Last week I posted the first half of the 12 lessons I have learned in the past 12 years as the pastor of Mountain Lake Church. As promised, here is the second half of the post from last weeks blog. 7. Change the way people think about church
In the first year of our church, we made a decision: In everything we do, we're going to seek to change the way people think about church. This is so much bigger than the type of music we do, or our dress, even though they are parts of the equation! It affects everything we do. Examples? Folks don't have to be "Christians" to go on a mission trip. They might become one by going! They don't have to be a "Christian" to volunteer at our church, much less, be a member! Our small groups are always not only open to new people, but are going after people who don't go to church and inviting them to be a part of their group! Every group is responsible to "get off the couch" and serve and care missionally for people groups in our community. Just small simple example of how we're changing the way people think about church both inside and outside our church in our community.
8. Go after unchurched people
We're not worried about swapping sheep or reaching professional Christians. If they want to join our mission to reach the lost, great. If not, great. We are here to help as many people as possible find a relationship with God through Jesus. That's our laser beam focus. Take us or leave us! We're here to reach people who don't like Jesus or Christians.
9. Be careful what you ask for
Did you know unchurched people don't walk in and start tithing? And it probably won't be a three-month process, either; probably more like three years! Unchurched people smoke and curse in the parking lot, and maybe even in the sound booth! All of these things really happen in our church. Being a hospital for sinners is messy!
10. The right team in the right seats makes all the difference
We've always had a great Ministry Team at our church. I am thankful for every one of them, however, the right team members with the right gifts and skills, in the right seats, in the right seasons of the church, allows a church to continue to breath and grow and reach people for Jesus Christ. The wrong team members on the wrong seats for too long will put a lid on the church's effectiveness.
11. I must measure success God's Way
Success is being who God called me to be and being obedient to what God has called me to do. I am so tempted to measure success by this week's attendance. However, I'm never as good as people think I am when we're exploding numerically; and I'm not as bad as I think I am when we're not. My role is to be obedient to the call and stay sane, centered, and happily married in the process. That is success!
12. God is faithful.
God never gives up: on me; or on my ministry! He hasn't given up on you, either! Don't give up on yourself. We only fail when we give up. God never gives up. He is faithful!