The Church’s Grace Blog page can show why some churches last 164 years like Grace has and some others may not. Will your church only have a 25 year window? How can a small church grow and be all it is meant to be while Spreading the Gospel to as many people as possible. How successful will a Church Ministry be if it is not on the right path from the beginning?
What is Amazing about Grace?
There is truth here that Grace United Methodist Church had a fine name. It is a fact that even the great hymn, “Amazing Grace” has been a long time favorite of so many of us. The Meaning of Grace is also very unique in that it was given to us by God though we all fall short of the Glory of God.
Grace is a Gift that is Received by Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), totally undeserved by you. It is by Grace through Faith that God’s life, power, and righteousness are acknowledged. However, that Grace must be Received (John 1:12). Your faith is born and established in this loving relationship. Grace is about Relationships (Revelation 3:20). Grace Enlightens my communion with God, with others, and with myself.
As the undeserved, unearned favor of God, grace can never be earned by your good deeds or received as a result of religious performance. Grace means God freely and openly receives sinners—even you with all your flaws and hang-ups. Grace is manifested in human failure, sin, weakness, loss, and heartbreak.
The Wonder of God’s Grace is that it does not give up. It takes you right where you are and transforms you into who you were meant to become when you were created. God’s Grace Transforms an ugly, awkward, incomplete caterpillar into a graceful butterfly that can soar into life abundant. That’s what God’s desire is for you, life to the fullest.
See if you can identify the picture below?
Above is a photo of something not many get to see. Some may find it hard to believe. I did not know the Kurdish people knew about its existence. I took the photo in 2007. It is at the top of Iraq near the Turkey border. It is also near a place called the Lost Village. I should let you try to guess before I tell you what it is. Hint: His boat landed on an Ararat Mountain top in what is now Turkey but once part of Armenia. That mountain range is at least 200 miles long but it does have a peak by that same name.
This is one of my all time favorite Psalms below.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Local Church can be in Growth Mode if it has a Well Defined Mission
Did you ever wonder why your favorite little church is not growing anymore? If it is not growing, it is slowly in decline. Do not put all the responsibility into the hands of the pastor. They are already busy and many are part time these days. The parishioners need to help out if you do not want the little church to close down. Certainly it generally meets the needs of its membership in its current style but needs to be doing more outreach or it is not doing what it was intended to be doing.
Feeding the Homeless is an important ministry but if the people you care about, do not appreciate it or support your little church in any way, you might want to rethink how you expend your energy. You cannot require them to help but they should still appreciate what you do for them and understand that you are not just another free government hand out program. You care about them but they do not care about your church if they do not return the favor in any shape or manner. How can your church reach out to people that mutually care about your church and appreciate what you do for them? It should never be a one way street. If you can Spread the Gospel to those who seek the Love of God, then it is clearly worth your efforts. Is it too much to ask for them to come to church on one day a week?
But if you want your church to still be around 20 years or more from now, it will need new energy and a better focus from now on. The successful church already has a mission but it needs more energy. You cannot expect aging members to take on more responsibilities. You need the young to continue in mission. The same people need to feel comfortable and valuable in their role as part of a team. There are thousands of mainline churches that have the same problem today. Too few people are doing too much for unappreciative people in my opinion.
The message has not adjusted but the lifestyles of potential joiners has changed dramatically. The focus is stuck in the past and the future is bearing down. Get busy and change the approach used to include the un-churched in your neighborhood. Older members tend to forget they were once younger themselves and had different needs and interests at earlier times in their lives. To get younger people interested in joining the church will require a different mindset.
If a church wants to grow, its members will have to be More Welcoming and Play by Different Rules. If you want to attract young people, a church needs to provide activities and services that interest them. A church can not think every potential joiner is going to just Walk up the Steps and go into a Strange Church without a Personal Invite. It does not just happen. Prayer is very important but it takes more changes to grow a church. Even if you did increase your membership, there would be a larger staff to help possibly. Now, you are in need of immediate growth and your energy is fleeting. When you are few, you need to focus your energy. Everyone needs to understand that there is a specific plan in place. It is time to make adjustments. It might seem like a big task. It is. Yet it can be accomplished by a small group with the right focus. Yes, Think Big but Keep it Simple.
Do we expect that God is just going to send someone because you prayed for him to provide them? Your church is one among many so you need to do something to set your church apart from the rest. Every church or business needs a calling card. What sets you apart from your competitors? Why would a person who is seeking a closer walk spiritually, chose your church over another? Convenience is not enough since most people are mobile and can travel easily.
Concentrate on the young though you may be older and feel out of touch with the modern set. I believe that Children should be the main focus. Take care of the children and young families will follow. Many children today go to school with Not enough food to Eat. Can the church concentrate on this age group. Can your church offer a breakfast for some of these little ones during the school week? You are feeding adults but what about the children? They are innocent and they are your church’s future if you accommodate them. First and foremost, make sure your church has child care on Sunday morning during the service. This would allow their young parents to attend church and the children would be accommodated as well. Someone could read bible stories to the younger children and show biblical themed movies on screen to the older ones. I remember a minister that wanted little children to sit through the sermon time. I felt sorry for those poor children and the bad experience they were receiving when they could have had a happy memory of being in a church. If you cannot find any volunteers, pay for someone young looking to help you for two or three hours a week.
