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Ignite Your Church - Part 8: Evaluating Your Church

Kameron DeVasher


Kameron DeVasher

Director of Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Michigan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church




  • June 20, 2019
    8:45 AM
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All right are we ready to get started we should be it's $20.00 to $16.00 now Pastor cam is going to be leaving out the staff to noon but he's getting another seminar started and apologise for being running a little bit late I still live near here so I went home and I tried to mow as much of my lawn as I could during the lunch break and get back here he's kicking off another seminar and he's going to be over and as I told you earlier for those who were here earlier we're going over the evaluation tool but he's going to share with you the interaction we've had in the local churches in District 6 where we have given them this tool for evaluation let them discuss it as a church and then we've come in as a conference and discussed it with the church leaders to see what their take is and give them direction now that direction and I should have shared this earlier in our last session today we made up what we called an implementation guide Ok so you go through this and you say well our church. It's there's some positives but there are certain areas we need to grow and improve in what do we do how where do we start how do we begin shifting away from our past or standard model and get more evangelistic and focused the implementation guider is actually very specific and practical steps that we've given them to do even in the order that we would have them do them in other words months wanting to start doing these things in your church and then months 3 in 4 start doing these things that's what we're going to do in our 2nd hour this afternoon so here from 215315. Pastor Cameron's going to be covering some of the more practical experience we've had with evaluation tool and then that other is going to take place from 330 to 430 now I said I was going to do this earlier in the challenge is that this class always it's like church service where we said earlier today like 1135 for those who aren't here this is a secret between us that were here earlier that we take attendance at 1135 because that's the apex that's the peak that's when we know we're going to get the most but I'm going to do this because I said I was going to do it yesterday and I don't want to just miss out on it and I'm not going to be teaching this whole time so while we're waiting on Cameron I told you I was going to give you the sure fire method of getting a Bible study now it was when one of the 1st can't meetings I attended I was not a pastor yet I in fact was right before I began Bible working and my brother Jim who's going to be here tomorrow teaching some stuff he. He and I were attending this can't meeting it was a training classes so when in class and the pastor leading out was a pastor named Tony Zerilli on oh he's passed away since excellent pastor from I think he was in North Carolina. Anyway post man converted to pastor that was his testimony supposed to post man a pastor but he was a real so winner and he shared with us at that can't mean what he called Tony's sure fire method for getting a Bible study he built it on the premise of the woman at the well where Jesus had that encounter with the woman at the well and he could have offered to help her when she was there getting all that water but he knew because of the whole circumstances there in the prejudice that existed between Jew and Gentile male and female for him to offer to help her out would have likely had a response like I don't need your help that's who you Jewish men are you think all of us American women need help you know he knew there was that because there was always tension there and that in that culture so instead of offering to help he asked her for a favor. And it made all the difference and he shared that with us and he says here's what I want you to do you're here kid now I'm telling you this I'm not telling you just the story but I'm telling you the same thing he told us your here taking a class and then true and in order for you to be to really complete it successfully you we can talk all day long about giving Bible studies and other things but in order for you to complete it successfully you really need to give somebody else share some Bible studies with somebody Ok so he says here's what I want you to think of somebody you've always wanted to study with give him a phone call in those days a payphone find a payphone again was give him a phone call and because he asked us there he said I want to know who right here will go and do this call him up and say I'm taking a class and in order for me to complete it I need to share some Bible studies or Bible lessons with somebody I'm a little bit nervous and I was wondering if you could help me out and you don't have to say it just like that or have you thought well I'm never not nervous about anything final say but that was the gist of asking a favor and he asked who would do it and we probably had about 7 people that 1st day say oh we'll go and do it my brother and I were just like yeah right as no go or next day we started class and he asked Ok how many of you did what I asked hands went up Ok how many of you had got a person who said yes I think 6 out of 7 had yeses It was amazing and we're just like that's incredible so he said how many today want to try to raise your hand you know we're going to go do this thing. The person I asked was my cousin and she said no but the other 5 people that asked people said yes again all the yes and one of those was my younger brother Ron who doesn't have to be here but his my sister in laws here his wife and that started a chain of circumstance my brother started studying with him and then that study. Went on hold for quite a long while and then he resumed it with my brother rottenness wife and then they ended up getting baptized all from that starting from asking that going that can't meeting and just asking somebody a favor pastor Cameron I have done this and maybe you can talk about that when you get up Aaron but we've done this in all the trainings we've done recently in every case we do it it's the same 90 to 95 percent of the people get yeses then it's like what do I do what do I do well you can give a bit of study and the different I've had we had just a church I did this at recently a gentleman came up it's like you know I thought about asking my brother I've already asked him he's always said no he was never interested but I thought Oh oh what's going to hurt I'll ask him again I'll ask him your way he did it the brother said yes so I'm just telling you try it and I would love to have you tried here can't me so you could tell us what happened Ok but be prepared to be giving Bible studies that's all I'm going to tell you and if you get a No like I did ask somebody else you'll get a yes sometime or another and I'm going to take any more time that's the sure fire method you know the heart of the sure fire method you know at the heart of it is just asking you can ever get by will save somebody you know ask for a Bible study so asking is the heart of it but asking the favor is helpful pastor Cameron deadly Father thank you so much for this beautiful day outside to think that we could be inside here at the manual Institute covering these important themes in topics as we look