basics in our training like how do I really study the Bible for myself I mean people you came out of Angeles 6 series you got spoon fed a bunch of stuff and then you go home and you try to read the Bible and what do you do and how do I digest it and how do I pull stuff out of it and so you know some of the training may start just in genuinely out a way to learn to be a Christian what does that mean you know if they're going to go through some challenges like you have done this is called if you don't want to follow your intellect to read it this this quote to me from the pain of inspiration has always been the definition in my mind of what it means to train in the cycle someone and you can go wrong with Jesus in his she says for 3 and a half for 3 and a half years the disciples were under the instruction of the greatest teacher the world has ever known. By personal contact and association now that's what makes a great teacher that's what makes a spiritual friend by personal contact and association Christ trained them so I think that's the definition of training is is training them in the context of a relationship by personal contact in association Christ trained them for his service day by day walk and talk with him hearing his words in order to go to see if they got to hear it hearing his words of cheer to the wary and heavy laden and seeing of the power the manifestation was power so they only got to see it they want to hear it also in behalf of the sick and the afflicted Sometimes he told him sitting among them on the mountainside sometimes beside the sea or walking by the way he revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom of God wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message he unfolded the truth of the way of salvation he did not command the disciples to do this or that but but said to them follow me and close off by saying on his journeys through country and cities he took them with him he took them. And that they might see how he taught the people I think that's training that's discipleship they travel with him from place to place and this is what I love about this quote They shared his frugal fare. They shared his frugal fare and like him were sometimes hungry and often weary and this is what revolutionary this is what a radical to me about the trip and being a spiritual friend on the crowded streets by the Lakeside in the lonely days that they were with him and this is the quote that really gets me they referring to the disciples saw him in every phase of life they saw him in every phase of life and I think part of being a spiritual mental part of being a disciple or is that 1 must be transparent vulnerable and open for people to see of vulnerabilities for people to see you know every face. That's including Jesus is discouraged these 2 you know a lot of times we just want to show our members the good side we're the C.E.O. said with off the moon is a huge thing as well but not so with Jesus through the cycle so Jesus in every phase of his life what it sounds like you're telling us that you've got to involve them in your life more than just on Sabbath It's not like if I feel like this I was like 5 minutes. And I had to that's super powerful and that whole concept of really living the real real life I had a friend earlier this year who shared some personal struggles that they were going through and basically said look you know I'm telling you because I don't feel like I can tell anyone my family's busy and if I told my church I feel like they'd just excommunicate me. And how is that church has become that where the real stuff in life we don't feel like we can tell even our own church through not doing that type of real life and the best thing that came out of that particular situation is some friends came together and started a small groups called another friend and you need a call so and so you guys need to hang out and so and a group kind of got together and started really just sharing and another group of us kind of got together some guys and some girls and I have seen just the growth from that in our lives because it's that it's living life in the smaller settings and sometimes the has to be smaller settings I know small groups have been talked about for a long time but I'm not just meeting small groups for study but small groups that you actually are real with each other and share life in share what God is doing in our lives and grow together that way. So small groups like you mention they've been touted for quite some time and I think we've all seen them done well and we've probably seen them done not so well sometimes they're they're referred to as care groups now as opposed to small groups what are what are some advantages of a small group or a care group being done well and you hit some of them but let's let's expand it just a little bit more before we move on to employing members in active labor in the church or small groups definitely. Groups provides community accountability. Small groups I think done right also provides it's also provides good training equipping to. A different community in leadership also but. And also direction it it also you know it passes on to the members of the church they're calling what should be their calling in life how to find out your gifts you know in what temperament you have that you could use for the old in the glory of God. I mean groups take different styles and faces I mean it's not some are more really Bible study groups some are more just sharing life groups their groups in church that are running groups and they go do exercise together or do something so they don't all have to look the same and I think that's part of it builds the community but it meets different needs at different times and they can shifting grow an ebb and flow with that so it's a place for the community side also the