If you are reading this, it means you care about reaching people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. There is no greater privilege, and there is no greater responsibility. Seeing neighbors, friends, family members, classmates and coworkers who were far from God experiencing life in Christ is intoxicating and part of the calling of every Christ follower.
As a result, I want to be relentless when it comes to introducing people to Jesus. I want Freedom Church (the church we started in 2008) to be relentless in introducing people to Jesus. I want your church to be relentless in introducing people to Jesus.
All that sounds great but the truth is that some churches are really seeing gospel-centered results, while others seem to be stuck. The answer to the problem might be closer than you think. If you are a leader, then you have spent a lot of time with Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no vision the people perish.
Vision is vital. With vision, movements can be created. Without vision, movement will stall out. As a result, a ton of great resources have flooded the market regarding this subject. I’ve read and benefitted from a lot of them. I bet you have as well.
Here’s the thing: Culture might be more important.
Culture will eat your vision for lunch every single day (CITE). What do I mean by culture? I’ve heard Dr. Sam Chand say that vision is everything from how you dress, behave, the look of your office, the pictures hanging on the wall, the values, beliefs, assumptions, level of trust, respect and even what get’s celebrated in the context of your church or organization. Culture is the personality of the church or organization. It’s how things get done, how people are received and how people respond to those around them.
For example, Mark 6 mentions that Jesus couldn’t do miracles in His hometown of Capernaum. Jesus didn’t have a vision problem. Capernaum had a problem with culture. Culture can keep vision at bay because it’s what creates the atmosphere for the vision to be carried out.
Vision is imperative but culture is what enables that vision to thrive or keeps it in the starting block.
At Freedom we have seen around 4,000 people put their trust in Jesus during the first eight years. It’s been a great journey but we want to continue to improve and grow in this area. Even though it’s Jesus who changes lives–I believe we have a role to play in equipping people to make the most of every opportunity. That’s the reason we spend so much time working on, evaluating and tweaking culture. We believe that language determines culture. In other words, we can’t just put something on the wall and hope for the best. We want to ingrain who we are into everything we do. Here are a few ideas you can use.
1. Every week we encourage people to #BeABringer.
2. We reward those who bring people with them by giving them a T-shirt that isn’t available anywhere else. What gets rewarded gets repeated and the investment is worth it because it champions our culture and makes it possible for people to be introduced to Jesus.
3. We preach messages–sometimes a series of messages–about the importance of investing in people and inviting them to church.
4. We provide invite cards to put in hands and/or online resources so it’s as easy as possible to invite someone to church.
5. We put out 100 yard signs in our community from 5 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Sunday.
6. We consistently explain the “why” behind the “what.” I want people to know that God can use something as simple as an invitation to forever change the lives of people we love. The reality is that the reason we invite is so that the ones who mean the most to us can meet the One who means the most to us.
People need to know that God can use them to reach their world. A church can’t reach the world until the people are actively reaching their world.
I will pray for you as you work hard to reach people. I ask you to do the same for me. I believe in you and I believe that your greatest ministry days are ahead of you. If these ideas help you, please let me know. If you have ideas you would like to share with me–I’d love to hear them as well.
J.R. Lee is the Lead Pastor at Freedom Church in Acworth, Ga. The church averaged 1,700 in their weekend worship gatherings in 2014 and baptized 376 new believers. In this guest post, he discusses creating an evangelistic culture in your church. You can connect with him on Twitter at @jrlee.
Published May 30, 2018