to know how to ignite our churches how to really grow them or we don't want to do just something flash in the pan or something passing them faddish we would like to build our churches around the framework that you've given us in your word in the spirit of prophecy so help us understand what that looks like and how we can be faithful to the model you've given us if we pray it in Jesus' name amen. So if you would please take out that church evaluation tool again and if you don't have one they are over there here's one for you and I think there's some actually in this corner right over there on that very front corner chair. So I think there might be some on the side there might be some other ones but hopefully everyone has a copy the whole bucket right here. They go so there's those over there there's those right here if anybody needs one coming get em raise your hand or you know. In some way indicate cough or sneeze something. All right so let's say that you're a local church and you have filled out this form Ok now I'm sure that Mark covered this but I don't member exactly what he said but the goal for what we did in our process in District 6 does everybody know we're time and we say the District 6 initiative no let me briefly explain Ok One of the things as soon as soon as Marc and I came into the office I was there just a couple months more before him but the leadership was very very clear what we want you to do is get out in the field and take this training to the people Ok and the temptation is to start let's get a calendar let's fill it out and to start to go a rotation around the conferences just take any invitation it comes just fill up the calendar with Sabbaths and preaching and it's going to stop those build a website and it done is very quickly that we could fill up a calendar go speak to a lot of different places take a lot of pictures have a nice website and. Make it look like a lot's going on because a lot would be happening a lot of activity but it wouldn't be getting traction in a place is just a one hit there flash in the pan here the next clip and all you do is like have a high peak Sabu and then that's it with $188.00 churches and companies we could just do that almost on an endless loop and never get anywhere so we can't do the opposite and say just let's pick one and really drill down into it because we've got 100 days so how do you find that balance. So the idea of a single district which in the Mishne conference there he said Well but there's 13 districts the Spanish work is all one district and then there's 12 geographical zones or districts in the Michigan conference zone one district one they have 6 pastors up there you know basically they're all about the same size you'll have a district superintendent and then you have the pastors and churches in that territory so we picked District 6 for several reasons or one that a very vengeful Stickley minded and eager to train. A District Superintendent Terry Dodge is running a.b. here they had good cooperated pastors we talked and said look we want to partner with you news you guys as a guinea pig we develop resources we need a place to try it out can you be our research development lab they were when they were open to that so we appreciate the pastors buy in with that also it's decent enough distance from Lansing that we can get there and back reasonably It's not a 4 hour drive each time I want to go one and a half to 3 hours or so is what it takes to get there and we committed ourselves to being in that district not just by phone and email but actually physically being there things like board meetings business meetings church services pretty just actually being in the churches more so we can not talk in the abstract we can be hands on with it but at the same time we also don't want to like shift from Pastor dependency to conference dependency either right we want to do we don't want to be doing the work we want to be helping facilitate you guys doing the work right and then the also the thing is demographically District 6 is a good cross-section of Michigan churches District 6 thank you for that question geographically as talk about that we all know or mitten right District 6 is this this area from the from back up through whatever portion of your hand this is right but it's that little hook around the lake there so it's on the east side north of Detroit you know but not the far north so you're you know getting into Canada but that area and. This if I remember the off time I had correctly there's about District 6 has about a total membership of want to say just over a 1000 members between the 17 churches that are represented there 7 pastors 17 churches and roughly a 1000 members which makes the average membership of one of those churches 64. Ok and that is a good average size of a church in Michigan because there are 4 churches in District 6 that are over 100 membership leaving 13 that are under in the average being 64 so the good cross-section we figured Ok we got some with schools some about some big some are small but it's a good cross-section and if we can learn a model that works in this kind of capacity we can export it into the other districts more easily Ok so what we did we started with a conference I mean a district wide rally and that was in Jan the last Sabbath of January of 2019 and. Stayman peppers and Howard and I did on the 1st Sabbath of January was try to get into every one of those churches and preach so we're doing 2 or 3 churches a Sabbath the 1st few weeks of January to hit 17 churches in 3 weeks between 4 people you can do it and our goal for those sermons was one thing get people to that rally my sermon was literally entitled show up. Right and then basically if you're the number one thing you can do to start and this is true for you guys to the number one thing you can do to start moving your church in the right direction is to start showing up everything prayer meeting business meeting board me you name it does whatever happens be there was I got this rally let's put it to the test you going to be there the end and praise the Lord we had well over $200.00 I think about $22240.00 something like that which in District $600.00 of Sabbath with $200.00 plus people as I sat at the deed it was great and they most 95 percent of stayed for the whole day for the training everything where we went through this you know evaluation tool set right after the rally you're going to go home and you can start doing this put in their hands and said Ok you're going to sit down the 1st stop is with your church board your pastor your clerk and your elders your board members are to go through this document and then when they're done we will come in from the comfort side and review your evaluation with you in a church business meeting setting so that the whole church family can see what the results of this are so the 1st thing to do is just get a diagnostic Where are we and this is a great tool for that so. The pastors went and did their thing also they it was the very 1st thing they did they also did a 10 day a prayer program they don't do Mark Finley's 10 days in the Upper Room book they had a special prayer in physics week a prayer 10 days of prayer and local church contacts and some people did it each night some people did it 2 or 3 times with whatever their schedule would allow for you say in this time frame in these next few weeks make sure you do a 10 day of prayer and praise or that was one of the the rally was I felt very successful then we went into the local church and