teaching side though you really can study together in ways that are harder in the larger groups to that it's something that's kind of parallels the small groups or care groups but takes place on Sabbath morning is the Sabbath school class Sabbath school classes is always. It can be 1 of the best places for a new member to be or it can be 1 of the most dangerous places for a new member to be I'm sure that none of you have a Sabbath school class in your church that you look at and you say I pray that a new person never goes into that class but I've probably been in more than 1 or 2 of those so what might a what might a safe Sabbath school class look like how could that be organized that we would feel comfortable in fact we would want to get new members into what might that look like. I mean some torches do specifically a new believers class you know if you do 1 of those make sure it's run by solid people that are going to be safe for new believers but I like those classes because maybe they cover the adults out of school quarterly but maybe not maybe it's going through some of the more basic beliefs of Christianity of Adventism you know what are is like before there's communion that's out of school class will actually talk about what is this and what is this weird foot washing thing and some of the stuff that people go through that can be awkward in church you can do in those Sabbath school classes. And so it forms a community of the new believers with some solid members I have a bias though Eric I really believe that all of our schools should be OK for new believers I know that so hard but. Everything we do in our Sabba schools I know it's not going to be perfect but that's something we can do personally as whenever we're speaking in a Sabbath school class in a church service if you're preaching. Assume that you're speaking to some people who don't know the non-evidence or even non Christians we use a lot of our own lingo and we don't even realize it we have seen this in some churches where the Sabbath school class this particular class takes a new level actually meet outside. During the week in the in the have their own ministry I mean with the church that the do with the community so it's not just the meet for Santa school they actually meet outside of Santa during the week to in the end they do some and they do some social activities together. I think a healthy 7 school class is also. Where members of very spiritually mature. You know they can possible to the new members expectations of the church you know and what the some things to look out for some things to watch out for but tell you this 1 particular sample school that I went to they actually met outside the Sabbath and I feel that was pretty cool fantastic very very few. I've hardly seen that part of I mean I would say especially with the younger demographic that's hugely important we're social a lot of us and my demographic don't have have our own families so if there's no social element we're just kind of stuck out in the cold while everyone's playing with our kids and other stuff and so yeah our stats are sad a school class does Sabbath afternoon hikes different days or Vesper's sometimes actually the church that I go to was planted by a Sabbath school class that grew together not so on fire for God They wanted to do something and they planted a church and so Sabbath school can be a lot more than just a lesson study for a few minutes on the Sabbath morning so let's kind of pull together some of the things that we've got for making a sticky church so far so much of what needs to be done should be intentional planned and organized some of it is going to be organic and ought to be just natural connection with people we're seeing a social element here we're seeing things that take place on the Sabbath but also things that take place outside of Sabbath hours the quote that you shared Douglas about about Jesus and how his disciples were with him all the time gives us an idea that we really need to be building connections with people throughout our weeks rather than just. Popping in and touching base with them every now and again let's talk a little bit about employing them in the in the active life of the church so you've got a new member they've come in they're in the honeymoon phase or perhaps they're starting to dip down into the disillusionment and discouragement phase we're trying to to give them some practical skills of surviving in church and in their Christian walk What are some things that we could connect them with in the church to give them something that they can actively participate in that will let them know that they are an integral important part of the church will be some things we might want to lean toward and some things that we might want to lean away from. This is a very difficult 1 to be honest I know that as a pastor. Trying to get new members involved in the church. The problem is not so much of the new members but the problem is with the old members that that. Have claimed the territory on some positions in the church and that that has been and I think we can all resonate with that that has been more my challenge is a POS who is is is challenged to keep the old he was in the new members and so I've just kind of worked around where new members in the church just kind of giving them an unofficial position until the didn't have the church changes or something where I take going back to the discipleship model I take them along with me we go to some visiting you know if I see if I see they have that that gift of you know of preaching of the gift of singing you know just getting them involved in an unofficial way you know of course we want to make it official but when you make it official coast is those. You know the committees in the the protocol of the procedures 1 must go through right and