2015 has arrived. It has been nice to have some days at home with family. It has also given me time to read, collect and reflect. My Evernote clipper has been busy and my little green journal has some great things to pray and reflect about in the coming months.
2015 is going to be a great year at First Baptist Church Round Rock (FBCRR). I have been thinking about the future and praying about what God has in store as we work towards the call of a new pastor and continue to work on our mission of reaching our community for Christ.
Let me share a few article links and thoughts with you as we begin 2015. First, here are a couple of links to some article on church trends by Thom Rainer at Lifeway Research.
Number 12 - "There will be an increased emphasis to share the gospel verbally as well as demonstrating a gospel witness through our lifestyle." Note to self: Model this and plan training and aids to help our leader model and teach this.
Number 9 - "Churches with an attendance of 400 to 999 will be collectively stable in attendance." Note to self: Plan for and expect growth. Our community is not stable, but growing rapidly. Work with our leaders to develop plans to grow and not just accept stability as the goal.
Number 3 - "The evidence for the efficacy of small groups in the local church is too overwhelming to be ignored. I see a new movement of “groups” taking place that will be similar in growth as the Sunday school movement was in the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century." Note to self: Plan for, encourage, develop leadership and seek to accelerate the growth of Biblical Community in 2015. Looking forward to our first neighborhood Biblical Community at FBCRR.
I know we could spend a lot of time and get very excited about the dynamic trends we see happening in the United States. Before we get too excited, I want to be honest. A dynamic church with community focused members, dynamic volunteers, great leadership following the call of Christ just does not happen easily. Sure there are forces within and with out that complicate healthy growth.
In 10 Facts About America's Churchless by Barna Research there were two facts that jumped out at me and called for closer examination. First, "The number of unchurched people in America would make the 8th most populous country in the world." Second, "The vast majority of America’s churchless have attended a church." Couple that with the finding that the majority of the churchless in America claim Christianity as their faith. It is obvious that people are willing to identify with the christian faith and are willing to "visit" church, but they are not interested in being active participants in the practice of corporate body of faith .
I wonder if it is something we said or did. My prayerful question is, "How do we earn a second or third chance with the churchless of America?" This is not an impossible task, just a difficult task. I think smiling more often, being gracious and talking honestly about faith is a good place to start. Note to self: Check my bad attitude in the grocery store line. Practice what I teach.
Finally, from Facts and Trends an article entitled 7 Shifts for Bible Study by Philip Nation gives me something to think about. Nation leads with a powerful statement - "The core ministry of a church will determine the trajectory of the whole church." I strongly encourage the reading of this article is you are a leader in Sunday School. Remember, "Healthy groups exist for more than the people currently in attendance."
Many of these thoughts are reflected in our Biblical Community Notebook. As we seek to start new groups many of these shifts need to be reflected in our process of launching new groups. Note to self: Work with Sunday School and Biblical Community Leadership to update the Adult Biblical Community Notebook.
A closing thought. A lot of information. Maybe two much for one post. However, read and reflect with me. Then join me in praying as we seek to be a dynamic faith community in the community where we are planted by God to reflect his glory and share the love of his son.