they started doing these prayer meetings and as a result of just that alone the rally than the fall prayer meeting several of the churches in that district have said that prayer meetings not just increase it has doubled or more attendance wise just through going through the process just emphasizing And so we're excited about the traction going and the church boards want to work on the valuation to. And then we come back in and go through in a business meeting say hey this is what your church looks like and they would go through their membership I just would basically have what shook out to be about a 2 hour business meeting with the church family and again Mark and Wes and Royce and I took turns so we each did about was it 4 or 5 churches apiece or something so I have been to every single one of the church I think I've been to every church now District 6 in some capacity but by the way it's not our only job this year we're also taking care of the rest of the comforts so we're doing those one off invitation training weekends but we're trying to focus on this one so we can take what we learned from here and apply it elsewhere right so anyway you go through this and as Mark was kind of alluding to right here in the attendance thing is where you start to get your 1st like hub and that interesting because you go to a church that might have maybe say 2030 people on a Sabbath and you say what do you think a membership is you find out you've got 120 people books or something like that you know you realize like whoa people don't even Nessie know what the church membership is in there then you start breaking it down to like are how many actually in the worship service how many in the status quo I think Mark referred to me putting in the bulletin those attendance numbers at the last church that I was at I think the number was 374 on the books when I 1st attended there in the temptation from an evangelist pastor perspective and say how big is your church about 400. It is 374 but you quickly realize that's not how many people are actually in the pews on the Sabbath so we start instructing the deacons to take a head count every Sabbath and then you quickly learn it's a big difference we know 11 o'clock 1135 so take that 1135 and we give the high number the high watermark right so they come back in that average in our case about 160 and when I say average you can do you know over the course of a month we did over the course of 6 or 8 months we do license long sample sets it was because you know there are seasons in the church right so I mean holiday seasons are different some are different but if you aggregate it over the whole thing spread it cos you get a good average that's about 160 in our case so we started putting that number in the bulletin just to bring awareness to people because it dawned on me we track money to the penny but we let people go for 20 years as like I'm going to count something let's help people 1st and this not to neglect the one but what if they don't neglect the one but do both you know do don't sacrifice the one for the other anyway and then we said no wait a minute that's still not accurate because we sat a school is in there that should be just as important as worship service right that's where you're about the mission of the church and you give the mission offering and you have your small group format and have your Bible study foundation and all different things you don't get in the worship service we found out our average there was about 90 almost half of what it was for the worship service is that what about prayer meeting and that when it it being 13 right and is it possible you have a church of 374 people in the book only 13 people come to prayer meeting yes it's possible fact I dare say it's probable Ok so just and as the churches went through that and saw how many people actually are here compared on the books that's the initial like. So we could have some issues here. Then when you further drill down and you start seeing like our largest demographic in many churches I should've brought a sample of these filled out ones that we churches dicks they turn them all back into us but. Many of the churches the largest demographic bracket was anybody want us senior citizens right Ok. Or sometimes it's the adult that $964.00 that missing grappa it's great but most of them maybe say 80 or 90 percent fell in the inactive category so they might be there on paper but they're not there in person and if you don't have kids at all and all the adults you have don't show up then you're down to senior citizens and as Mark mentioned there are some churches that just threw out the mission conference not just District 6 but are and I don't mean this to scathingly but they're there one heart attack or stroke away from being done and they realize that in their thinking like look we have the same 3 people and 2 of them are a couple that are married to I mean what if there was Heaven forbid a car accident if there was one thing and that's it that's game over that not all of them wreck condition but there's a there's an unsettling trend right then we go on. And we walk through you know the difference in active and supportive bubble and then the core values thing comes up and then we have the whole church membership sitting in a business meeting and say What is your church all about here well there's my think you're all about say evangelism or prayer meeting or the church but you realize that only a certain fraction your membership actually participate in those things and only a portion of your funds go to pay for those things so you might think that you're all about that but you're not really I had one of the frustrations I was an academy Bible teacher and pastor of the Catholic church for about a year 7 years and. I would be frustrated with that job. Because we would do an outreach of it and we would talk oh it would be on the calendars and all the promotional materials and all the websites of the photography all about we want to have pictures of kids and being active and so whatever the thing was right the good image we want to project Ok make all the promotional materials about that but when you actually go and say I we're going to go out reach the sad afternoon nobody shows up and I'm talking adults to staff to there's no becomes But in the into the years ahead you have a photograph of all the outreach and stuff you everybody wants that to be the thing we're known for but people actually do the thing we want to project and when you start breaking it down in terms of like how many people actually participate in this function or how many how much money is given to it or time or focus of the board. That's starts to open the eyes a little bit more now. Another conversation we would have is again the church school he'll be frustrated like woah that this is our outreach this is our evangelism Ok and that is there are definitely evangelistic elements to the work of the church school for sure but let me ask if you didn't have any kids would you open a school you know every single school we have was open to because we have kids that we want to have an end but they're our kids right and again having worked in evidence education we get very very evangelist stick when our own Roman is down all the snow are allowed on the Hill we want to advertise everybody but I guarantee you had a local church school that $100.00 church member students in there and they were all paying their bill faith and everything you would be putting up those billboards right because you