Category Archive: church attendees

Praise the Lord for a Breakthrough!

Hey Friends,

If you read this blog very often then it means you are either my mom or you care deeply for the Church of the living God! That means for most of us we care for the Church. We want it to be healthy, grow, and see major life transformation. I truly believe this about you. My question is, “How deeply are we looking into the spiritual side of the Church?”

For several months some people I trust at Faith Promise had told me something was wrong. We  prayed, studied, brought in consultants, and did everything we could to find the problem. We probably spent more time in the natural than the spiritual. In the natural we had plateaued. Our growth was stagnant at best. When the Church is not growing I am not a happy camper. Healthy things grow, especially the Church. We looked at every system and strategy we had. Nothing seemed to help.

Then out of nowhere God broke through! We lurched forward by hundreds and are 25% over the same time last year. What happened? God happened! We had a breakthrough in the heavenlies. Spiritual war is real and hell is out to stop all of our ministries. Hell hates the Church. We must destroy the works of the devil.

What happened? I wish I knew what the Lord did, but I don’t. I’m so excited that He did! The Church is moving forward. People are being saved. There is a new excitement in the air. That cannot be produced by our clever planning or promotion. Only God can create revival, save souls, and heal broken hearts and lives. He is at work and I just want to join Him in His marvelous ministry. He can do more in five minutes in His power than we can do in a lifetime without Him.

Where do you need a breakthrough? Our God can! I pray He moves on your behalf in any area you or your ministry is blocked. It is the devil’s job to dam up our lives and ministries. We have greater power than he does. Let’s ask the Lord to send revival and break the devil’s dam in your life and for the Holy Spirit to flow freely. Praying for your victory in Jesus’ name.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

2012 Some Mountains to Climb at Faith Promise

Hey Friends,

I have asked a lot of hard questions in the last few weeks; please do not misunderstand my questions as depression or discouragement. I have never been more excited about the future of FP than I am right now. We have had almost 18 rocking years as a Church and they will serve as a launching pad for the future. Our best and brightest days are right now and in the future. I am beyond excited and thrilled.

With all that said, we are facing some tall mountains! This year is a year of expanding our largest campus. This is the campus where about 60% of our weekend attendance worships. The expansion has already created some problems, but nothing like it will in the second half of the year. The reason I am so excited is that FP always rises to the challenge or mountain that is in front of us. What a great group of people to lead!

In the fall we will have to add some additional services to handle the crowds on the Pellissippi campus. We will ask many attenders to move to some of our other campuses. I can’t wait to see how the Lord will move and how FP will climb the mountains.

Just in case anyone was wondering, let me share where we are today. Our worship attendance is at an all-time high for the summer and our average attendance for 2012 is well over 2011. Our offerings have never been higher. Money is coming in each week for the pledges on the Miracle Offering and the morale of the staff and leaders is stellar. We are poised and prepared for the challenges that we face.

We are preparing for more seats and even a new leadership development track to be ready for the next wave of revival and new souls God will bring to us. Remember for the last two years the Pellissippi campus has been at capacity and our growth has been in the other campuses.

I know the future of so much is called into question today. The economy, presidential election, and so many other things, but I believe God has placed us right where we are for such a time as this to win the lost and make a difference.

Get ready – the mountains are about to move!

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

The Church is Full of Spiritual Vagabonds

Hey Friends,

If you have read this blog very much then you know I love to read. I am reading a great book called: The Bait of Satan. It was written by John Bevere. The book was written to deal with offenses. This is the bait of the enemy and we have been well warned. Yet we all seem to take the bait from time to time. This blog comes from Chapter 5 and it is a great thought.

Here it goes! After almost 30 years of ministry you cannot imagine how many people I have watched leave the churches where they worshiped. The number one reason people leave is they feel offended. Some, to be sure, have been treated unfairly or unjustly while others were not, but felt they were. Some mistrusted the leadership or took something wrong. Remember, offenses are the bait of Satan.

