Though the world is traversing unknown territory with the coronavirus protocols, we will continue to move forward addressing the eight virtues of rapidly growing churches. I’m praying for you all and our families we serve as we count it all joy on this new adventure with grace and creativity.
Matt Miofsky, founding and lead pastor of The Gathering, a multisite United Methodist congregation in St. Louis, Missouri, together with Jason byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletic and Biblical Interpretation at Vancouver School of Theology, wrote Eight Virtues of Rapidly Growing Churches.
Matt came to North Georgia to lead a day of education and awesome colleagues made sure I got the materials since I was unable to attend. I have discovered in my deep dive into the book and through discussions with other kidmin professionals we are all in a state of living the life of a ‘church planter.’ Knowing where the local church sits in today’s culture, the authors remind us, “We are all church planters now.” There are some commonalities of the culture and vision of today’s successful church planters. What does that look like for those who serve in ministry with children and families especially if we are not part of a new church plant? Find my thoughts about Virtues #1 through #4 here.
Virtue #5 – Rapidly Growing Churches Elevate the Practice of Giving
“People want to give to something that is exciting, making an impact, and visibly connected to changing lives.” (p 55) Don’t we all want to make a difference with our resources? YES! So tell the stories and take the time to celebrate how God is present in our generosity. He gave (John 3:16), so we give. He is a generous giver, so we provide environments and invitational moments for generosity. Giving is an expression of generosity, but not the only one. Little people do not have jobs, but they have much. Just last week our CLUB345 decorated 250 cupcakes to give to a recovery center and ate not nary a one. Generosity is a holy habit and growing churches ‘invite people to participate from the beginning.’ If you start something new, we will begin with a opportunities for acts of generosity, not a regular practice of only receiving ‘free’ or practicing consumerism. We must fight the entitlement culture. Let kids serve. Let kids do for others. Let kids know that to be like Jesus is not to receive as an individual, but live with a heart for others in response to our generous God. ‘God hard-wired us to give, and when we operate in a manner that is consistent with our creation, good things happen in our life. We would never ask someone NOT to do something that we believe makes them happier, healthier, and better able to follow Jesus.’ (p 60-61) Teach at a young age that all we have belongs to the Lord and by returning to Him a percentage, we live a life of trust and obedience. How are you teaching the holy habit of generosity as a thread in all you do?
Virtue #6 – Rapidly Growing Churches Work in Teams
Most of this chapter speaks to the trustworthy ‘number twos’ who come alongside the number-ones. Number twos are those who sit in the second chair of an organization. It may not look like the second chair on the org chart, but it’s the second chair that REALLY makes the church go ’round because of their influence. “Whether you are a youth pastor over thirty kids, a Sunday school teacher with a class of ten, or a pastor of a church of 150-there is power in having a number two.” (p 78) The gifts of a number two include loyalty to God and the organization without being a yes person; loyalty to the congregation’s mission as a noticer with an intuition tuned to individual needs; loyalty to the visionary leadership with ‘nuts-and-bolts know how’ within that body of believers; and is accessible. “Methodism at its best is a tradition that encourages Christians to ‘watch over one another in love.’” (p 76) Who’s your next Timothy or your next Mary in your area of influence? These number twos will not just do the work, but they lead the work, and will take the ministry to the next level with great humility, joy, and love. Jesus never sent out disciples one at a time, but rather two, or three, or 70. My colleague at Asbury UMC in Lafayette, Louisiana coached us to always surround ourselves with people who would die for you and know where all the bodies are buried. You laugh, but you know what she’s talking about. Not just taskmasters, but those who get the big picture and arrive early, stay late, take out the trash because it has to be done. Humility abounds and enjoys the company of other Jesus guys and gals. Is your leadership so trustworthy that number twos can find you, can trust you with confidential info, can grow with you, and you notice each one with great love, compassion, and interest? We are family and we share life, we share laughter, and we share the load. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and we treat one another accordingly. We are better together! Who is on your team?
“Methodists are people of the revival tent and the warm heart that John Wesley spoke of and inspired in others.” 8 Virtues of Rapidly Growing Churches, pg 73