know that this is our safe place for our kids to get advice educate that which is what it's supposed to be right. But it's primary function though it has evangelist in outreach elements there should be some component to it its primary thing is to nurture the children within our own church family is primarily a nurture thing and there's nothing wrong with that but if a church says Look 70 percent of our church budget is going to something that's just nurturing us and then we need 20 percent for administrative costs and utilities everything then the less Ok we have a great commission and 5 percent of our budgets going to it you start to realise where are people going what are they doing what is our money doing what is our membership What do we do with his membership books and. Yes Mark I think alluded to this I'm trying to remember all the things that he said I was going to cover this afternoon make sure you get it all in there one of those things was the I've jokingly called it it's have to go kingly we had this big grow your church initiative in its agricultural and it's motif you know all the icons are preparing planting sowing all these kinds Well there is a biblical principle that geez I'm self taught that in order to grow you need to prune right for instance Jesus said If a tree is growing but it's not bearing fruit you need to cut it down right but if it is bearing fruit What do you need to do you need to prove it you need to cut it to all crops need to be cut some may be cut down just some need to be cut back right but the purpose of that is to enhance growth right you don't want for instance it take the agricultural metaphor that Jesus used there if a plant is if a tree is growing but it's not producing fruit why would you cut it down. Because it's taking valuable resources that could be spent like the water in the soil in the space in the sun all of that could be used by another thing that would produce fruit right so plus it gives the impression I'm looking at this great orchard but if x. percentage of those trees aren't bearing fruit it's actually had a because I think things are going well when they're not. Remember didn't Jesus curse a tree one time because it looked like it was bearing fruit it should be bearing fruit it comes up and it's just sitting there fake and you like curse you tree. Right and you realize you've got to chop it down now I'm not here advocating star 6 just minus the closing churches a bulldozer not a no but we should have a discerning judicious approach to saying if just because we have a tree or a church doesn't mean we just keep pouring the resources in without any kind of you know fought process and strategy about or even reflection is even working now right and you notice this in the church membership in a local church I guarantee you I don't know what local church you're from but I guarantee it's the same you're going to have far more accurate numbers of the people coming in than you have a people going out not even close right you know the day they get baptized you mark it down you have a little bit you have a certificate for the whole thing is there you put it on the website you take a picture and you frame it it was wonderful but what about the day they leave the church or as they're leaving Sabbath they skip the next 7 nobody this you know what I'm saying which is kind of drift away and the problem is sometimes that has happened for not just months or years it's been decades one of the things I did in each of the last 2 districts I was a pastor of is. I still think it's a good thing but I left with fewer members than we came with to the tune of each church we've got about 50 members. And I think like well that is the coldest mean hearted thing I've ever heard right but let me tell you something. We didn't even get to the 2nd tier of people who are sometimes there or might be back we're just talking about people we didn't even know. We didn't have names and we literally listed him in the bulletin if anyone attending church today as ever heard of this person please let the elder heard Deacon on duty know you know we're trying to get in touch with them and there was that. The reference to make because there was a lady who one of these trainings that we did in District 6 and she was just very frustrated so you know it's the same 10 of us working all the time how do we get more people involved so how many church members you have to say I think your number was like 830140 or something that I said is just the 10 of you doing everything right she said yet that's so discouraging and I said well wait a minute what if it was the same 10 of you doing the exact same amount of work but there are only 10 members would you be as exhaust is another be fine because there's a discouragement gap because in the back of your mind you know where is everybody else why are they helping to I'm not here cite and it's a legitimate frustration and it makes your work way harder than it needs to I mean I'm not even joking I've got a document called prune your church I'm talking about all the reasons it's good to do a judicious cutting or at least an audit and evaluation of your membership not just to say I don't know you're out 1st of all it wouldn't be great if I don't know you come back in right the goal shouldn't be like punitive The goal is redemptive the goal is to like with this missing numbers of people like looking for I don't know how to study the Bible if there's 100 people in your church books right now who probably just need a personal touch or maybe just a come on back and it's hard to listen through it right and how to deal with missing members. That's an important skills that we need in our churches there's a group of people right there you can get contact with. So that gap of people between who was on paper what actually is in person creates a frustration because you go into a church saying it all right we can do all this because we've got these big you know you can't you don't have 150 people you have 10 that's what you have. And I kind of like to make the joke that you know if you have a church if you know 50 people about 5 people do everything but if you have a church of 150 people about 5 people do everything and reality is that's how most churches operate there's that core you do most everything and they're very frustrated with it and the other people think like they're so controlling and these people are saying like they're so lazy you know what you know there could be some reconciliation there to do broaden because the goal I put this we don't have a white board here but I think of the church in concentric circles you know the outer circle is those who are just there on paper Ok The next circle in is those who actually show up in person but they don't participate anything more than just attending or support it right you have that. Just on paper then you have supportive and you have active right and then there's that core who are actually executing the plans and the so the goal is to expand that inner circle so that by God and at the same time decrease the outer circle so that ideally you have one circle that if you have 50 members on the books that means you have 50 active participants in a local church so that when you see that number it means what it says you don't have to like decipher it and put an asterisk next to it and say like actually that was 20 years ago but today we only have these people don't do that accuracy transparency accountability these things inspire trust and build confidence. It's accurate