Your church might already pay for an organist or a soloist but instead you could put in a nice sound system for a lot less money. Start Thinking Outside the Box. It is a New World Order but still not so different than when you were young. What may have worked then, is now different and Children are the Future as they always were.
Please do not forget to service the guest book. It has long been overlooked. It should be one of your church’s best assets. Read the blog below that talks about CHURCH GUESTBOOKS! Yes they really are a miss used asset!
Time to get on the FAST TRACK TO GROWTH without the big expenditures that you cannot afford. You can always look for volunteer musicians. A guitar and some voices can enhance any service. You do not need a choir or a bell orchestra. Keep it simple and inexpensive and everybody will be happy. Imagine less expense and yet more fun. The welcoming message should involve as many members as possible. SHORTER SERMONS, more EASY to SING SONGS and more PRAYER and PRAISE and you become a Modern Growing Church.
If you want high school age or older children as well as college students to attend your services, Be sure to have WIFI AVAILABLE on Saturday and Sunday. You may have to get someone who can harness the new technologies that you need to bring your church into the 21st Century. Use better 2020 Eyesight now as we embrace the Year 2020. A high school or college age student might be happy to volunteer with this task. If you already have computer service in your church, just add a router and keep a separate channel for the WIFI. Modern Churches have this set up and offer it to attract the youth. You can too. Now the church is attractive to all age groups. The days of old ways and stagnant growth are over!
Make the changes today if you want to be a successful entity. That new direction will satisfy the adults, relieve the older members from the physical work and then allow them to take a more supervisory role.
This way, “His” Work Gets Done and everyone involved has a real part in it. They will feel good about their involvement and will most likely want to continue assisting the church. It is Win Win Result for Everyone. That is how you can easily build up your ministry and the church in the process. It All Starts with the Children. Ask the right people to help and you can accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible. Just do not waste time. Start right away after the church leadership understands what needs to be done. Set goals and ask for volunteers. You are on your way to do God’s work and have a lot less burden. Best of luck and prayers for success
Keep it Simple and Reach any Goal
Most everyone at some time in their life has a great ambition to accomplish something. Remember that slogan “Keep it Simple, Stupid”. The most huge of projects can be broken down in its simplest form. Anything is possible so don’t let the size of the project discourage you. The work and planning to reach a goal is at many different levels. If you have enough drive and strength to reach the end product and never give up, you can do it. A college education is not always required so do not be discouraged before you get started if the project is really big. Hey, you might not even be out of high school but you may be able to reach a really big goal if you are determined. At least you can get started now if you desire to do it.
Though I have done a lot of things and received an education, I know I could have accomplished some big projects with using common sense and setting goals. One thing is for sure, simplicity is the basis for getting started to accomplish anything. Do not ever think you cannot accomplish something. Human Beings all have a giant brain at the top of their head. Most people never fully utilize it. That would be nearly impossible. You can read every book, gather immense knowledge, and never fill up the memory banks. Some people may appear smarter than you are but you can still accomplish many of the same things. You could very easily obtain the same end result at a slower pace or even faster depending on your strategic planning and determination to reach your goal.
So the first thing you do after you set your goal of what you want to accomplish, you need to think about it in the simplest terms. Everything starts with a solid foundation. If building anything, it is done in steps and planned out. If you think in too technical terms, you could be overwhelmed. You might be discouraged before you got started. Here are a few possibilities of goals and the simple approach to start in reaching them.
Many people might want to start a restaurant or a bar. It takes a lot of thought and planning as well as money to get started. I could write many pages about each operation as I have knowledge and experience. In simplest terms, it is cost, location, products, employees and profit. No profit is not an option. It is cost, location and products. Can you afford to do it? Do you know where you would locate it and what products do you plan to sell? You need to do lots of research before you invest. You do not experiment. You make a plan beforehand. List your expenses and what you need in order to operate in the black. There is no room for error when setting up an enterprise. Balance the books from day one.
Some people want to start a church or maintain a current church operation. In simplest terms, if a church is not growing, it is dying. That is pretty simple. A church needs leadership, program, music, greeting and be financially responsible. It needs to be bible based, have a mission statement, be friendly and welcoming to be successful. As a former lay leader, I see how basic a church needs to be. It is most successful when the program is kept in simplest terms like anything else.
You may be interested in electronics, computers, building a website or something technological. You read the instruction first and fine tune and tweak after. With a website, you need to determine what you want to accomplish with your website. You should not build it just for the sake of accomplishing it. Set a goal for its use, They cost money and need to do something productive.
