Summer 2007 Rapport: Hands of Christ
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John Gregg (M.A. 1994) is pastor of
Christian Center in Kalispell, Mont., a
church of 2,300 in a region of 100,000. He is a
member of the AGTS Board of Directors.
In nine years of pastoring larger churches in medium-sized cities, I felt as called to the larger region in which my church resided as I did to the church itself. This influences the way I think, strategize and pray. I constantly seek God in terms of leveraging our kingdom influence throughout our valley until all have heard the gospel.
Let me offer a few practical insights I’ve gleaned from my own experience and from some inspiring mentors.
Impassion and train your church to influence their sphere with the gospel. Leaders must cast vision, arouse passion, lead change and establish core values in their church’s culture. Preach, teach, model and mentor a deep compassion for those far from God and make it a year-round, full-court press in your people’s awareness.
Cultivate a balanced “feel” to your public services and ministries that has broad community appeal. Without apology we are a Spirit- empowered family of believers, but we also nurture a church culture that exudes authenticity, acceptance and practicality. Discern what God is calling you to be and clearly, relentlessly articulate your God-given biblical vision, purpose and values to your church.
Align your evangelistic strategy to your target audience. Does your brand reflect your region? Does it fit? Intentionally position your church for maximum kingdom influence.
Develop a spiritual “nursery” for new converts. Have an infrastructure of assimilation ready and waiting for baby believers.
Build meaningful relationships with influential, secular leadership in your region. Get out
there! Too many pastors isolate themselves in their church building. Earn the right to be heard.
Nurture warm relationship with leaders from other churches, denominations and ministries. Think “kingdom,” not “my church.”
Connect with your region. Educational/civic/economic interests, governmental leadership (state and federal), Rotary, health club, youth sports, radio spots on popular secular stations are some of the potential avenues.
Create at least one annual evangelistic outreach. Make sure it has broad regional appeal, is executed with excellence and is centered on the cross. Our expression of this is a Broadway-style Christmas musical that has a positive presence throughout the region.
Pray that God will help you get your arms around the “soul” of your region. Weep with compassion. Someone said a “prophet” is not so much one who foresees coming events, as it is one who sees meaning in the current event. Oh, God, give us our entire region for the gospel—lest we die!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 4:40 PM