information for me just makes me feel at ease for instance I do not enjoy pretty much in any way flying on an airplane I don't like it it's unnatural God didn't intend that someday we'll have wings until then. And for my reply whole hang up once we get to cruising altitude descending I'm usually fine but it's that taking off thing you know and these things are huge in their head me and I've seen all the cargo just like flooding into the bottom of it is like and so heavy and I see all these people and the people are getting bigger all the time to energy. And I'm tell you you hear those big engines go over Warren starts to rumble down and it's like I know what we're about to do we have to get all of this up there right and it's got to work you don't hear a lot about fender benders and you know it's either up or it's down if you will and so you start taking off like and you hear that and I don't know if you're a bad flyer I'm sorry I'm just like sharing my personal right but one thing I really wish that there was a ministry they could do I love it on the bigger flights we go or something to have like the screen you have all that information here's our altitude you can see it going up Praise the Lord you can see the speedo it's increasing good enough and that but and when we're banking on the side it's like you know we knew that was coming that's part of the they used to have it we could listen to the pilots conversation stuff feel like I banked to the right is like so when I feel the airplane do it I knew what was going on and that was accurate right it just makes you feel better to have accurate information I literally have talked to flights that I shouldn't reveal this much but I've talked to flight attendants couldn't they you would need to hire somebody just have a computer program that just talks you through what's actually going on in the airplane or you know like by the way we're 10000 feet that's when you can turn on these things there's a little turbulence up ahead so if you feel the bumps that's what that is we're going to be taking a right turn like thank you so you don't just like fly ball what are we doing oh now I know what we're doing right it's accurate would it be nice to walk into a church in the books are accurate that those are the actual numbers we don't have to like 2nd guess and hope it turns out like that I know we're going to fight them but we don't never know what's going to. Be nice to have things just work and you know and you could just be confident. I think we need that kind of transparency accountability I think it builds confidence in the church and the 1st step is to look within on his glance what are our numbers who are we really. Anyway so we go through all that and you look at all the activities there is one and I don't know I wasn't here the whole time but did Mark go over the idea of tying this to the cycle of evangelism is if not this is one of the edits we're going to be making of this document pretty sure of it because I think the trick question was asked earlier if we actually had in the local church total member involvement of every single member were doing something in the church would your church grow. Not necessarily is the correct answer maybe because what if everyone was active in the church right but they were all just doing social events inside the church or they were all just doing felt need to ministries are all just doing one thing well you got to have are they doing preparing the soil ministry and are they actually distributing literature and sowing the seed and are they after offering Bible studies and follow up on those Bible studies are they holding evangelists to campaign to the are they doing all the necessary elements are you just doing one thing a whole lot of and because I know there's a lot of churches that have active members who are very frustrated that you're not seeing any outcome was only because you're doing one phases just like you tilling the soil I've sowed so much sea but you've never cultivated it you've never weeded you've never harvested and you're frustrated because you're hungry is not the seeds problem God has put all the tools in our hands that we need to how to work the system he's given us right I believe that in the local church the goal shouldn't be to reinvent the wheel we need to learn to drive the car the gods are given us Ok and I believe in the Bible in the spirit of prophecy and in our own church experience we've got plenty of good ideas of how to do it right it's just actually doing it following through with what we need to do. Anyway little diatribe there but that's where we I think we need another step in this document maybe in this big blank area right here to say like now look at those ministries and where do those line up in the cycle of evangelism and if you notice that your church is really geared toward this one thing or really you're all about the nurture you're all about the preparing the soil or you hold evangelists but that's the only thing you do right no wonder you're getting incomplete or less than satisfactory results because you're not doing the full cycle the way that's missing from this and I think it needs to go in version 2.0 but will keep going. Back up up up up up up Ok now it was fun is when we get to step 3 the Church Growth indicators and it's already that time shoot Ok that's what church growth indicators this is where it was fun because these are subjective everything else was quantitative just count how many this and put a number to it but when you got to the subjective qualitative aspects like on a scale of one to 10 how do you feel your church does with this I honestly was blown away at the forthrightness and. Sincerity with which church members filled this out and it was really interesting Our Here's what the pastor thinks it is here's what the members think it is and then we'll see in just a minute what the actual numbers bear out Ok but you know. One to 10 is your are you passionate about church growth number 2 our church board consistently place of the growth of God's church the top of our board meeting agenda and there were people who figured out differently because what does top of the agenda mean does that mean the 1st item in a list or does it mean are the most time spent in the meeting even though it might be number 5 on the list. So what does taught me so these are interpretive things that cut the skew the data a little bit and so I think we could write those just a little bit more clearly but when we get to the work of the board which you're all going to attend later this week. I really like the presentations like the church manual whole lot it's really good but it outlines Here's how you're bored me should run and did you know that the very last thing one of the very and now it used to be until 2015 the very last thing on every church mortgage and it was talking about like the finances the very last thing and it says if you don't have time to go over make a subcommittee and move on the number one thing you're so is talk about a church board is evangelism planning for every member to be involved in the work of the church how many boards actually function that way that they're not so I'm not saying here's a new thing when I get rid of that board no I want you have better boards to keep your board and just work it better. Anyway so all those different things and you come down and add up that total tally there. In extras 3.2 page 6 and if on that scale of one if 10 items on a scale of one to 10 if the best you could muster