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Move Your Church From Dying to Growing

Royce Snyman


Royce Snyman

Ministerial Department Director and Coordinator of Evangelism for the Michigan Conference




  • June 20, 2017
    11:00 AM


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I was going to be talking about something today that. Has to do with the future of our churches and and the growth of our churches. And I want you to know I'm not going to share anything with you that is. Earth shattering because a lot of what we need to do is very basic but we do need to focus on thank you showing. We do need to identify what the Lord wants us to do and we need to be intentional about it part of the problem that we have is that we have not been intentional about what what the Lord wants us to do. And what I'm cheering with you is part of our training is part of the elders training but I made it part of the leadership training series that I was doing this is class number 5 in that leadership series but. The 1st 2 were elders training basic older training the 2nd 2 were basic deacon and begin this training and I did this on purpose because I wanted some people who didn't want either of those to also get part of this today and some of you are doing exactly that which great I'm glad I did it that way so that everybody feels like a part of it because the truth is we all need to be intentional our church is now how many of you sit on your church board in your judges. And all right how many of you are leaders even if you aren't on the church board. If you raise your hand on a church board you already there and so that data there but it's also good so you're all part of that and you're just exactly bull that I want to be speaking to today now I know that in Michigan camp meeting we have spies from other conferences you come in once in Iran getting on them and we're glad to have people from other conferences now many of you from Michigan churches you. Know Spies Among Us OK. I am teasing for the recording on need to make sure they understand that and and get their point so I hope that you will take what I'm going to share with you today back to your local church and that you will help your church think intentionally Abyad out the fact the church needs to grow that's the reason that Jesus made us a church we have no excuse for existence except as we are sharing the gospel message with our communities if we're not doing that we we're nothing else but our local club I mean that's all we are just a group of. People getting together and having fellowship together and that's what happens at the local bar and that's what has happened that other clubs like the American Legion club and and other places like that they're all doing the same basic thing just getting together in private providing an opportunity for people to to interact with each other and if that's all we're doing we're not for feeling the Gospel commission so our reason for being and existing is that our churches might grow so I'm talking about growing I'm talking about the church becoming a part of the community and reaching out in the community and sharing the 3 Angels' messages the gospel message the eternal everlasting Gospel Revelation Chapter 14 or 6 and all the other parts of that that are letting people know that Jesus is coming again that's the work that we are given to do so looking at the screen and your materials follow the screens so you should be good that way evangelism is the life blood of the church I'm deeply concerned today and those of us and reader pick your positions in the conference but especially in the ministerial department we've been talking about this and we're trying to find time to address a very serious problem there are some of our churches in the Shoot-In that are 1 step from death. This far from the grave. And your church may be 1 of them I don't know you may be part of pioneer memorial and it's not far from the ground I mean it's nowhere near the grave because there's a lot of life there and it centers around an institution and there that a lot of young people coming and going and all of that doesn't mean that numbers indicate that it's not far from the grave it just means that there's something going on there in that environment and you move away from an institution like that and you begin to get out to churches and even in churches with numbers they can be close to the grave but the ones that are especially struggling are in our smaller communities where the church may have 20 people who are present on Sabbath not some of the churches have 5 coming to church on Sunday morning and there are 40 or 50 people in the church books but they haven't seen 45 of the last 2 or a 10 years all of that is part of that death cycle that a church can begin to go to get into I know as a pastor 1 I pastor the church that was fairly close to that in that setting the big challenge I had is we know that children are the source of growth right. And in terms of internal growth Huth and keeping life in the church by trying to get parents to come to a church where there are no children is like. Doesn't just doesn't compute that way I understand that I know why I do think that we at times need to start thinking more and more missionary minded and just thinking social activity for my child at Sabbath school there are ways of socializing our children and at the same time so bringing building up our Gerges that's probably a. Discussion for another time but my point is that when a church gets to that point in their flight people coming and then you start doing a little bit of the math and there with all due respect I'm in my sixty's OK so I know what that is the 1 where when all of those 5 members are 60708090 where is that Church headed if it doesn't find a way to grow. And that's that's just thinking logically but we need to be thinking spiritually spiritually says hey this is not just about keeping the church from dying this is about adventuring the gospel message in the community the people in that community need to know that Jesus is coming again it's not just that I need bodies in my church I need to be working to build up the Church of God of Jesus Christ the remnant charge with disciples children that gospel message is being advanced the lifeblood of the church is a Vangelis and if we're not doing that we are dying and most of our churches are stagnating most of our churches are stagnating and if they are stagnating they are just really dying either growing or you're dying that's really all that's happening now you're dying may take a little longer if you've got enough numbers in there for that to happen but I've been in the show going to long enough to watch churches over the years including churches that I pastor and I can tell you that I look back at some of those churches not only the ones I pastor but others and I look and I say I know the people that are leading those churches and they're the same people that were leading those churches body years ago or 35 years ago or whatever and the same number of people are attending church and that church as soon as those people die that church is gone gone and you look around at some of those churches in the numbers of the churches like that ours are alarming. And that's why 1 of the reason the wanted to take a composite class of through vandalism the world church grows and spreads its influence around the globe through evangelism the local church calls men and women in its own community to join Christ's remnant people and I and we need to part of our the our work as leaders you're all leaders in your churches and most of you sit on the church board 1 of the things I want to challenge you with today and I'll say today and I hope I remembered