People leave and on their way out dog, crucify, and hammer the Pastor or the leadership. They stir up all the confusion and mistrust they can because they feel wronged. Even if they were wronged, their response is also wrong. The problem is that we see only ourselves in any situation and never consider how our actions could adversely affect the church. The enemy so enjoys when we are offended because we become so easy to control, deceive, and use for his evil schemes.

If you do leave a church do it by Isaiah 55:12, “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.” But my pastor hurt me. No doubt we pastors are more human than most and can hurt church members. But that does not give you a right to hurt the Body! Don’t be offended! Walk by the Spirit. Notice King David never went after Saul all the time he was trying to kill him. Now that’s an offence.

“We are to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water…” How can you be firmly planted if you leave a church every time your feelings are hurt? If you keep uprooting a plant it will eventually die from shock. Learn to stay and help your spiritual family.

There is a time to leave a church! But, that is God’s call. I don’t think He moves us around like we do. Imagine all the lessons the Lord wanted to teach us at the church we left! Notice you keep finding the same problems where ever you go?

It’s time to plant some deep roots and help build His Church. Repent of being offended and accept responsibility for your actions and attitude. As you bloom your fruit will be much.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

How I Prepare My Heart For Summer

Hey Friends ,

Summer is just around the corner and we all love summer. All of us except pastors! Usually only the pastor wants a full sanctuary, and in the summer full is unusual. We call it the summer slump. The summer now lasts from mid-May until the first of August. During that time almost all the regular attenders miss at least two of the ten weeks. That means between 10-20 % of the church is gone every weekend. Two things normally drop – the attendance and the offering. The worst two months in giving are June and July because many take their tithes to the beach or they spend money getting the kids ready for school.

As a pastor of a large church I pray even harder during the summer. I love the summer personally, but as a pastor I walk into it with great concern. This summer is going to be even more difficult as we are in a major building project on our Pellissippi Campus. So facing all this, how do I get ready for Summer?

  1. I trust God to move in power and build His Church even in the Summer. When the Fall comes the attendance will go through the roof.
  2. I want the families in the church to enjoy a vacation together. To do that they have to miss some weekends.
  3. I believe the core of committed at Faith Promise will rise to the challenge as they have for the last 17 years.
  4. I believe the Lord will draw a few thousand guests to our campuses during the summer and many will be saved.
  5. I believe the Lord has called us to the work of winning the lost and building His Kingdom and He will come through and provide all we need.
  6. We still serve a miracle working God and He will win.

This is how I prepare my heart for the summer. I have to tell you, I make apology to no one that I believe the Lord wants His Church to grow. God has His hand on Faith Promise and the future is going to be amazing. This summer will be no different.

I hope you will be a part of all the Lord is doing.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Questions I Asked the Lord

Hey Friends,

First let me thank you for all the great feedback on Monday’s blog. I was not bummed out, just wondering out loud. In my blogs I try to deal with some things that people think but never say out loud. Thanks for the calls and concern though. I am greatly loved by friends and I really appreciate it. With all that said, let me let you in on my Journal of Thursday morning and some more wondering or questions I asked the Lord:

4/19/2012 “Lord, I need some revelation as to what to do with your Body Faith Promise. 23% of the giving families tithe to you and half of the families do not give at all. 34% of the attenders serve, and 40% of the attenders are in a group for community and spiritual growth. The highest percent is where we staff for… Jesus is our score card, right? It is Your Church. You own it and You are the Lord over it. You matter Most. Holy God of Heaven, I’m asking seeking and knocking at your door. Your Word and will matter more! Jesus, you did not die for a weak apathetic uncommitted church, did You? You said ‘deny self, take up our cross, and follow you.’ We are to live for You and be Your Hands and Feet. The light and salt of the world. Light in darkness. How low is the wattage with a church with such low percentages? We need a Holy Ghost explosion and a revival of love and commitment with the other 70% of attenders. Do they want You? Send the Wind Mighty Lord, Holy God! This weekend I pray for 5,000 in the name of Jesus… You said You would build Your Church and the gates of hell would not prevail over it. You did not set the captives free to be enslaved by the current culture. No, you freed us to love, honor and serve You. Please empower us and bring Holy Ghost conviction. Build an Army of Warriors – sold out radicals. Lord, I’m not giving my life for a country club. It’s not why You died and rose from the grave. Lord, thank you for not giving up on me, please move in on me. I’m not giving up on them…”