If you want to build a family tree or become a genealogist, it takes research and foot work and building a data base. You do not need to spend your hard earned money. There are many free sources of information online and at the library. You might even need to visit a cemetery. Usually you can get started by talking to your parents and grand parents or any other family members that may have already gathered some data. I am a long time genealogist and know what is involved but you do not need to become a member of any organization if you do not want to. The information is already available and you just need to know where to look. Once again, keep it simple as complex as it may turn out to be.
Aside from that brain that we all have, some of us also have God given talents. You may be one of the lucky ones. Some people can write, draw, sing and have musical talent. Others have been known to go through life never realizing they had any special gifts. Grandma Moses began painting in her elder years as it had been newly discovered that she had that gift. Think about your own talents that are in you and you did not need to be educated by someone else in this regard. You might be a teenager and have some talent like that. You might be able to take things apart and analyze how they perform. You might be good at automotive repair and design or just good at working with your hands. Some people can create things from wood and other materials.
You may be the kind of person who can look over another person’s product, improve and alter it to a better design. We do not always need to re-invent the wheel or create from scratch. Sometimes the best innovation comes from improved products that have been around for a while. Also, a brand new creation that you thought about, may already have a copyright on file. It may not be exact but still could land you in a legal battle so be careful.
Remember that even if you do not have special talents or extensive education, you are still unique. You are one of a kind and if you want to, you can accomplish anything you desire to do if you are determined to reach your goal and you never give up.
A Grateful Attitude is a Key to your Success
Always maintain a Positive Attitude and Be Uplifting to those around you. It does not matter if it in church, at your business or worksite, Treat others like you would like to be treated. Show Your Gratitude as often as is possible during your workday and after you leave the office. People Want to be Appreciated and will think better of you if you improve their life by just being a thoughtful and kind caring person. This type of Attitude is Infectious so you too will benefit in the long run. The other person on the receiving end will usually Pay It Forward. Attitude is Everything.
Maybe your own life circumstances have got you down. Consider any challenge you may have as an Opportunity. Somewhere, there is a solution. You may need to spend some extra time thinking about how you can Turn your Problem into a Positive Outcome. You might want to consult with friends, family and others to resolve the problem if you are not able to find an answer on your own. People are usually always willing to help. Take advantage of this resource and get the answer to your problem much faster. Less stress will help to get your smile back.
Think about appreciating everything you do have. The negative occurrences that you have in your life usually won’t outweigh the good portion. You may have to make a list of everything you are blessed with. The positive should far outrank the bad things in your list. Good friends and family are hard to replace. Have you forgotten to thank someone for all their kindness and support? When you make a list, it helps to remind us of what others do for us and sometimes teaches us that we need to do more as well. Most of us can improve our skills in this arena.
When you go on a job interview, you need to be Upbeat and Appreciative. Smile and show your positive attitude if you hope to land that new job. Any negative comments about any past jobs or employers will automatically eliminate you. If you have a great attitude, you can have that job even if you may not be the most qualified. Yes, know the job, be honest about your qualifications but your attitude and interest are most important. As a previous owner and manager, this is what I looked for. Cleanliness and a good attitude with knowledge about the job as well as the employer’s business are the big points in my estimation. If you’ve had an unsuccessful interview recently, you might want to analyze how you presented yourself. In that instance, You were the Product and also the Salesman.
Everyday, we find ourselves in situations where there is a need to put our Best Foot Forward. When you first meet a new person or in the case of those interviews, it is the First Impressions that determine how someone evaluates you and your attitude. Will they like you or have doubts? Always present your best self and you will be satisfied with the result.
Your good attitude will make you feel better about yourself too. People will think highly of you, your opinion and your business will thrive, if you use these principles of gratitude and appreciation.
What are you doing with the Church Guestbook?
The Church Guestbook is one of the most overlooked free resources in any church. This may just be my personal opinion but it definitely is a good idea that is not fully utilized. For instance ,You may have done the same as I by Signing a Guest Book and then you never heard from anyone at the church in question. Did they not like me? Did they think I was not important and then believed that it was okay to ignore me. I have signed many guestbooks over the years. Rarely am I ever contacted by anyone from the church. It is a grossly neglected church resource. I’ve even pointed this out to pastors, church administrators and other local church members. They do nothing. They do not seem to share my concern. They are being rude to a possible new member and do not even know it.
The idea of first using a guestbook, was to reach out to more potential members. Those churches were growing. It is not a casually unimportant resource. In fact some of those who sign the guestbook fully expect to be contacted. Some may even decide to never return because of that non caring response that never came. With this in mind, a guestbook that is not utilized as intended, may actually chase some people away.
If your church is not growing, time to utilize every resource available and that included the lowly guestbook. So it is most likely that not using it, does not help a church. Don’t use it as a resource if you do not respect its purpose. If your church wants to grow which is what the church was built to do, someone needs to follow up with people who sign it. Someone in the church congregation needs to take up the task if the pastor does not care about it. An effective growing church should get back to those who signed it within 48 hours. They are expecting you to call them. I would even follow up with them later as well as putting them on your church newsletter, email or mailing list. If they do not want to be on your list they will tell you. A church that steps out of their comfort zone, is doing what is expected of them and will start to grow again.