say that you agree time go to your church board meeting. Ask them what are we doing to make sure that we are fulfilling the Gospel commission in our church and it should be the priority of every single board meeting it should be the top of your agenda and it should be what you spend most of your time on if you come together in all your board meetings and you spend an hour in your board meeting and what the $55.00 minutes of that is talking about how to take care of the Sabbath school papers and how to you know make sure that the plumbing is taken care of and yada yada yada and that's all you do and you never once talked about how we reaching out to our community our we making a difference your church is dying and it's dying at your hand you are the ones that are allowing that to happen when your board meeting accomplishes that every time because the board is the leadership body of your church and they place with the planning and the organization is done and if you're not focusing on reaching out into your community with Christ's message to build up these remnant church it's because you're not doing a job. Now that I say kindly because we can all sit there and forget that that's really why we're here and you know we've got busy schedules we want to get things done or we need to you know in our lives not just for the church you know we've got Sabbath go to plan for us and we got this to do and that to do and we've taken care of all those have we must focus on the most harm Gordon reason for being there World Church Growth just a few little bit of information here the early church was dedicated to its mission of taking the gospel beyond its birthplace of the Christian Church in Palestine and the early ad industry which began as a small regionally based movement in North America that an 879 years after the organization the church the 1st Foreign Mission Society was formed and we're just kind of reviewing a little bit of the history of the growth process and some of them as church and in the Christian Church in general or putting it the other way around the church in general it will in the beginning in some of the in the church now. Today adults have a presence in over 209 of the world's 231 countries now before we get really excited about that. Joo 109 churches countries we have a presence when in some places our presence is 2 or 3 or 100 people out of a 1000000 or are too. Many more people that that presence is exciting but doesn't mean that the work is really moving like it needs to in those places but the church is growing we do have 19000000 members today we had 18000002 years ago and the church is growing rapidly approaching 20000000 that's great but you know what in the North American division it's stagnant or even flat and dropping because people are leaving the church and we're not bringing people into the church and more importantly even when we're bringing in people we're not creating disciples we may be bringing people in that are sitting in the pews and filling the numbers but not doing the work so the church and it's growing also needs to be a church that has a structure in a plan in North America we're not doing a good job of doing. So we need to insist that our Sabbath school continue to keep its mesh mission emphasis and by mission in of Asus we don't mean playing mission spotlight once a week or once a month that does keep an emphasis on mission in terms of letting us know what's happening in other places in the world are savvy schools need to be concentrating on the mission of our local church our savvy school organization needs to be asking what we're doing in sadness cool to advance the mission in this community. Our savage cool need to be thinking that way and so does every single department of the local church and that includes the cork on the Troyer What are they doing to ensure that the church is growing and that you may say what does that have to do with the drudgery I'll tell you I know some church treasures that they guard that money they need to they need to protect the money but they guarded so well that when the pastor or all of the personal ministries leader or whatever you know bring it up to the church board that we need an extra $1000.00 to be able to send out Bible study offer dot com cards to the community while we can afford to do that well how much money do we have in savings what we got a $100000.00 while can't we use a $1000.00 and that what happens of the roof good starts to leak you know and Treasurer sometimes do that and on I'm serious I know of 1 church where the Treasurer and tell the church tries were left and died that church had such a rainy day fund that they thought they were growing and they were dying but they were ready to fix the roof with the never leaving. OK And I'm peeing serious that's exactly what was happening him in that setting and I know there are other churches there just like we're so we need to promote strongly the world missions offering the church local church does need to keep in mind the world church when the local church only begins to focus on itself it also is in trouble and we have found that when we. Thinks about. Mission. Conference wide thinks about mission. Worldwide and and and also is thinking about mission locally that the local mission tends to strengthen so when we get selfish we also begin to stagnate and in get into trouble so that's talking about world church mission and focusing on that let's concentrate now on local church growth. Because all Christians are called to be God's ministers they all became evangelists in 1 way or another so let me take a pause for a moment in their ask you if you questions that relate to this because members must be involved in a large in the congregation not only for the sake of the lost but also for their own that has a lot of implications for it so here's what what I want to ask you a few questions about about what's been happening in your local church. In your local church. Have you ever heard about the discipleship handle cow many of you heard about the discipleship handbook. On encouraged that most of you and that's really good. The discipleship handbook is a book that was written here in the shooting conference and I'm not gonna go into all the history of how to develop your delicate out of the need to find a way to strengthen the process of discipleship in our local churches simply talking about it was not sufficient We've been talking about it I've been in the mission conference office. For 20 almost 25 years and we've been talking about it since I came into the office and the person ministries leader and the trouble is we've been talking about it nothing were happening you know that happens right because people need tools because we mean not only do you need to be intentional the we need to be intentional on a leadership perspective and we need to provide pastors tools and sometimes all of us local leaders and local pastors say we don't need 1 more tool yet sometimes we do we need 1 of the very focused easy to use and the able to work with them we started with a kit and an E.U. member the kit how I look at this some people remember the kit and that was that long ago we're only talking about 4 or 5 years ago and and in terms of that that we as we started with that we began to realize we needed to refine the discipleship handbook is a wonderful tool for 2 things The 1st thing is for that to be able to be used in the local church for new members. As you baptized new members you want to make sure that those individuals are being disciples that was the reason that the discipleship Handbook was originally written but we have also discovered and I discovered that in this classroom teaching classes at Camp meeting probably about 7 or 8 years ago