was a 50 or less guarantee you your church is declining in membership like if that's qualitatively how you feel about it we're got a strong hunch that quantitatively when we look at the raw numbers you're going to be right and of course $50.00 to $60.00 maintaining but not growing so you're plateaued right 6070 experiencing low growth 7080 experience excellent growth and this is all theoretical because we've never seen one get that high at least not District 6 we got 17 churches not one of them was say 70 or 80 most of them would score themselves in the 50 to 60 ish range most of them came up with the idea that you know looking back at all these different factors our church is probably maintaining or slightly growing or slightly but it's really kind of an even keel. And that's when I would say Now let me bring you something that you didn't have and I'll pass this out to some of your to some of your use of you to pass them out all of you will have this resource in. I've taken the names of the churches off of here but the 3 samples that you have on this document come from District 6 but I'm not going to tell you which churches they are we're not trying to compete you know make anybody feel good or bad that's not the goal is just to share information. But after they did their evaluation we come back and say Now let's look at the actual numbers how is your church doing in growth and evangelism terms now how we as your passes I'll tell you how we came up with these numbers 1st of all I think Mark alluded to this earlier that Adventists dot net is the online church clerk database that every local church has access to and should be using to keep track of their membership administers net Ok you might your church probably has it you may not know it is a member because usually some only the clerk of the pastor deal with it's just a just a database a file system really an online digital thing. But basically keeps track of all your members and your family units and blah blah blah and like any data it's only as accurate as the input you give it right so for instance as one of my stroke this happens the person mistreats apartment is responsible for Bible study offer dot com and people always ask you how many Bible studies are going on because of the offer dot com That's one of the hardest questions to answer I can tell you how many requests have been made we've got those down to the person that's by the way I think the numbers about 5700 or a floating about the 6000 mark since Bible say offers been launched and the majority of those over 5000 of those are right here in Michigan and I wish I had time to do a whole bible study on her presentation but it's a great ministry it got to use it but it's only as good as you use it. I had a lady buy will get it that it got to stand. But eat Adventists the membership numbers if you think they're off and go talk to your clerk in your past receive and get them right but that's that's only as good as what the input comes in but they're pretty accurate because clerks are usually under doing their job pretty well and what does it mean to say evangelism growth let's look at the top one here the Michigan conference now this one I did leave the name on it because it's our shared sisterhood of churches our whole package here in Michigan and from 2003 to 2018 it's a 15 year sample or I guess 16 your sample but that's the earliest we have the admin is numbers so it's a good sample set set a decade and a half or so and right now at the end of that time you see the 1st line total Michigan conference membership is 2026738 at the end of 2000 to empty in the beginning of 2018 to 267387 Day Adventists in the state of Michigan praise the lord it's good. By the way if every 7 to have a number would work when one person who tries to hear we would obviously double that every year but will see that we haven't been doing that but how have we been doing let's go to total evangelism growth which is the next line down Ok you have bad tis in by evangelism growth I want to qualify what we mean that is baptisms people who are not 70 evidence and join the faith either by baptism or by profession of faith they might have been baptized somewhere else and come in through profession of faith but this does not count like transfers from one church to another church within the conference or even from some other conference in the Michigan this is just evangelist a group. That's great but they're not members of the church into their baptized members of the church yeah that's what though they we've we've decided to count children as people yes and I'm not being facetious but you know it is. No you didn't hear me baptized children are on this list if you have a 10 year old who's grown up in a church but that made the decision for Christ they're not a Christian it but if they get baptized they aren't part of the statistic evangelism growth counts baptized by the way I'm not being harsh to say your kid's not a Christian. What I'm saying is that they haven't made that decision for themselves it might be in a Christian household a Christian church or school yes ma'am. Ok Well no children who are baptized. Right. Exactly that's my point is that children are not considered members and till they are baptized members they make their decision to cry so this is the number of people of whatever age that decide to join the 7th Day Adventist Church either through baptism or profession of faith that's what we're calling a Banjul list growth if you have a child who becomes a member of the church praise the Lord they will get baptized and be part of that statistic Until then they're just part of the larger church family but they're not they might be inside the family unit but they're not going to be listed as a member they can't hold office they're not on the nominee committee that kind of stuff and I members that's my main one is a this is where another was that. There is no profession of faith not professional member I would love it if we have amateur members and then professional members No that's not how that works. I don't know anything about that situation but I'm telling you if you remember the 7 demonstrates there's only 2 ways to become a member you really get baptized here or you got baptized somewhere else and you want to by profession of faith transfer your membership to this denomination from another denomination but if somebody moves from Clare to middle and that's not growth. You're just moving around because inside the mission conference it's not like we lost one again when you just switch places that's it right it's swapping as you were saying we're trying to talk about actual new people coming into the church whether they're young or old that's what we mean to be clear Ok now total evangelism a loss. Seems weird to say evangelist a loss but it's the opposite of that right that is those who have been removed from membership either by their own request by the way if someone writes in and says please remain room remove my names from the books you don't even have a conversation about it at the business meeting you just mention it you don't open the floor to discussion on or their request and that's it now hopefully it doesn't get to the point people are just writing in the letters and you don't have any content odds are you have a long process before it gets there right but if someone says I'd like to remove my name you just honor their request you don't hassle. So remove or removed not by their request but by the discipline process Ok Or there's another category