Friday morning started early with a message from our Keynote Speaker: Jorge Acevedo! He shared his story in ministry and how much he has grown to love the church. He pastors a multi-site and multi-ethnic church in Southwest Florida. His prayer is that God sends him the people that no one else wants…a very honest prayer that he was prepared to receive! He ministers and serves with the least, last, and lost of his community! Everyone can find an excuse to fail, but some people and churches succeed anyway. 15% of our churches have figured out a way to be vital even in a broken system. Rev. Acevedo reminded me to stop making excuses!
5 Congregational Behaviors for Vital Churches
1. Pastors who live in accountable community are successful. This is true for youth workers! We need accountability. If you need help finding an accountability group or want to join us for a youth worker gathering, please contact Leanne!
2. Equip and release laity for kingdom ministry. What’s better that one Jesus walking around? A whole bunch of Jesus’ walking around! We need to make disciples, not converts. Are we asking people in an authentic way if they have a church home? Are we connecting unchurched folks with a church full of hospitality? Does our church have ministries that help people grow in their faith? Are we sending people locally and globally to share the message of Jesus Christ?
3. Worship that is transcendent, excellent, relevant, and contextual. Worship is the work of the people and needs to be holistic. “If you’re going fishing, put on the hook what the fish like.” It’s not about music style or sermon series, but those are factors. It’s about being authentic. Do you have the authority to speak truth into the lives of your congregation and community? If we hold on to traditional music as the only way, it will be to the demise of the church.
4. Small groups that build Christian community. It is important to have groups that build trust and connection. This is an ongoing process as people join the church. Maintaining the status quo will ensure that people walk out the backdoor as quick as they walked in the front.
5. Strategically implement mission and outreach that is both local and global. We are called to be missionaries to the gentiles – the least, last, and lost. Jesus is still telling people to tell people about Jesus. Sometimes we forget what it was like when we became a Christian or before we had Christ in our life. It’s important to remember by asking, “What different has Jesus made in my life today?” Identify who the lepers are in your community and how are you going to reach them? How can your church touch the untouchables?
Following this incredible session we shared again in worship with Adam Hamilton. He ended our time with some information about raising up a new generation of leaders. We are about to enter a clergy shortage in the next 4-8 years. Because of this, it’s our job to raise up future pastors and prepare them for the life God is calling them to. If you are a young person exploring God’s call on your life or you know someone like that, please check out Explore Calling. These resources are excellent for young people trying to figure out what it is God wants for your life.
I know many of you are exploring a call to ministry. I am excited that our conference encourages all forms of ministry and gives young people a place to serve. If you are a young person or know of a young person (or young at heart!) who is exploring a call to ministry (ordained or lay) please contact Leanne anytime!