There are two kinds of growth that should be at the forefront of church planning: (1) spiritual growth and (2) numerical growth. The Great Commission (Go and Make Disciples…..) includes both spiritual and numerical growth. These past few years I have focused on the need for spiritual growth for all of us. It is time to bring back the issue of numerical growth.
The reality is that there are many things that a church can do to increase numerical growth; but there is one activity that outweighs all the rest. That activity is to start new bible study classes:
ESPECIALLY START NEW BIBLE STUDY CLASSES FOR ADULTS. [Keep in mind, as a church reaches new adults, these adults will bring their kids along to church with them. Classes for preschool and children will grow automatically as their parents are reached for Christ].
Every church deals with their own circumstances, but, here are some basic things you have to do to start a new adult SS class:
Find some available space (inside the church or somewhere else).
Determine which age group you will reach.
Pray a lot.
Seek a teacher and train that person to do some critical things to help change behavior of his/her students: understand and teach clearly the biblical principles, help students apply the scripture to their lives, and hold people accountable to demonstrating the biblical lessons in their daily lives.
Generate a list of prospects (they are everywhere).
Plan activities that will gather people in a setting where they can develop closer relationships: maybe a summer BBQ in your backyard.
Enlist a team of people to work with the teacher to do ministry, visitation, event planning, etc.
Minister to families to meet current needs.
Teach the Bible with passion and focus on helping people apply the scriptures in their daily lives. [This is so important, I have restated it from #4 above].
When a new family becomes involved in your new group, encourage them to invite their friends and acquaintances.
I will gladly help any church start new bible study classes. The more classes you start, the more people you will reach for the Lord and the faster your church will grow. Summer is a great time to get ready for the fall. Please call if I can be of assistance to you.
Evangelism Training Available
Would you like some ideas on how to better share your faith? Dr. Larry would be happy to come to your church for a one night 1 1/2 hour class on basic evangelism. If you are interested, please contact the GBA office at 254-3953.
Church Planting Update
Here are updates on our current church planting activity. Please pray for each planting team and their efforts to reach new people for the Lord.
Operational Church Plants:
The Bridge, Steven Helfrich, Church Planter: Pray for Steven and his leadership team. The Lord has been very active in bringing people to the new church plant. They are meeting for worship at 504 E 12th Street in Alton. On April 19 they had 142 people in worship attendance, and that was only the 5th worship service that they have had since they have started. None of that level of attendance had been planned. It is happening with the Lord’s intervention in the lives of people. Since Steven has not planned nor anticipated this kind of initial attendance, he and his team are scrambling to do a lot of planning and training that would normally occur over 6-12 months. Keep praying; God is doing something special there.
Light of Christ MBChurch, Barnicio Cureton, Church Planter: God continues to bless the efforts of the Light of Christ, multiplying their attendance four-fold in under 11 months. Currently reaching an average of 80+ each week, The Light of Christ has a busy summer planned, hosting mission teams from all over the United States. Pray for Barnicio as he ministers to those in East St. Louis.
The Pathway Church, Chris Funkhouser, Church Planter: Baptisms and church membership are keeping Pastor Chris and his team busy this spring. With 73 in attendance on Easter Sunday, the Pathway Church is making an impact with the people of their community. Pray for Chris and Don Arndt as they work together to bring the message of the Gospel to the people of Collinsville.
Sojourn Church, Jacob Ketchens, Church Planter: Exciting times for Sojourn Church as they launch public worship this month! Averaging over 50 people in small groups weekly, Sojourn Church is reaching a broad cross-section of people in Belleville. Please pray for Jacob and Nathan Stuller as they team up to bring their small groups together and begin corporate worship.
Prospective Church Plants:
The Calling, John Oswald, Church Planter: John and his team continue to develop small groups in Granite City with the intention of starting a new church. Pray for John and his team, for support for John, and pray that they might make contact with people that will propel the church to great effectiveness. They are using relational discipleship/obedience approach to helping people be fully devoted followers of Jesus.
Hispanic Outreach:, Troy/Collinsville/Edwardsville: Please pray for wisdom as an opportunity to begin a specific Hispanic outreach is explored.
New Activity, Glen Carbon: Pray for Larry Richmond and his team as they evaluate the opportunity to begin new relational small groups in Glen Carbon in advance of a possible new church plant there.
Please pray for wisdom for the Bethel Network leadership team as they continue to evaluate and assess locations and potential church planters to grow God’s Kingdom in the Metro East region.