missing death is not and let me let me do this are I know there's a what if they move away what if they die we're not talking about that we're talking about removal 1st of all either by their choice or the church's choice or they've gone missing and you don't remove them from membership but you do move their membership to the missing category and it no longer counts as part of your membership record it's in the conference church in a category a big box called Missing So there's but for all intents and purposes it goes off of your account at the local church Ok that's what we're talking about now total evangelism lost that means removed were missing. For the Michigan conference oh by the way if you didn't mention this the 1st one evangelism growth was 10896 I mean in 15 years we've had almost 11000 baptism to profession to faith in the mission conference Ok but in that same time we've had 396861 people either choose to leave the room be removed for discipline reasons or have just been recognized as missing and gone altogether which tells you that our average annual evangelism growth you just basically take the big number and divide it by however many numbers were how many years you doing this right 1516 whatever was 726.4 But at the same time our average of enjoyment in loss is 264 meaning our net average of Angel growth for each of the past 15 years was 462.4 Now I say this because of the same thing like on the airplane the information it helps you know what's actually going on when we have reports of baptisms of them praise the Lord for every one of those but we have to recognize that for every 726 people 264 are going missing or being removed or requesting removed and again these numbers don't talk about transfers out people who move to another state or people who die this is just looking at our evangelism success or failure. That's how they came up these number there might be a better way to crank the numbers but I'm trying to do the most simple to sinked we do right so that's for the conference of over the whole during that time period I picked out almost at random here 3 churches from District 6 and I just called them sample church one sample 2 and sample church 3 a sample church one has a membership of 135 there evangelism growth over the past 15 years was 50 people they had 50 back to the profession of faith but during that time 11 removed or marked as missing. So their average evangelism growth is 3.33 their average loss is point 73 making a net average evangelism growth each of the past 15 years 2.6 people likely can round it up because it's past point 5. And say about 3 people join and stay in your church every year now you can start talking about now how many people move away how many people die but if your number of funerals is the same as your number of baptisms then are you growing no. No no sir. You're swapping out a living for a Dead. Yes you are taking someone who died in replacing with another person who is alive. Sure and that's why you're not saying you're not declining but you also can't say that you're growing you have to let go past sea level to grow so if for every 3 people come in 3 people die you're going to maintain that same number and that again doesn't factor in transfers out so Ok but let's say even best case scenario you're plateau in with a slight tilt up on the horizon but where is your church going to be in 10 years. I mean just barely squeak and so it's not in danger of closing nobody's like going to do you know change the status this church down to company you know which isn't a thing we do which I absolutely think we should do but we'll come back to that later and we can talk about right now for a 2nd. If you have a local church in order to become a church you have to go through certain processes it takes awhile it takes that while you have to demonstrate attendance and membership in evangelism growth you have to have financial autonomy and sustainability good tied returns are in this certain rubric you don't just say hey we bought a building and we call the church yet to demonstrate and show it usually takes a branch Sabu then you have a company or group and then a company and then there's the suppress right and they usually have a ceremony her a we're a church no but once you get that church brand that designation you know that there's really no like what happens when your membership starts declining after that and maybe drops a half and so we have we have companies that might have 50 people active in active active they're not a church and we have churches they have 5 people you know I think it would be good to have a retro active review and say hey maybe it's not an insult again it's not punitive The goal is to be redemptive maybe if we designate them as an endangered species we could do enter you know we could we could get in there with the word I'm looking for intervention I was thinking not interference that's not what you want you want interventions you know you want you want strategies in place where we should focus our energies on those ones that are hurting the most and build them back up instead of just letting them quietly drift away off into the blue bin and it's a you know I look at the look at the model of the local church in the book in the book of Acts and in early administration but especially the Book of Acts you know. Their best pastoral work would go into the field and raising up new churches making new believers and training them for service right in once the Church was a stablished it had its elders as deacons it was firing all pistons great you guys are your plate is already spinning all come back and check on you but you got this. But we do it not just in the mission conference we would all conferences the complete reverse of that the biggest churches that have 20 plus elders and all these committees always have they'll have a pastor an associate pastor an intern pastor and a bible worker they get all this pastoral care for people who should be able to take care of themselves we've got churches out there dying on the vine and again I'm not saying they need to settle pastor that's going to fix that they need to train or they need to quit or they don't evangelise they need to get life in to be built up so they can handle their things their selves and then move on right but we need to think from a conference perspective how can we build up these churches Eldritch is very fond about and I love it talking about entering into the an injured territories the dark corners of Michigan you know that some of our churches are the dark corners of Michigan in that they need just as much help and they're just we've got to find a strategy to get there I'll tell you something what one thing we're toying around with and I had to give credit to Pastor Christian holiday for coming up with this name but we need a program maybe call it the in my c.h. in ery you know a missionary but people are not asking you to go overseas and as you raise a ton of money we're not asking you to new job or relocate but want to look for those small churches that need your help and if you're within a reasonable driving distance just maybe go and bless them a little bit like I'm in I'm in the Lansing area and I can tell you there's a couple of very large church in Lansing here but there's some satellite churches that are who are struggling and when my wife and I move to the area I can tell you people are like oh you're going to join the big church. It just assuming you're just going to gravitate to the big thing you can kid that's