whatever I started teaching the class about discipleship and I happened to have some materials in my office that had been sitting there for probably 30 years and they had been used in the early seventies in the rate seventies and really had no use after that it was. A 4 pamphlet what a 1 call a lesson quarterly style series on discipleship it was intended for new members and it had just been sitting around and been used by the North American division back in the seventies and then it just kind of when its way was really clever because it was designed to be used in a new members class in the local agonist church that that that class was running like a savage at the Sabbath school time running like a Sabbath school class and so these little sad a school quarter ways in this way were used that way and I didn't have any other materials to use so I used them here at Sabbath school I mean at a camp meeting to teach a class on discipleship. And 1 of the immediate reactions I got from the people who sat in this room took that class was I needed this 1 on was and. You know want the truth is I know I think our members need this now OK And so that was actually the beginning of the evolution of the current discipleship Handbook and the way the Lord brought it all together from the exciting story but it than not and for that I wanted you to understand that because the discipleship handbook can be used also for your members and if your members are stagnating and they're not moving out think about a prayer meeting that uses that for a for training Think about it as a separate training course if you can't get everybody to come out which you won't but you can get for why people come out and start with 4 or 5 as a matter of fact you're better off if you've got a church of 50 I'm talking about 50 coming to church in South a school on Sabbath morning you're better off starting with a class of 45 because you can manage that and I mean you do your church your leadership your pastor whatever you can manage that smaller class and as you get excited then you'll tell your other people about it and they'll it'll spread and pretty soon you go from 20 percent involved in the church worker to 80 percent in line to the other way around like it's been so long write a song and you prove. It's available the A.B.C. and in some cases it can be used or gotten involved through the person ministries department but yes it's for sale of the A.B.C. and there's a there's a there's a other mentors book becomes where that. You're. Right fabulous. I love that question till you good you ask those kinds of questions you keep me going like my my wife says once in awhile I get to pray preach in an African-American church and she worries about me when I preach in those churches because those churches loves a man and all that and she said she can just tell when I start hearing that kind of thing that she's not going to get me to sit down for quite some time you know if. That's what pastors live for is the opportunity to really get excited about ministry and and that excites me because I really am excited about what God has done in providing those tools. Yes there are 2 ways to do that or they can be formal training that can be done and elder Jim our has done that formal training what your G. partner. Wow. I was thinking OK maybe you know man to NJ are going to honor it. Babbling you see. I need to turn the camera around and like do an interview that's 1 of the reasons I do this what's your name there. Oh you Brenda quiche I bring the I haven't seen you for a while. I bumped into you once. Years and years ago we were out West somewhere and we bumped into some people out there and it was you and I think your son and and other family members or whatever you remember that I remember that yeah anyway I do because it was an unusual thing we saw somebody wearing it and university church I mean entered university what your teacher and we said when I got to the Adventist. And so and having to be you and so anyway. So. You got tremendous resources there in relationship to this. If you if you want to do that you are training there are people who are conference office will be more than happy to come and help with that training the 2 ways you can do it you can do that training yourself you can utilize your pastors to do that they're well equipped to be able to do that to Joe Reeves has been part of the development process of the discipleship handbook and so he would be a great resource in being able to do that I'm certainly the pastor Kelly is very supportive and not. I don't know how much connection. Pages had with that and explode I know he's aware of it I know he knows about it I am I hope he's using it but that is. A great way to do it another way to do it is for you to do it just take the people who you want to be like the person you want to take over in that particular person's experience they've been baptized and want to do that and just simply take on the side and trying to have them come you say you're doing it right so I have in common sitting with you. You know. This and your question I want to I should be repeating these questions and make sure picks up on the recording should we be going through the whole book with the individuals yes that's ideal or can we just give them an overview Yes that might be more practical it's like somebody I was talking to is helping to train. Individuals in relationship to pathfinders and master guy they said that they seem that oversees that in Michigan. People and others made a recent decision to say that everybody who's going to lead a Pathfinder club is got to be a master guide. While we've had that conversation because I've been involved passengers for years and we had that conversation before the problem is 1 of the you don't have any master guys in your job do you not going to have a Pathfinder program so you've got start where you are and then you work to a point of strength so I would start where I am and I would train people as best I could and and then if it becomes a. Solid integrated process in the church then I would begin to move to the point where I'm training them by the going through the whole war and having somebody oversee those people at any point would be an important part of that process so I would do both of that I'd start where I am and try to involve them with you as much as they can try to screen those people if you can if you've got any concern about you want him to maintain the standard that being shared there and not undermining that because that really undermines the discipleship process and so you do want to help be involved in that screening process you know pastors can help you with that as well great questions let's keep going and see if we can fill in some of the gaps along with the residents here. I mean. That's a really good observation I'll repeat it here talking about a church that had used the disciple had shit handbook in a permit NG setting but out on the tail end of an evangelist meeting in for some people it was. That hadn't a decision yet it was premature for them and receiving it yes I agree with that as have the right setting Absolutely and I think we need to work on that's 1 of the reasons why 1 of the things I would really encourage is don't get the cart before the horse start doing the training ahead of time part of the problem is that people don't see the need when there's not people coming in then all of a sudden everybody says oh I get it now and it's like disaster response you know all you know we need disaster training right now can we just have a tornado come through and that's not the time to train people for disaster response. I grieve Brenda I agree if I were using this in a minute per meeting setting I would not just diminish Tori