sometimes they can be an uphill battle for it depending on what what church but who but that's what I've done in the past good. You know I've really enjoyed when churches try to find out what I actually enjoy doing and like to do I mean an easy way to involve people say hey would you you know collect the offering or read the scripture and that's not a bad thing but you know how can we really link would people enjoy it do they enjoy hospitality they enjoy the social Do they enjoy talking to people reaching out and trying to put them there but I like what you said too about kind of taking them along side 1st rather than putting them in a position sometimes we do burn people by putting them in too much of a position too soon and I really like to try to shield new people from church politics sad as that is sometimes in leadership there's a lot of stuff that goes on that shouldn't and that's a whole nother story so we don't want to bring a new person is the church secretary or something like that. So we're right where just trying to find ways to really get them involved in Pat in areas of their passion and whatnot but not in capacities where they're going to have to kind of face some of that fire too early OK You mentioned something about the like collecting the offering deacon or deacon us or something like that agreed or maybe somebody who sings in the in the choir at the Church of the church as a choir what would be some other positions or or unofficial positions how about like sound system working the P.A. something like that might be good if they especially young people tend to like a lot of the technology so forth in my mind I have 2 categories of. Position of the church you have the non influential positions and you have the influential positions in the church and of course someone who has the gift of just I know some positions and I know someone church. They have a church official gov This is the Church of God you know in someone's just been designated to be the governor in the church and it doesn't matter if they are administered in this particular church because this. Influential position that's different from someone who's an elder in the church and so I think that. The normal influential positions of course like some of the position you mention you can get them in you know and I get them involved in that based on their spiritual gifts and the challenges of getting him into influential positions you mentioned spiritual gifts there are spiritual gifts assessments out there there are probably some pros and some Kongs that go along with spiritual gifts assessments I know the 1st time I took a spiritual gift Susman fact I think was the only time I took a spiritual gifts assessment it said that I scored terribly lowly lowly I guess that's the word today anyway. I scored very low in in evangelism and I guess I guess I've been performing poorly over the last 18 years but but God is good. It's a good point and I've heard that to as unbiased people will say well you know I can't I'm not going to help with that it is Evangelist meetings but that's not my spiritual gift and so I picture it is that there are circles there are things that we do we are given God given passions for and we want to nurture that allow people to to use those things on the other hand there are areas to grow I think of myself when I was younger I used to think of myself as someone with half talents. But I could do some things but only a little bit and so I never did much because everyone else could do it better and to realize that sometimes God calls us to go outside of that and that's how expands our gifts and talents and I'm working with people I'm thinking yeah how can I put them in where they were really be liking it in thrive but also how can we push ourselves just a little bit out of that zone so that we grow it's part of how God changes our character is I is think is. Things we didn't even if you think we could come out of the box a little bit yeah I think you know spiritual gifts I think my mentality is just trial and error you know if you give it a try you know this is something that works for you great and it's confirmed by the Church then I think you know maybe maybe you do have that gift whatever it is that you're pursuing and if it isn't now you know what's not you very good very good I went to 1 Jerry it's funny Eric the little church a lot of older people but myself and my college friends I was in college at the time we somehow would get stuck in there and it was because of 1 man and his name was Paul and when you showed up the 1st thing it doesn't matter if you're visitor if you're a new member whoever you are 60 so to play the piano. Do you sing like I have done this before Paul would find a place for you and he would not be done until there was a reason you needed to come back that next week to do something and I mean that's a maybe a little bit of an extreme example but I have a good number of friends who remember Paul and that's specifically why because he really really believed and everyone doing something and people come when they feel needed Yeah it's true you know a lot of people leave just because they don't feel they have something to contribute to a place they don't fit in and so they may drift away we've shared a number of ideas so far about how to make a church a little bit more sticky but there's a high likelihood that with this assembled group here this morning you've got some ideas that you've seen happen in churches that we maybe haven't covered we've certainly not done an exhaustive list of things but I'm going to fight Rosalind to come up he's going to take this mike here and kind of rove around a little bit and if you have something that you've seen done in a church that you know this work particularly well maybe the church. And you're out right now maybe 1 that you visited