what you want no it's not we put our membership in a church that has an average attendance of about 30 or so and last 2 Sabbaths I was there which is kind of a rare bit that I get to be entered but I taught the kindergarten class because I was the one who was there. And for upcoming G.'s on prophecy meetings reached out to the pastor the large church he was willing to work with me and say look could we even have a few of your members come help us run the children's program so we can even have an evangelist campaign just help us you know that we need to care for own we need to stop looking at the church as a place to feed me but I knew Think how can I be a blessing to someone else where can i be used here in my sin meat any way we need to get back to this but so this church with 135 members had 50 baptisms and well you saw the 1st sample church one this one also I believe is the one that has a church school with it which is fine there's several churches lots of churches in our conference have that same situation situations at $2.00 now look at the sample church to it has a membership of $24.00 that is not just the average attendance that is the on paper a to up membership of the church their average attendance I think is about maybe 510 by the way is fantastic 10 out of 24 if you had 100 out of 224 you'd be Labor Department so it's it's amazing how consistent these trends are across it's just you know rushing doctype a situation it just gets bigger and smaller but it's the same proportion right. But they over the course that look at this over the course of 15 years they baptized 15 people praise the Lord but what happened in the next line they lost 17 and again I give this church great credit because it least they have accurate books at least they were almost about it said look they're missing let's call it was designated as such Let's call it what it is and I hope that those went missing police got it had an opportunity to turn him down when they went to knock on their door cinema letter get a phone call or something or game a loaf of bread or whatever it is you do you know. And I think that we need a process in place for what do you do when people don't show up at church anymore how do you reach out to them or people in gone for 20 years what's the letter you can say and so we put together when the church so I was that we tried to put together a letter that would. Say hey we would I'm the new pastor here I haven't had a chance to meet you I love to here's my phone number my personal email please contact me I'd love to get in this with you but if you've moved yours if you move to another place in your active member of the hurt praise the Lord we would just request you take your membership with you. Or if you don't want to have anything to do with us we're so sorry for that loss but we'd like to know that too just because we want to be accurate and deal with you honestly and sure there's going to be some people offended by that I've seen people very mad at me you're threatening our church membership no I'm not I'm recognizing the reality it's neither punitive or anything else it's just call it what it is. And have you know it had to give you this talk about bar codes apparently not Ok I am a Stalinist our hubris and audacity when it comes to public a batch of them will take people we have never met at all and say good evening welcome to unlock revelation welcome to Jesus and prophecy Here's your barcode every night when you come in we're going to scan you and want to keep track of how often you come which is what we should do why do we do that by the way is because we're just a creepy cultures and no because we care about them being there that's the same reason we sin sin devise if you come to 12 night you're going to get a free Bible and each night we're going have a give away we're going to children because we want them there right we're trying to encourage this good behavior right and plus if they stop coming the night after you preach the Sabbath you're like Aha I see with that you know because we have a vested interest in it and they totally get that they're fine with it I usually like to do in my 1st nights question answer what's the mark of the beast is it barcode it's like no this is not a this is not the mark of the beast we just handed you at the door you know and it kind of lightens the mood but. We have no problem marking in tracking visitors like cattle but as soon as you become a member of the church how dare you try to judge how often I come to church and what things like I'm probably we get kind of a snooty kind of ownership mentality I'd love to see a church have bar codes for their members and every time you come to prayer meeting or status quo a church. Now we laugh about it right it seems literally laughable but that's exactly what we're back to do in just a few months to hundreds if not thousands of people come to unlock or she's in prophecy we think it's totally fine for them but it's lunacy for us what is wrong with us you know. I have this smart watch in a fit tracker and all this kind of stuff I like to know how many steps I like I like information in quantities and stuff and would it be nice to know like friends in the church man you can't designate someone is missing if they've been unless they've been missing for 2 years well how do you know if they've been missing for 2 years. What happens you sit around and I haven't seen this person while this obviously no I think I saw him 6 weeks ago I was home 6 months ago no I haven't seen in 6 years who's right we have no way to know and we don't want to be like I feel you've been gone a long time you know like I've been here every week I'm just quiet. You don't let that so why don't we keep accurate books of her own members. We have focused so much on our rights as members but you know there's another side of the coin to have responsibilities as members that membership comes with responsibility to look at these church just as this and I guarantee if you took this. Little dynamic evaluation tool you would find that your church will match something like this that most churches are not on a death spiral like plummeting a because we don't recognize people who are leaving they might actually but we don't have a numbers for it but most of them are would classify themselves quantitatively and qualitatively as pretty steady but the reality is you think you're doing this but you're actually kind of doing this and what we want to do is get a hold of that reality and do intentional interventions to right the ship gets going in the correct direction do we make sense today are praise Lord we have to close this down so and have a word of closing prayer and then we'll take a break Heavenly Father thank you so much that we can be here this afternoon thank you we can look at the work of the church and not just how we feel about it or how we want it to be or how we idealize it but for what it really is help us to have the spiritual courage to do what's right because it's right teaches us how to operate the church the way you want us to function. And for every church that's represented here Lord I don't want us to see like steady We want to see growth we want to see edition we want to see multiplication by God's grace want to see exponential growth. Or teach us how to do it. So we can be faithful disciples and someday we can hear you say well done. Great in Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leader visit w w w audio verse or.


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