are in there all now the fact the book helps to teach about prayer and I would utilize it as an opportunity for that I would also use it as a jumping off point or I should rather I were the poor leading into praying for souls and praying for standards and praying for I think that it can be both can be integrated that don't lead up or by any means of it don't want dominate and becomes the the only thing to do absolutely at the wrong thing to do OK there are some ways of doing of Angela's And here I want to talk about this 1st it publicly proclaimed the gospel through the Angelus to preaching radio and television in the distribution letter literature etc 2nd and with greater impact the Gospel reach gospel reaches others through the personal relationships with members of the community so let's talk about this for a moment because this is the foundation of what I want to share with you today this is grow Michigan I haven't put that in the year this way but that's what this is this is grow Michigan what the 1st part of grow Michigan. I'm sorry yeah preparing the soil exactly OK so the person you're doing is you're you're getting out there and connecting with the community that's the 2nd part of this you're building relationships with people in the community and you might do that in a lot of different ways I know a church that is down in Monroe and I've told the story a couple of my classes but they pastor down there in the church began to look at the community what was going on in that community and said what's happening down here looking at the news they discovered that they had a tremendous problem with heroin addiction and in all that's going on in a related relationship to that matter of fact they discovered that that area of Michigan is where they have the greatest problem of the state of Michigan the county that has the largest problem in Michigan with addiction to that particular neighborhood of drugs and it comes because Ohio until Ito seem to have that problem and it's still the over into that county which is just south of Detroit. So the pastor started to ask questions about what they could do to deal with it and he also connected with the people in the community praise the Lord talking to leaders in the community like perhaps the mayor I don't know exactly how that community set up and and what they have or religious leader or whatever but connected with the people in community and even the non avenues denominational leaders there and start to connect with them and saying what can we do to participate with us when the admin to start leading the way I get excited about that we don't have to do everything and we will get opportunity to share the message when we build relationships with people a we have no relationship and we try to share the message we get nowhere we get somewhere but we don't get as far as where God wants us to be we're not a social gospel organization Ellen White makes that abundantly clear to us but we do need to be addressing the problems of sin in our communities and caring for the needs of people and providing resources so what the pastor did is connected with the people in that community and then he got Sherry Peters is on I don't serene or sherry period anyway and she's on 3 A B. and and she is doing things a relationship to counseling organizing the people in relationship to drug rehab and while I don't know exactly what she does but she's there he chose her as a resource brought her into that community. Took her into the local high schools in that community and today they are the recognize resource in that community to be addressing that issue and other people are doing it as well they are part of that and there are people that are coming to the atmosphere of specifically for help but some of them are going to the Lutheran Church or the other place as well but the people in the 7th heaven his church are developing relationships in the community and that's what's important here and that can come in many to. Forms that may not be for you you may not have that need in your community but there are house outreach is that we can do and we should be doing and of course this is a health related outreach and in a crisis situation and there's so many other ways that we can do this work will look a little bit more of that here in a moment but then we must not forget that girl Michigan does not just stop with preparing the soil grow Michigan includes Once you've prepared the soil you've got to deal with the seed and plant the seed that's where you begin to do the work of giving Bible studies and and continuing that process and training people in your church and and all the other types of things that are happening there and eventually you're leading up to our reaping series in the in the in the community and bringing people to your call your church or or local hall that's a preview feels appropriate and ends preaching the message the public proclamation of the of the message of the Gospel and it can come in many different forms but often in a reaping series and then once that's done you want to preserve the harvest what you have reaped into the harvest so you know sometimes we bought the fall back to a permeating type setting for or following up after an evangelistic meeting because we really don't think we're going to get anybody anyway. And then we suddenly find that you know we had some churches during our lock revelation last year they had $100.00 people showing up at their opening night and 1 pastor had 2 churches like that and you know he's just he suddenly waking up and saying the whole whole what happened here and maybe they hadn't done outreach much in the last few years and at any rate they had that tremendous response and and the trouble is when you get that tremendous response and you not ready for it you often will lose those people instead of being able to have a good plan to follow them on and I'm afraid that's a little bit of what happened in that particular setting so we've got to be planned an organized I'd rather be prepared and have 10 people show up then not be prepared and have a 100 people show up and because the it can be a real challenge anyway leaders participation in this relieve the pastors of some of their duties and free them to devote themselves exclusively to evangelism for a crime we were expecting the paths of do everything if you want your church to grow then organize your church for growth. In Mike disciple I mean in my deacon and Deacon his class 1 of the things that I've been stressing with the with that class is the fact that that their work is taking the pressure off of the pastors the pastor control kissin on the work the pastor should be doing in helping the church to grow and the Bible teaches us that when they sure Church began to divide and not divide began to delegate these responsibilities when in Acts Chapter 6 The Apostles appointed deacons to do this work Ellen White tells us in the Bible too that the work exploded after that because now the pastors didn't have to focus in on taking care of the widows because there were people in the church that were appointed to do that and as a result by the church could explode because the ministers were pre to go out and take the work into new areas or new community that is God's plan it's still God's plan and it must still be God's plan to finish this work today we need that to happen if you want your church to grow go to your church board and start asking the question what are we doing here with every 1 of our department to support the work in this church of the pastor can help us focus on the major work that we have I'll keep going with that because when Rickson in our inactive activate inactive members in many congregation congregations church attendance