Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This is a great post from Rick Howerton worthy of discussion in your small group if your church wants to grow in its outward focus.

Evangelism and Mission: Why Your Group Neglects Them

Evangelism and Mission: Why Your Group Neglects Them
Every group should be evangelistically effective at some level.
Not every group is going to experience leading the masses into a relationship with Jesus. Every group should be evangelistically effective at some level though. So, why is it that some groups are ineffective when it comes to being evangelistically missional?
1. The leader isn't praying enough. In Jim Egli and Dwight Marable’s book, Small Groups Big Impact, after interviewing more than 3,000 small group leaders, their research showed that, “Of the leaders with a strong prayer life 83% reported that their group had seen someone come to Christ in the past 9 months, but only 19% of the leaders with a weak prayer life could say the same.”
2. The leader of the group isn’t directing the group to have an outward focus. Again, Small Group Big Impact… “Ninety percent of the groups surveyed with a strong outward focus had seen someone come to Christ in the last six months, but only 11% of the groups with a weak outward focus could say the same.
3. The group leader doesn’t consistently remind the group that they exist to bring others into a relationship with Christ. From Small Group Big Impact… “Group outreach begins with group purpose. If you are launching a group, you should make it clear to those forming the team and those joining that the group exists to experience and extend Jesus’ truth, love, and power. This needs to be repeated over and over again.”
 4. The small group leader isn’t modeling a evangelistically missional lifestyle. Small Groups Big Impact speaks again… “As leaders reach out to their own friends, relatives, and associates – praying for them, loving them, introducing them to their small group members, and bringing them to small group and church events – the small group members capture a vision and imitate their example.”

If This Was Helpful Check Out...
People Into Projects: Let's Use Language That is Actually Missional by Scott Boren
Sympathy for the Devil by Randall Neighbour
The Future of Church/Community, Is Your Church Ready by Kirby Holmes
Rick Howerton Rick has one passion... To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet.” He is presentlythe Global Small Group Environmentalist at NavPress Publishing. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as a collegiate pastor, small group pastor, teaching pastor, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer speaking at or leading training in forty settings annually. More from Rick Howerton or visit Rick at

Monday, August 29, 2011


An outward-focused church is a missional community. The church, as a body, is living on mission with Jesus. But this is far more than a program, it is a lifestyle. And outward-focused churches are shaped by the Spirit to become a missional community made up of individuals living missionally. This video poses some important questions to be asking and reflecting upon as your congregation takes on a missional focus.

Come Explore the More from Jeff D. Johnson on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The Six Vehicles for Church Vision: How Many Are You Using?

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Every pastor wants to get people excited about God’s activity in the world through their local church. But not every pastor understands how to use the multiple vehicles at their disposal. 

The idea of vehicle is easy to understand. If a community is in desperate need of medical supplies, what vehicles are you going to use? A wheelbarrow or a 18-Wheeler or a C-130 cargo aircraft? And if you could, would you want five C-130’s or just one? You get the picture.

Keep in mind that the concepts we are covering are very powerful when implemented. The truth is that pastors have trucks in their fleet that have never seen drive time. The cost is high as the precious cargo of motivational kingdom fuel never dispenses to hearts and minds of their people. But get those rucks rollin and you will see things happen like you’ve never seen before!

This post is the second in a series on “Vehicles for Vision.” The first post dealt with a primary challenge on the subject- the default setting in the pastor’s mind that preaching is the primary vehicle for vision. It is the default mode because it is the easiest. After all, pastors are preparing messages every Sunday already and they don’t have to get other people involved in the delivery process. It’s simple and clean.
In that post we revealed that despite the important role of preaching, the primary vehicle is the church’s connecting environment. So let’s start there and continue our list:

Vehicle #1: The Connecting Environment. This is the primary vehicle because it is the most relationally intensive. Therefore most of the validation, understanding and appreciation takes place here. Don’t complicate this too much. If you have small groups or Sunday school or missional communities, I am suggesting that those leaders or facilitators and the environments that they create are crucial to the delivery of vision.

Vehicle #2: The Leadership Pipeline. If you understand the importance of vehicle one, you might be asking, “How does that actually work?” That’s a great question because it reveals an even more foundational vehicle. In fact, I consider it the prime mover. The leadership pipeline is the vehicle where vision is transferred from leaders to other leaders. It assumes a leadership development culture. It supposes there are time and places where only leaders meet to pray, dream, dialogue and train together. 

Vehicle #3: The Preaching Event. Now we get to everyone’s favorite. And this vehicle is important as it carries a special authority and motivational dynamic with the congregation at large. Preaching connects the vision to the Word of God, to the act of worship, and rallies the entire body of Christ together in a unique way.

Vehicle #4: The Structural Story. This is a meaningful piece that I look forward to unpacking with you. By structural story I mean everything from staff and volunteer position titles, to budget categories, to systems. It’s everything in the background; the supporting processes of the organization. And these  pieces will either make a random, static-like noise or work together to contribute to the story and the vision.

Vehicle #5: The Visual Brand. From screens and worship guides, to curriculum and websites, your church is creating visual palettes from which people are digesting information. It may be a church sign, or a e-mail from the pastor. Everything speaks. As we explore this often overlooked vehicle we will show how you can constantly reflect and reinforce your vision.

Vehicle #6 The Voice of Each One. The icing on the cake is always the word on the street. Vision transfers through people not paper. And the ultimate test is not how well vision was communicated leader to leader, but from a participant to participant. By that I mean, what does Joe attendee say to a co-workers after he’s visited your church for six months? There are important steps that you can take, to help the vision transfer on the front line. Do you know what they are?

As we continue the series we will explore each vehicle further. For now I would encourage you to evaluate your ministry. How many of these vehicles are you currently using?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011