His Word to me is to keep on preaching the Word and watch Him work. The battle is the Lord’s and He will win it. I am already a victor and He will move in great power.

Well, you have a window into my heart. My concern for His Church and for the lost. I am committed to seeing transformation and mega-life change. Phil. 1:6 comes to mind. He is not done and we will march on. Not everyone will like it, but we are not called to please people. We are called to honor and please the One who died for us and called us into His Church.

Are you ready? How do you see it? I will not rest until we have a 100% kind of church. Many think mega-churches are watered down and lukewarm. FPC will be a hot bed of commitment and revival.

Just my heart.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Church On UT Campus, WHY?

Hey Friends,

I hope by now you have seen the last blog and viewed the picture of the  “Painted Rock”. I couldn’t be more proud of our UT launch team lead by Josh Whitehead our Executive Pastor.

 But, why put a Church on the campus.

That has never been done at UT and for a few exceptions it has not been done across our great nation! Let me attempt to shed some light on our reasoning.

Jesus left us with a Great Commission and the Great Commandment! He gave us great leeway on how to accomplish His mission on winning the lost and discipling them. It seems to me that we are now reading the Bible backwards. We read the Bible with the prism of our past experience and how we have done Church in the last century. I promise you, if you could get into a time machine and go back to the first century and visit a few of the Churches they would look nothing like what you see today. If you buy into this as a possibility, then you can read the Bible with fresh eyes and new possibilities.

Our Commission is to “Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”

Nowhere do I see commanded a red brick building and a steeple. Not that there is anything wrong with the buildings. The Key is His commission not our Church culture.

The Apostle Paul did different things in different cities in an attempt to win the lost and plant life giving Churches everywhere he went. You find him at the lake, under a tree, in a rented building, in homes, Synagogues, and where ever he could meet.

Now think, UT has 30,000 plus students. That is bigger than most towns and cities around us. Oak Ridge has 27,000 people and multitude of Churches. UT has more people and NO Church. How many students are lost and trapped on the campus every Sunday and without transportation to attend a Church even if they wanted to? Imagine the possibilities of salvations, transformations, missions, and Christs’ Church expanding there where the next evolution of culture is created.

Instead of cursing the darkness, we are called to carry the light to the darkness. Jesus never said build a building and wait for the lost to show up. Building are a necessity but the Gospel comes first.

Pray with me for God to explode in revival on the new UT FP campus. Christians, Churches, and Campus Ministries are here to complete each other not to compete with each other. As Christ followers we are better together!

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. I hope we win at football this weekend over Gorgia, but I pray we win for the Father even more.

 

Where Are You Going?

Hey Friends,

Let me ask you another question, I love asking questions because questions go deeper than statements. Questions make people think! As leaders we need to help people to think. The only difference between leaders and followers is how they think.

So, the question for the day is WHERE ARE YOU GOING? What is your vision? Where do you think the Lord is directing you and your leadership? VISION is a multifaceted concept. Let me deal with a difficult concept. Vision Vandals! They are everywhere. An effective leader knows there is too much at stake to let vandals derail the vision. That means you will have to deal with difficult issues and head on! Souls weigh in the balance.

Think about it, if your not making some people angry your vision is probabaly too small. Avital vision requires change and sacrifice. Two things most people recoil from. So a natural part of leadership is dealing with the detractors. If this makes your stomach hurt and your palms to sweat you have a critical choice to make: will you please people or please the vision Giver? Placating people, especially the vandals will rob the vision and the morale of the rest of the team.