would double in active members would be recalling. Don't worry yet with the members that are not attending church the Lord will give you time to do them let's start with the inactive members that are coming to church if you've got a lot of inactive members that are coming to church right so start with them and again start small 1 to 1 start inviting them the worst way to in activating active members is to stand up on Sabbath morning when you've got 50 people in congregation and say please come to a training opportunity this afternoon or please come with is Window going to go and knock on doors and pass a litter if you please come with a we're going to we're going to do this because usually what happens is you get the same 2 or 3 people that usually would come without the announcement OK Esraa exists as that's what a lot of people think it is so you change that by personal invitation and by not worrying about starting big the GOING TO YOU have a burden for it more displays that burden on you you are involved in it the Lord has given you success and it now go and 1 other person to join you in that process or if you've got 2 good friends that you've been having conversations with Don't worry about I mean don't hesitate to involve more than 1 person but I'm saying don't try to get the whole church at once the Lord will take care of that in good time start with inactivating those that are not currently active and be involved in the evangelism process from beginning to end including follow up OK positively yes. I have it's taken me 40 years to get to that point and I'm still got a little of that melancholy in me you take the melancholy in the Calera get me and it's not a great combination and I'm the kind of guy who likes to stand up in front and do exactly the thing I'm telling you about and I'm telling you for a big spear into doesn't work so don't do what I've done do what I'm trying to do differently thank you that was very very well boy it we need to do that don't forget that kids. Really you know the church is today trying to tell us and we've got to have rock music and and all kinds of things to attract our kids no we don't what we need is to get them involved in real work hooker iced if they start seeing people's lives changed without rock music they'll find out that rock music doesn't change lives and it's not needed it's not what we need what we need is not he is to get out there and start making friends with people and being and Baldwin in chairing about people in the community maybe helping other kids maybe helping adults something the most successful soul winners are parents who go around with their kids minister and people it might be knocking on doors it might be finding some community outreach project or a cleanup project or something that connects and the kids get excited about it and either the anybody read them news letter that came here a camp meeting in the Michigan memo or they're talking about the teens that went out and worked on the trail out here and and did painting and all that in the response of the community and the leaders say you know Keane's don't do this kind of thing anymore and how exciting to have them wow that we need to do more that not just and can't meeting all year long winter or summer or whatever fine projects that they can be involved with that they can do in the kid at their age level get them involved in how they can not only be committed to Christ personally but also how they can be involved in sharing Christ with other people. And there should be maturity and preparation before baptism for these kids because if we get them involved in the process these kids will want to make a commitment to the Baptists and they get it some kids get it a lot quicker than adults do they understand what needs appen But let's not baptize them till they are ready are I don't just Baptists that baptize them because they want to be baptized help them to understand that they should be baptized when they understand I don't mean you know they understand they can leave the side how the 2300 days integrates into the sanctuary and all that I don't mean that I mean that they need to be able to be mature at their level but prove the children and strengthen the children Alawite says and Child Guidance baptism does not make children Christians neither does a convert them and they need to be converted before that time and part of that then we need to get them connected and get them involved now I'm going to talk a little bit about church planting. I. Don't know what to say about there in springs they probably don't need to plant more churches because they probably have enough then again maybe they do maybe they need to be a church on every corner administers where they are literally taking care of everybody in the community or maybe they need to be thinking about reaching out to other places and burying Springs is done and so I'm just talking whatever but the truth of the matter is there are places in Michigan where we could stand to have a lot more churches and we didn't. Detroit's 1 of them Kalamazoo is another Grand Rapids another and obviously I'm talking bigger cities where we could stand to have more churches but there are other places not know they've talked about it like the Upper Peninsula the churches that are scattered throughout the geography that's almost as extensive as the Lower Peninsula. And yet they only have what 15 churches or something like that over that whole area now there are a lot of deer and antelope out there and. 1 of the Elk or it might be it might be barren and whatever but they've got they've got people scattered around in those communities and if the churches were not worried about their numeric size but more about their mission they would be able to be very effective in that part of what we need to be we don't need bigger churches we need healthier churches you can have a healthy church of 50 people a healthy church of 25 people very easily when that those churches are focused on their mission and they know what they're there for so there may be times when there's value in starting a new jersey that may not be for everybody and every place it may be that you need to just strengthen the church and you have but the principle is still the same 1 of the values in starting a new church is getting our mission focus. Where it needs to be. Somehow when the same church in the same people over 40 or 50 years have been doing the same thing they can't start thinking differently. When you plant a new church all of a sudden people start thinking mission direction and then you start bringing new people who have a new vision for what needs to happen and that's when churches really begin to grow I don't know if you've any of you've read Russell girls material that is very valuable and if you haven't it's still even though it's a few years old now his books are still valuable and still helpful in helping us understand where God wants us to be in relationship to this book Russell Burl the U R R I L L B U R R L. He has several books on them drawing remember the titles of. The universe. Yeah that's that's it and and there's there's a lot there there's also 1 by Joe Carter that's very good on there was a wrote a book back accompanied. Years ago that was talking about. This kind of a concept for the big 4 I think was the title of the more you know cater to. Also very good resources that are there but it's talking about the whole idea activating the church is really what matters and it refers to all right let me keep going here because I want to bring some of these pieces together do not be afraid number 1 to start a new church more members by doing this will be involved in the work so whether you're planting a church or kind of reactivating