We’ve all seen those late-night television commercials that promise you can lose weight, change your financial future or make a bass boat out of duct tape.
Of course, the problem is, they’re almost never true.
Too many times we pastors look for some secret sauce that will magically produce a healthy church.
There’s no such secret sauce. But a healthy church can be produced by engaging a holy trifecta: Bible preaching, relationships and vision.
We discovered this principle by looking in our rearview mirror. Our little band of approximately 100 people – in a declining, indebted, rural congregation – saw tremendous growth that led to nearly 500 in worship within the first couple years of our transition.
We experienced this amazing turnaround by simply doing what you would expect any good church to do – and God blessed it!
Visitors turned into regulars, regulars turned into members and when they were asked why they chose to be a part of CrossPoint, one of the main responses was, “You preach the Bible here.”
Personally, I internally questioned what in the world other churches were talking about for half an hour every Sunday morning!
What we’ve discovered is people just appreciate solid biblical teaching that’s more clear than clever. They aren’t looking for five easy steps to whatever or a self-help series on how to be You 2.0.
Walking through books of the Bible, saying the hard things and leading with love seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.
In addition to solid biblical teaching, relationships can’t be skipped if you’re going to pastor a church. This meant lots of high school volleyball games, fried chicken dinners in people’s homes and late night hang-out time in the church parking lot, talking about everything from the NFL to the NRA to the SBC.
The final piece of this holy trifecta of biblical preaching and relationships was vision. Not just any vision, but a wild, join-us-on-an-impossible- mission-and-let’s-see-if-God-shows-up kind of vision.
We decided the vision for our church was already cast in the Great Commission but if we quantified it, we could give ourselves a target to shoot at.
So, with no voice from heaven, but understanding that the tithe was 10%, we decided we would give the Lord 10% of our city’s 40,000 residents. Yep, 10% of 40,000 people meant we were going to be a church of 4,000 people.
It was such a preposterous proposition that we found a number of people who wanted to be part of it – just in case it actually happened!
Some of you may object to setting a goal like that, with seemingly impossible standards. But I ask you: What happens if we only make it halfway? What a failure, right? A little neighborhood church only running 2,000 people?
I think you understand what I’m saying.
The huge vision compelled people to be a part of something bigger than they were. The goal was not to keep the lights on, or run a program one more year or fill all the vacancies of the people who quit doing the roles from the previous year. It was to shake the town upside down and spread the gospel everywhere, handing back to God 10% of the city redeemed by the blood of Jesus!
That was the vision. And let me tell you an encouraging story.
The church’s first campus is located in Hutchinson, Kansas, and we became known for having some pretty exciting Christmas Eve services. As we grew, the number of services had to be multiplied each year and even extended to the day before Christmas Eve (affectionately called Christmas Adam services).
In 2019, with seven services over two days, we saw 4,046 people attend our holiday celebration. We know Christmas and Easter are high points, but we saw what it could look like when we finally reach that vision and goal!
Now, some of our smaller locations have actually touched those numbers in attendance. Let me explain what that means.
When a church reaches 10% of their city, it’s no longer a church in that city, it’s that city’s church. When 1 out of every 10 people at the grocery store, of every 10 kids in school, of every 10 nurses at the clinic goes to CrossPoint, it’s a tipping point that changes the community – and it is fantastic!
Big vision doesn’t scare people away; it draws them close. When you spend time cultivating relationships built on solid biblical preaching, you lay the groundwork for some great growth and ministry.
The material in this post is adapted from Andy’s book, “Doing More Together.” To see his other principles and get your free copy of the book, click here.
This post originally appeared at The Rural Pastor.
Published February 23, 2023