somewhere where you went wow you know what I really like that I wish that I could incorporate that in my church just share in a in a moment or 2 what so what you found that has worked out well right ahead good morning good morning I just came from volunteering for 4 and a half months in Trinidad and Tobago and but that's a that's so that's a look I have to admit it we have to pray for but I wanted to share some what I did in as a way leading in Connecticut. Was a huge church so what I was I'm a social worker by profession so I plan my trade in the church so I did a survey of every single person in the church every last 1 and I did a sieve of all the children in the church and I found out what the interests were so as I found out what the interest will was able to involve them in different committees in the church and that helped the church to keep going and so I worked with the unit personnel ministries family life and a way I mean Pathfinders we all work together and I just did pack so I'm just sharing what we did that worked very well thank you for allowing me to share thank you very much so again we're just getting the right people with the right locations so there's another hand there go right ahead. What our greeters try to do it's churches when someone new people come in you find out why they're there are they passing through are they coming to stay you know those kind are they looking for a church and we find out that occupation what they're interested in and then we say oh we've got a guy that does computers here too this really let me introduce you to him and we make that interdiction right then so that the contact gets started right away and they already have something in common you know and that only happens if you know the other people in your church if you don't know the people in your church you can't make those connections and so building those relationships within each the church is really important that kind of. Gives us an opportunity to talk just a little bit about a social activities in the church it's important to do outreach and Bible studies and evangelistic campaigns and so forth but it's important to gather socially as a church family and do things to because that's where you really get to know others who have any other things that you've seen or seen done in your churches that have really touched you as being affective and helpful and the other ideas. Well I have already done a movement don't the $78.00 that is church and don't analyse them and we do have potluck every Sabbath that changed and and we just sat at the church but decided to do this because when you move risk when visitors come we just sit by all of them to come. And so as to stand that pretty good good potlucks or. You'll pardon me if I'm slightly biased I prefer to call them fellowship meals as opposed to pot lucks because potluck sounds like maybe you might get lucky and maybe you might not you know but but fellowship meals are fantastic for church is a great way to connect with guests who are coming through and if the church doesn't do potlucks fellowship meals I'm still trying to correct my own my own grammar here. Every week it's important for the members to realize that if the church is not having a fellowship meal be prepared to invite somebody else home with you that afternoon I do a fair bit of traveling and sometimes I happen to be traveling over a weekend and we end up stopping someplace between here and there the church on the Sabbath and I remember 1 time I was way up north stopped in the church on Sabbath my family my wife was there we happened to have a dog with us of the time as well and the church wasn't having a fellowship meal that Sabbath but every member who came up to us said we we would really love to invite you home but we really weren't prepared to have somebody come home with us and so at the end of everybody leaving they said well there's there's some condiments down in the fridge downstairs. And if you've got some stuff with you in the car you could probably make some sandwiches and so we made some sandwiches with the condiments that were so generously offered but. But anyway did we. To try to make sure people know that they're cared about and loved and so forth and just inviting somebody home on on Sabbath afternoon can can really do that any other experiences that you've had or things that you've seen done it at your churches that you'd like to share with us Yes Go right ahead. There was a church that we visited that we currently go to and the 1st few weeks my family got invited home every week by another family and that was really nice like oh they invited us home the only problem with that was once we joined the church we realize that scheduled that every week someone signs up to take the visitors home so after the 1st 2 weeks he didn't get invited home so much. So much for Again I can. Well we've got we've got just a couple of minutes left here before we before break for lunch but go right ahead I have the experience where for example a brother would be visiting from with another country some day Adventists and this is a personal experience where we the mail will sing for the Sabbath and there was no musician This was a visiting musician from overseas Jamaica and he came in the practice with us but so because I asked him to come but before he could play 1 very senior member of the church or elder of the church so before you can play for Australia in the church we have to get permission from the pastor. You know we have to be careful sometimes when you would be introducing a person who has a talent is willing to play but we have to go through so many. Tapes just to get them to perform this could be discouraging can be a challenge and yet something all of passing the you know I didn't abandon 6 series at a small church in South Georgia and there are