your church because some of your churches it will take that that whole new reactivation process and essence that's all that's what you will be doing then and you have within the stablish in Church is you have a building and you have some people and if you can activate those people those are hurdles you won't have to overcome when you play in a church you've got to find the people and you've got to find a building and all those can sometimes sidetrack the mission so you have an advantage with an existing Church that if you can get more members involved without having to plan a church in force in small communities you couldn't do that anyway a newcomer in congregation will be established in a new area the best way to produce more fruit is plant more trees new churches revive in active members more easily than do all churches that's true it's harder to activate members who've been sitting around doing nothing for a long time but if you approach in the Spirit of God will be poured an eye out and I mean pray actively and seriously God will respond. Many of the. Historically amazing revivals that have happened in the Christian world over the centuries have happened because people like you and like me take prayer seriously and when individuals have gone back to try to say what made the difference in that revival in that community at that time like some of the Scottish revivals or or some of the other revival that are taken place over time somebody goes back and then they look and they track and back to a little lady praying at home and she's saying I was asking God to change and I'm praying and I'm praying and and then you and I mean I'm talking about a praying I don't mean you know 5 minutes of breakfast I mean she's praying and she's praying and she's praying and the preachers begin to wonder what I mean they're praying to that they're there they're starting to see revival take place and they start to dig into it and they find out that there's people pray OK and that's what needs to happen today you'll go back to your church and you will pray you'll find the God Well really activate your church I don't want you to forget and terms of growing your church and reactivating your churches that there are some people that would be involved that you might have to go horn and those are you missing the embers they are the lost sheep that Jesus was talking about or you need to go out and reach out to the shepherd that left the 99 she went out and searching for that 1 is lost there are those in your church. There are some people on your church book that are dead and I mean literally you haven't looked at your church books and I don't know how long I came into my last church I pastored and I started looking at the names on the church books and as I started doing a little bit of digging so to speak I found out that they were in the grave already and that the church had not been keeping track of their records and and you know what that to me is tragic you know if the church doesn't care enough about people either know whether they are alive or dead physically they certainly aren't keeping track of the ones that are spiritually dead and helping to reactivate that So within your church you have these individual and if you will patiently go out and visit those people and start working with them you can reactivate them when they begin to find out there's somebody in the church that cares you know they left the church 20 years ago and not since that has anybody ever darkened their door said anything to them written to them call them visited them anything nothing like that has ever happened and I don't think anybody cares why because for 20 years nobody did it and when somebody suddenly does and you're praying for those people also the Spirit of God starts to reactivate people and they can become some of your best workers we. Move. Here. Sabbath school is already a small group and it should be happening in a small group environment because that's there I remember. Callum Smith would. Have a school director from this conference in years ago. And he talks have a school action unit all over the world couldn't get them started here Michigan is going to just wait. America has a hard time doing that but the Sabbath school class is a place where that should be taking place and can take places from easy thing is the place to start and in small groups and local church are a great way so put that on your list you know even though I don't think I'm going to be getting into that here but it is it is 1 of the things that I talked about earlier and some of the training that we're doing small groups is a great way to activate people and to keep focus on people so they don't get a lot larger churches have a greater problem with this don't think small churches don't because even though they small churches may know the person is not there they're not doing anything about it and that's the tragic part of that is that if you don't have a plan you're not following it that makes sense so if you have a plan you're going to least know whether you're following it or not. Members that have dropped out and why do they do it they're not being challenge with their with their with their ministry I you know I there's nothing going on here there's no reason nobody needs me I've never been asked to do anything in the church because you know the the patriarch of the church has been the head all or for 45 years and and nobody else is good enough to do anything in the church and their church is like that am I right and so people are not being utilized they do not develop meaningful devotional life. That means that people are not. Growing in their relationship with Jesus so they easily drift away from Jesus and from the church they just stop going to church and nobody notices nobody comes to find out why they're not and they just assume that they're on vacation or whatever and 10 years later they say wait a minute could they still be on vacation. OK I got generated that that after 3 or 4 weeks somebody should be saying where are they what happened to them and then somebody needs to go and find out better yet after 1 or 2 weeks you know make sure that something's going on and then if there is an issue to go and find out whether it's a spiritual discouragement issue or what it might be in some cases it's crawler with the church members or moral problems that have developed which is why I've been teaching a class on redemptive discipline and working through the problems that develop near and my class today I'm going to be focusing in on on dealing with conflict in the church because problems arise quarrels arise and we as leaders need to have a plan to deal with those those issues now that's not quite in my area of growth doing growing the Georgian developing the church but you also want to maintain the church so you don't lose the ones you add. You know I visit a church I visit the church recently really terrific lady came up to me and said you know my ministry in the church is light and birthday cards to all our church members and she said I Did you know tell me when your birthday is and I'll send a birthday card out to you know the irony is my birthday was like 2 or 3 days away. She didn't know that and and I said Well you're right on time I both age is coming up but when you stop and think about it that's really great and she has that ministry and somebody is doing it that's good but after 10 years of the same person sending it out people say oh it's just so and so's any other birthday card and then they don't really think of. When the church members and the whole participate in this really good point. That I hear another comment over here all right I'm going to keep going I just notice that my clock is doing that to me again