I love what Bil Cornelius Said in his great book, Go Big, “Never allow problems people to cause you to take your eyes off the priorities God has given you.” Vision vandals will become detours, delays and distractions on the drive to His Vision.

I have found that confronting the detractors will stop the problem very quickly. Most bullies do not want to be exposed to the rest of the Church. Will we really allow a few bullies stop us from reaching the lost? It is your job as the leader to confront them in love and yet very firmly. Leave no room for doubt as to where the Lord is taking the Church. They can get on or they can get off.

As Christ followers we are to follow His lead. He had no problem confronting caustic attitudes. We must grow a spiritual spine and lead the Church to accomplish what the Lord has clearly commanded.

Are you ready? It is your job.

Just a thought.

Love you and praying for you.

Pastor Chris.

 

Can a Church Grow All Year?

Hey Friends,

Well, what do you think? Can a church grow all year? Most say no, but I disagree. Many churches grow all year, you just can’t feel it or measure it. There is no reason to get down when the summer attendance numbers tank. Many churches are still growing. Let me explain.

At Faith Promise we are close to 4,500 in attendance. If there are about ten weeks of real summer vacation (that is, the kids are out of school), I estimate between 10% and 20% of our church families are on vacation every week of the summer. Some families take one week and some take two. Most of the time they include the weekend on both sides of their vacation week. That means the average attendance in the summer is 10% – 20% off. That does not mean you’re not growing, it just means you don’t feel it. People are still getting saved and families are still visiting with you. We have more visitors in the summer than any other time.

The great thing is that as you grow through the summer, when school starts that 10% – 20% are all back. Not only are they back, but so are all the new summer people. So we skyrocket in August. It looks like we were dead all summer, but we really were not and neither are you. Don’t sweat the summer. Encourage your families to vacation and have a great time. We ask our families to worship with us online when they are out of town. We also ask them not to take their tithe to the beach!

So, Pastors, don’t get discouraged in the summer. Fall is coming and if you pray and win souls in the summer, fall will be fabulous. Plan for a summer of souls. Throttle back just a little in the summer and let the Lord recharge your batteries and get ready for a huge fall lurch forward. It is impossible to “kick against” the seasons. They just are, and we will not change them. So, let’s be, “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”

Life has seasons and growing a church in not an event, it is a process. Kick it into overdrive and prepare for the long haul.

Just thought this might help.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

An Army vs. An Audience

Hey Friends.

It is Sunday night and I just got home from Discovering Faith Promise Class. It was great. Almost a hundred people showed up to find out about the next step in following Jesus. Too cool!

After a great evening spent with all these people, I have to get the message off my chest. As a senior pastor, the growth of the Church matters to me. I believe it mattered to the Apostles in the first Church. This weekend I had to ask myself, are we building an army or an audience? I have to be honest with you, as we head into each weekend I am always praying for God to move and draw. Probably no one is as concerned as the senior pastor about the growth of the Church. Each weekend I am praying for a great attendance and a major move of God. This weekend was no different.

I was very excited and expected a record attendance. Then when I saw the weather report, my heart sank. Rain all weekend! At that moment I had a battle within myself. Did I have the faith to believe God for a record attendance or would the rain keep the people at home? What would you have thought? That is when the thought of the question hit me: army or audience? An army shows up no matter what. They are totally committed to the cause and will not be stopped. An audience on the other hand, shows up for the experience for themselves – flippant and flighty. They tend to bail at the first sign of trouble or inconvenience.

God has called us to build an army, not an audience. What will the Church do in the face of persecution if rain will stop us from attending? The tally was that we dropped 1,000 in attendance from last weekend. It bothered me most of the day. Then I remembered that about a third of our attendence, as part of our vision, is lost. We can’t expect lost people to be committed. God is building an army and we get to be a part of it. You know, we still had well over 3,000 on a bad weekend.

God is truly building an army and we get to be a part.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

People Will Leave You

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