The General Board of Discipleship/Stewardship is offering a series of stewardship webinars available online between May and November 2012
The battle of Gettysburg might have something to teach us when it comes to our participation in the life of the church.
Instead of accepting the reality of current faith practices within congregation life, what if we began to function together as the Body of Christ at a higher level?
My mother had to move over ten times during her first twelve years of marriage. My father worked as a salesman and the companies he worked for were constantly assigning him to new places. We asked my Mom how she had managed to pick up everything and move with a family of five to a new town or city where she didn’t know a soul. “I would find a Methodist Church,” she replied, “because there I knew I could make a friend.”
I thought it interesting how she worded her response. She didn’t look for a “friendly church,” but rather a church where she could make a friend. There is a big difference. The difference was underscored for me recently upon hearing of a colleague who moved to a new town and sought out the closest United Methodist Church.
Last month I had the privilege of listening to a presentation by the Reverend Jim Downing, lead pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Sedalia, Missouri. Jim arrived at this old, downtown church in 1997 when the average worship attendance was 136. Over the course of the next 10 years the church established a second site about ten miles away and has taken in over 250 persons by profession of faith. Today the combined worship attendance of the two campuses is 750.
He shared his story with us and also talked about the seven things people look for in a church. I want to pass along the wisdom through this blog.
Periodically we should take the time to look at all the places where our church comes in contact with the public. The condition of the phyiscal plant, signage, advertising, phone calls, websites, etc. are all public contact points. All of these places where we come into contact with the public send a message about the health, friendliness, openness, and more about our congregation. Public contact points are important places to send a positive message about who we are and what we're about as the church of Jesus Christ
How are some churches creating an atmosphere of generosity? Some are doing that work by preaching, teaching, and modeling generosity as a way of life that truely honors God.
Benefit marketing addresses customer needs rather than the attributes of products or services. Attributes and features are merely characteristics of something.
In 2006 the research company English & Associates interviews 101 pastors across the United Methodist Church who had a history of consistently raising 100 percent of their apportionments. Their research showed that the single most important reason people support apportionments is because they know their gifts are being used to make a difference in the lives of people in their communities and around the world. The people in our congregations want to hear how the United Methodist Church is making a difference in the lives of people locally and around the world. They want to hear how their financial support can make a difference in the number of lives touched by their generosity.
One of the most important steps in starting a new church is gaining clarity around your vision and mission. In the book I wrote, Roadmap to Renewal, I emphasized the importance of two key words when articulating a Mission Statement for the church. The words are “so that.” Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin agree. In their book, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results (Abingdon, 2011), they dedicate an entire chapter to the same two words: so that.