and going on and I want to be able to pull with all together here in the moment. The church is cold boring in an accepting some people will drop out for that reason Occasionally people will drop out for theological reasons and that is seldom but I'm upright is growing and the reason is because we're not disciple telling those members we're not teaching them how to get involved as as as church members and also how to develop their relationship with Jesus that discipleship Handbook has a devotional plan in the back of that book and everybody can be doing that I use that in my personal emotions what I use I.E. I had the privilege of baptizing an individual. Several months ago and I've been going through the discipleship manual with him as well I wanted because because I was the 1 working with him I was the logical person to do that and I said you know I've not used this manual I want to know how it works and I'll tell you what I'm through this this individual who's coming back to the 7th day in this church having grown up as an add in this that I left the church many years ago. And as he has gone through this we've been applying the various things and 100 things that I challenge him to do was get in there and do devotional life and to experience that and on. To this. Time and I challenge in my soup take just 5 minutes and and then that bends that 10 minutes and so on and so forth and so as the mentors guide says keep asking them how it's going so I keep asking him how it's going and he saying now ya I'm doing it I'm still you know I'm sitting hey this works you can look and and so these tools take a look at them use them in your own life reach out to people with them and share them as well reclaiming missing members laying plans to reclaim missing members there are some steps here visiting them as an important part of it not being condemning and reaching out to them and on we're going to spending more time on that particular area here are some questions that you can ask when you go and visit some tools there again I'm going to move on because I want to get to this other area of holding new members as well. Adventist churches or a fishing boat is the question is asked here at church that does not evangelize will fossilize So the i've already said that from the beginning and come back and say that your church is not growing it's dying if it's stagnating it's die. It's dying it's dying. So if you've got 3 choices of what's going on in your church is dying it's stagnating which is dying or it's growing those are your 3 options that you have and the Laodicean model is a dying church and has steadily dying you won't be ready when Jesus comes it won't be ready to see Jesus the members won't be ready to see Jesus and the community will know that Jesus is coming and they will be the people that would say why didn't you tell us about this at the church that is active and is involved in reaching out is not the church is a dying involves a lot of. Yes absolutely I got all the answers. That's why a set of the beginning of this class I am not going to share anything with you this dramatic. The pastor has this happen to me almost every day this week. We have a duo tional time staff meeting time for about 40 minutes each morning and 1 of our pastors every morning is doing a short and then an emotional and it seems like every 1 of those devotionals is addressed an issue that I face in my class right afterward I just OK so the Lord's doing that today the devotional was about it features chapter 6 and a vision Chapter 6 you know is where Paul talks about the blood the army and the armor that God wants us to put on and you go back to that it's basic isn't study the Bible it's. Pray it share the gospel share the message and that's the armor of God In summary we need to get back with the basics that we don't need anything dramatic That's why we need to start with prayer and then we start talking about the various things that we can do in our church systematically the pieces that I'm talking about here are the very pieces that you need to integrate into your church but you can't go back and do them all at once you going to have to start 1 piece of the time a question what you're Chuwit. You're on a sting church OK I know a little bit about the hazing church I know where it is an old building and I know some of your members in your church. Also know it's not a large church but it's not the smallest church and in Michigan I know you have an evangelist Dick pastor you love to reach out and do public of Angela's I'm. And your church needs to undergird that by doing the kinds of things that we've talked about by getting active in the kinds of things that reach out to the community and the going to do that because if you will do that then billboard will start bringing people to you the reason our churches are not growing is because we're not doing anything Jesus cannot bless us he doesn't bring people to us because we don't know what to do with them when they come but we need to begin to a set up a very simple basic structure in our church and I and it sounds it sounds like a platitude but I mean that where you start simple and you put those pieces into place for example. Well let me keep going let me finish this out and then I'll pull that altogether and I think that will help answer the question if you don't feel I have even at the last couple minutes say you still haven't answered my question are it. So and holding those new members is a very critical part of this I think with other signs that a lot of Michigan have already talked about the discipleship handbook it's critical to understand that these 1st few months are the time when the church member new church members are likely to fall away it says 18 to 24 months can be a real danger time yes it can so don't even to let that happen start with a discipleship process immediately after they are baptized take the the the book is designed for 6 months we know that it needs to be for a couple of years we know that let's start with the 6 months because in that 6 months you can begin to activate them into the role that's what that discipleship handbook is partially designed to do is the mentor should be finding our niche for that person in the church in terms of so winning an outreach whether it's giving Bible studies or helping in some community projects or whatever the case may be and something that connects them and gives them an outlet for sharing their faith with this fellow that I've been studying with the 2 things that we've done 1st of all our 1 of the things that helped to really connect him with the church is he joined the corral when the church lancing corralled and saying you're on Sabbath of you haven't to hear them he's part of that corral before he became a member he joined that and that helped integrate him today they go out and they go down on Adam the sources as well so he's got an integrated that way 2nd of all he has a business that he runs and in that business I said Put glow tracks out in your in your in your business and we provided him with a display and then glow Drax for it and he uses that as an outlet to be able to reach out and getting into that this is all part of that whole experience so get them involved that way be friend them teach them the 5 basics here visit them involve them use the Michigan conference discipleship plan there it is folks the. See I've been talking about it and here it is right already and here I knew it was somewhere I knew I'd put it somewhere I couldn't remember where it wasn't in the reviews morning anyway the discipleship handbook looks like this they're valuable there this is actually a picture of a flyer that I inserted in here and includes that and it's a way of closing the back door this