a lot of old people they can do a lot of outreach and such but I tell you that church was sincerely sincerely praying I mean they really were you could tell that they wanted new people in their church and I really believe that's why we had a good number I mean 2030 S. coming out of a very small More guess than members pretty much at this small church and it was on the advertising and it wasn't that they invited everyone I really have seen that when we sincerely in our hearts are coming to God and we want people in God's working in our lives God brings people in so that might be a thing is if your church is having some of these issues are praying for your church find a few people at all pray together when our hearts are right we're going to know what to organically do with people but it's got to work and it's right. Good morning my wife and I live in Dallas Texas were live and work near White Rock Lake some of you have been in Dallas Texas and were involved with a church plant we we have a company status but worse somehow we have a potluck. 1 of my coworkers calls it public but I like fellowship better fellowships much better but we have a fellowship we have a theme for the different weeks of the. 4 weeks and every month and sometimes you know 4 times a year we have 5 Sabbath so we have that that's helped as we've had guest speakers we have more of a late pastor is working on his master's degree in ministry from Andrews but he does it through southwestern admonition of versity but we're kind of stuck at the number of 30 and some of you know that 30 days weekly average gives you the company status quo of trying to move to church to ask which is weekly average of 50 and where we're just stagnating in 50 we do we do outreach we try to be very friendly to every each and every member that tends especially like you say for the 1st 2nd and 3rd times they need to get a job if you give them something to do in the offerings sometimes brings people back if you give them a task but I'm just open to any of your ideas or you've maybe been involved with a church plant research company status and how do you move to the church data says That's my challenge to myself but if any of you have ideas I'm going to hear him you know for a. For continuing to grow churches 1 thing that I've found very consistently of late and it's probably gone on much longer than that it's only that I've noticed it of late is the reason that people come to church I'm all for doing outreach activities cooking schools and health lectures and Daniel seminars and the whole 9 yards I believe in them I love them they're wonderful and keep doing them but what I've found very much the case lately is when I talk with people who are being baptised at evangelistic meetings is that we asked them how did you hear about this and over and over again my friend invited me my friend invited me my friend invited me so before anything else we need to just be making friends with people just building friendships with people because when your friend invites you to something as opposed to a stranger inviting you to something it's an entirely different experience but when your friend says Would you like to join me would you like to be my guest at whatever the event is now it's a personal invitation from a friend so if we can just build friendships with people outside the church that's going to go a long way toward helping them to make decisions to become a part of the church family 1 risk that we run is the longer we are Adventists the fewer non Adventist friends we have when we 1st join the church and I realize some here may have been raised in the church myself I wasn't I didn't even know that the administration existed until after I got into college and never met an admin a snob or saw a church didn't even know. Which just tells me we've still got a little bit of work to do but. But we when we 1st come into the church we've got a lot of non Adventist friends and the longer we're in it the more we surround ourselves with admin us that's not necessarily bad it's just something to recognize that the best time to reach others may be when we 1st came in because we've still got a lot of friends who are not about not about us and if we've been in the church for a long time maybe we need to intentionally find some friends who aren't so that we can reach out to them was there another hand back there yes go right ahead just a couple of comments I don't know if any of you have been a Copper Mountain Colorado but Barbara Taylor started a church there and we have a wonderful community chapel that we use on Sabbath and so if you come there there is always a fellowship dinner afterwards and retailers usually there about half the time but it's a wonderful place to be if you're in the mountains and she's very intentional about greeting everyone personally yourself making everyone very welcome What do you do I was going to also mention we travel and so our family went to a particular church in another state on the way to an event we were going to and afterwards my husband thought that is the most unfriendly church I've ever seen I mean there was a greeter lady who was obviously assigned to greet and then no 1 spoke to us the whole time we were there which was low and our son said Wasn't that a friendly church you know I think he liked the greeter and that was plenty for him so I think I honestly think it depends on your personality a little bit and if you're a friendly person you expect other people to go out of their way to be friendly if you're not so friendly you're pretty good if they don't overwhelm you you know and so the the take can be a little different 1 question what do you do the church I grew up in 55 years we had an elder who would stop anyone who came in and on their. 