Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is there a traffic jam in your church?

I came through Davidson yesterday afternoon just as the elementary school was dismissed and the college was changing classes. Traffic was backed up for several blocks as cars were waiting to turn, college kids were crossing the street, and buses left the school.

Congestion stinks. It’s bad enough when you’re trying to get somewhere; it’s even worse when it’s a church. Spiritual movement is stifled. The building of lives is slowed. Congested churches are filled with the same people-people staying the same. Unchanged. Unmoved. According to Scripture a believer’s life is to be transformed more and more. There is to be progression, movement.

Thom Rainer’s book Simple Church describes four concepts that will help churches get “uncongested”. Yesterday we looked at Clarity. Today, we will examine Movement.

Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Assimilation effectiveness is more important than programmatic effectiveness. Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment with ever-increasing levels of commitment..

To implement the movement element, church leaders must take a fresh look at the weekly church calendar and the regularly scheduled programs. All programs must be placed in sequential order along the ministry process.

Here are Rainer’s five prescriptions to help you unclog your process, to remove congestion.

Strategic programming-begin with a clearly designed process; choose only one program for each phase; design each program for a specific aspect of the process, and place the programs in sequential order.

Sequential programming-order the sequence of your programs to reflect your process; designate a clear entry-point to your process; and identify the next level of programming.

Intentional movement-create short-term steps; capitalize on relationships; consider the “Now What?”; and connect people to groups.

Clear next step-new believers need a clear next step in order to nurture them in the movement of the gospel.

New Member’s Class-teach the simple process and ask for commitment to the process.

If this sounds a little too programmatic for you, consider this: Jesus had no Plan B. He simply poured Himself into His disciples. The Gospel of Luke shows three distinct phases of the discipleship process: calling, building, and sending. They are sequential, designed to move the disciples into greater levels of commitment.

Should we do any less?

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