is what God wants us to do now let me summarize this and then I'm going to. Seek to answer that question that was asked the combined effect of the new members influence on old friends and the attractive example of a change the life make powerful so learning tools personal ministries used to be something that was accentuated every steerage in Michigan in the North American in every Sather in between Sabbath school and church that with many years ago it started to drop away and the reason that did personal ministries leaders would stand and they would read something out of Christian service or whatever and sit back down you know the church could stand that only for so long before church members didn't want to hear it and even stopped coming to church because they didn't want to hear it it was boring it wasn't exciting when churches then turn around and they start you know like Bible Study author dot com and somebody starts coming to church and and that person gets excited about the church and then they bring them up in prominent judge and the person says it was listen the strong tower radio that brought me to the church or and then I got this fly I mean I was listening to the message then I got a Bible study offer dot com in the mail and and and I started taking Bible studies and that's why I'm here today and I'm excited about those the church members saying well what was that. That's the basics that we need to have in our local Jews What is your role in the church. You're there. Fantastic that's a great opportunity you might want to think about training your elders and I knew deacons in your deaconesses and what a role their role actually is that effect if you will see me after this class I'm going to give you some material that I'd like you to look at and then go in there and look there and find out that part of the soul a lot of the role of the deacon and the deacons and so winning an organizing a church for that purpose and we are willing to come and do some training in your church in that regard if you will activate the deacons and deaconesses in your church with your role specifically you will begin to find that the rest of the department in the church will begin to want to organize as well because they see what's happening there to take advantage of that run on going to keep going to just a moment I want to bring these pieces together the basics grow Michigan integrate this into your church go to your church board and ask yourself Are we doing the preparation of the soil activities if you're not that's the place to start you know you may not be able to do 20 of them in a year do 1 or 2 and do it well do it to the best of your ability if it doesn't go well and value why why it didn't don't dispense with it now for example 1 church in Michigan had a cooking school I mean a vegetarian cooking demonstration event once a year I think the 1st on they did or they had a handful of people come and they decided to keep doing it and they did it every year for years when they finally stopped doing it which is an interesting part of the story when they stopped doing it they had hundreds coming out every year or 2 that the problem was they became it became an event in itself and stead of becoming an outreach and soul and then. All I'm saying by that is if you will continue to do things that are the right thing to do even though with the purse time it doesn't seem to work well you might get a few get a few more Alright number 1 prep represented a solo number to get there and start doing the seed planting the needs to be done and then also the cultivating process if you can't get everybody involved getting 1 or 2 involved in that process but use girl Michigan as the initiative realize that the things that we've talked about here of missing members and all those others are all things that can be part of this art of this right now the sky's the limit of what you might be able to do take advantage of each little piece that you possibly can then plan for public a vandalism Nothing worries me more than a church and says we have about 100 churches maybe a 120 churches something like that doing unlock revelation this New Year 1. Every single church should be doing it every single church should be doing it we're tired so what Jesus is coming again get active get excited maybe you are tired but do it because Jesus will bring people to you when you're doing something it didn't work so well last time maybe you didn't do enough of the initial events that will help to do that maybe you have whatever but do it and then have a plan for following it up muse grow Michigan as your basis start with that make sure that I as you as a board member is a leader in your church that your church is doing it if it's not doing it ask why not and also help to develop that plan go to the pastor work with them don't just do it yourself go to the pastor integrate with that your pastor Perth or are you going to have to pick your pastor up off the floor and then when you revives then say I want to help to to get our church going in the grow Michigan process and then your churches will grow you're going in the right direction and you'll have that you've got the tools in the resources just begin pulling those pieces together now my goal that day was not to solve all your problems it was to start to open a door Michigan Conference teams here to help you beyond if you feel that you got enough resources and ideas today to be in the integrate that a new church prays and will go back if you feel that you still need more than call us and we'll be happy to work with you on an individual basis I'm willing to do that I know all the Howard is willing to do that we're all willing to do that to some extent the ones of us the do that the most are over Howard myself in the ring staff and we're happy to help you in that mobile church pull these pieces all together I'm out of time I've got to stop Bernie you're going to say something about. Absolute. So if your church doesn't have permitting start 1 of your own. Have 2 or 3 people coming together and studying the Bible get them trained together praying together and already said earlier be sure that you that you spend time praying that's where revival comes that's what your church is want and what your church is need is that revival experience and God will bring it in answer prayer is not doing it because we're not praying we just do right to do our works and not allow the Spirit of God to be in control Well I hope you're encouraged I hope you've gotten some ideas and again call us if you don't have what you need we want to activate your church I'm going to quickly ask before we leave here just tell me what your cheer from what your view from. All Hillsdale OK that was an age thing is different. Now Haven Hastings'. Yes OK great. OK Great actual and wonderful We know you from village where you from are the. 1 on a whale great to refine the idea to from on away from the reed city Granted I love that great spread so talk to your pastors talk to your district get training together and support each other let's have particular. Father in heaven thank you for being with us today I pray that you will be with us as we go our ways today we scratch the surface and should do what it takes to grow a church but there are some basic ingredients that you've given to us in the 1st 1 of her but once we have prayed and surrendered this to you you've also taught us to be active. And we know that you have a plan to grow churches here in the she and we pray that you will help us to integrate each 1 of those pieces into what we do may be the focus so learning focus of our church to reach out to the community and make a difference. Thank you the. 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