2nd this it he would remind them that we were coming to church and they needed to dress more properly at Lee Yes and he insisted on a suit and tie and all of that and I never forgot that and that's just and so what we had to do is spot the people who are maybe not making the best impression and had those people laugh at the past and circle them in with you with friendship and love because many churches have somebody who's very much on guard making sure it had the standards or have held you know that that is what you do about that what do you do about that person well you did the right thing with the guests as they came in and and have them off at the pass and keep them headed in the in a good direction it's worth visiting with the person who with these with the old state will put it that way worth visiting with the old saint and saying I realize what you're trying to do but here's what the reality is here's what's actually happening and you want to do it in Christian love but at the same time if they are. If they are causing damage. Rather than good it's appropriate to let them know that that's what the result. Is coming from them so but again do it in love and care but at the same time it does need to be addressed otherwise all that time and effort that you spend trying to bring people is going to be undone by somebody who's somewhat misguided. Yes we've got time for I think 1 more comment here and we'll have a few closing ones because it is just about time so I've got a couple more things to let you know before we tied off to go right ahead OK Well I'm actually going to speak on behalf of our organization now is a group that all during the year we travel to churches so I'm coming more of on the perspective of visiting a lot of churches we. Travel to over 40 states some of you have seen us at your church sharing testimonies from the 23 different countries where we minister or where branches are located and 1 thing that I have really loved because just like what you're saying not everybody wants to be over created it can be a bit overwhelming some time but. But 1 thing I've loved is a real church there's been some churches of late where they open the floor up for like conversation during defined service does that make sense like testimonies like pretty request that's 1 thing like so now a church because we talked about Fort but when I come to a church I'm just there I'm sitting but now you have someone in the front and they're weeping because their son is still lost and then you have someone that goes and embraces them even though they didn't embrace me I'm like wow this is a nice church and we actually had someone call us recently it was at a church that we went to in Orlando it's. Mattel or something like that and we had visited there to do their service and present and present what God has been doing and they called the naps office and as we're talking they make they were making a donation but as we were talking I find out that they're not Adventist and I was like So what were you doing at that church they said the church was I'm not I don't know why they could a church on Saturday and all that but it's the friendliest church I've ever gone to and that was our experience as well so she's like I'm Pentecostal so you know but they are so friendly so it's just showing that real love and family I think where you can share freely and genuineness can can't be faked Let's toss off with just 1 more question I'm going to give it to both. Both Michele and Douglas and just in 30 seconds or so what can I do when I get back to my church so we've got a bunch of ideas here let's let's narrow down just 1 or 2 what can I do want to get back to my church 1 or 2 ideas real quick. So maybe the biggest thing is go back and pray Lord you know how can I better form relationships with people ask the Lord who Lord would like you to invest in your church that's something I recommend say Lord who would you want me to specifically disciple Jesus tells of a few and he really worked with those on top of the other things and he prayed for that and realize speaking to the brother who is doing the church plan and trying to grow it these things do take time and we're realizing a lot of the people were having baptisms with it then 2 years or more in the making so I won't give up on it just because they're not joining right now it may take that cycle of years and that investment in people to Jesus a little while too but it's worth that time good Douglas talk and pray with your leaders about whatever issues that's causing people to leave the church in a pretty full attitude come up with some creative ways to close that back door very good so as we're leaving just want to leave you with a couple of ideas here some some takeaways that you can do when you when you leave if you are interested in learning more think your church might benefit more from some member retention weekend seminars you can contact it is written we do these on a regular basis just let us know and we'll see if we can find a time to come visit with your church or we're district you can also visit salt evangelism dot com to learn more about how to share your faith effectively retain members and so forth that's available online let's have prayers we finish this morning together Father thank You for giving us time today to talk about how we can build a sticky church we ask that you will bless each 1 of us as we desire to not just win souls to you but keep souls for your kingdom so that when Jesus returns we'll have a large harvest to take home with him. Thank you for spending time with us this morning in Jesus' name we pray. This media was produced by audio verse 40 S. Aves layman's services and industries. If you would like to learn more about. Please visit. The site ministry. Or if you'd like to listen for free online sermons visit W.W.W. body of verse.


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