Category Archive: church growth

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

 

A Sense of Urgency

 

Hey Friends,

Let me ask you a question: Has the Church lost its sense of urgency? As I read the New Testament I hear a serious sense of urgency from the Apostles and first century saints. They lived and believed Jesus could come back any day. They also cared deeply for the souls of those in their generation. Are we to live and be the same? I think the answer is a resounding YES! Don’t you?

If we live, witness, and talk to nonbelievers without any urgency why should they have any? The Apostle Paul went door to door with tears. The people God has placed around us, our personal mission field, should know without any doubt we are concerned and we are burdened with their salvation.

I try to live with that sense of mega urgency daily. Here is what I do:

  1. I pray daily for a burden for the lost. I ask the Lord to breathe a burden on my heart, the same that He carried.
  2. I ask for a glimpse of hell. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said if his soldiers could see hell for five seconds they would get on fire for souls. We need to remember hell is real and some of our family and friends are going there.
  3. I now realize I won’t live forever here. When we are young we think we will live forever. Now at 51 and after doing more funerals than I care to count, I realize our days are numbered here. So, I have a greater sense of urgency. “Work while it is day for night comes when no man will work.” ~Jesus
  4. Daily I remember the Bema Seat of Judgment. Christ was clear in His teaching that all of His followers will be judged for what we did for Him and with all that He gave us. This knowledge pushed Paul to do more than the rest of the disciples. It does it for me also. I want to hear, “Well done…” I want rewards in heaven and to rule and reign with Him. This requires I live and serve well. The same is true for you.

So, with all that said, how’s your sense of urgency? Ask the Lord to move on your heart and mind. The Church in America has to wake up before it is too late.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Why Do You Stay?

Hey Friends,

Thanks for the great input to Monday’s question. Today I have another question. If you have been at your Church for 7 years or longer, Why do you stay?  I have come to the conclusion that the average church member stays at a Church for about 6-7 years. This can be a good thing or not so much. This question is for those “Long term” members.

This is a question I have pondered for the last few years. I believe answering this can add great value to Churches adding and keeping key core members that add great value to any ministry.

Maybe 7 is the number of completion? There are many reasons why people leave a Church but only one is the right answer: “God is leading me somewhere else.” There is no doubt He leads us. Strange it is about every 7 years!

As you read this blog, what is your track record at the Church or Churches you have been a part of?

Why have you left?

Or better yet why have you stayed?

Knowing the answer will help me a lot. What do you think?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time to leave a local Church. I think some that leave are not being led by the Lord, but there are other reasons. What do you think they are? For a Church to remain strong and vibrant it must be able to keep Core members. They know the vision and the DNA of the Church.

Love so feedback on this issue. I think  this is more important than most people realize.

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

 

Are You The Right Person To Ask?

 

Hey Friends,

Hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday. My family and I had a great day and some fun in the sun.

Something I have learned over 30 years of ministry is, ask the right people the right questions and you get the right answers. Some of that can be hard; I know it is for me.

Something I just realized is that I seem to ask the right questions at the wrong time. I have lived with an assumption and I’m not sure it is right. If the numbers are going up and to the right and we are baptizing people, I think all is well at the Church.  I love riding the wave that God creates. I love when the Church is growing and people are being saved. So, I rarely ask questions like: are we healthy, is everything OK, are we doing the right things in the ministry…?

When all is well (Church attendance increasing) I live at 5,000 ft., pray,  preach and cast vision. When the wave crests and we slow in our growth I get out of the plane and start kicking the tires and asking questions. Somehow I think the questions need to be asked sooner! What do you think?

Can the Church be healthy and not grow? Can the Church be growing and not be healthy? Before you say, “numbers don’t matter,” read the book of Numbers and the book of Acts. Numbers matter! As a matter of fact, everyone counts and should be counted. That is how I read the Word.

With that said, numbers are not the only thing that matter! What do you think are the marks of a healthy Church? I would love some input. I guess you can tell I’ve gotten out of the plane and I’m asking questions.

At Faith Promise we have had some serious space limitations for the last few years. We are now doing 13 services in 5 locations. We now are expanding our Pellissippi Campus and in January we will have more seats.  In preparation I am asking questions about health so we can be ready for the next wave that Jesus generates for His Church.

I love Church growth. I love to win souls. I love life transformation and restoration. Is that not the reason Jesus came? How do you see it?

I think I’m asking the right questions. Are you the right person to ask?

Just a thought…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Raising Up Next Generation Leaders

Hey Friends,

Hey leaders, if you’re over 45 years old it is your job to raise up younger leaders for the Kingdom! If you read the ministry of the Apostle Paul you will see him pouring into many younger leaders. If we do not do it, the Church will be in serious trouble. Many denominations and churches have failed at this point and realized it only after it was too late. If we do not make room for them they will find another place to serve the Lord! More churches than we can count have made this fatal mistake.

Both the aging and the younger leaders come at this with a bias. Older leaders look down on the younger and the younger do not respect the experience and wisdom of older leaders. Younger leaders feel left out and disrespected and older leaders feel they have to hold all the keys. Both are wrong.

I was reading the story of Solomon’s death and the rise of his son, Rehoboam, to the throne of Israel. You know the story and it is very revealing in this situation. As Rehoboam was crowned King, the people asked for mercy from him. He asked the older counselors for their advice and they told him to show kindness. He asked the younger men what they thought he should do. They told him to be harsh! He chose the advice of the younger men. As a result, 10 of the 12 tribes revolted and divided the Kingdom.

He was the rightful King and yet his inexperience and lack of wisdom divided Israel. This is a great illustration of how both generations are required if we are to move into the future with great leadership.

So, older leaders must make room for the younger and the younger must listen. The older leaders need to listen to the ideas of the younger. The younger leaders are usually more in tune with the culture. If we are to remain relevant we must listen. That does not mean we do everything they want. If they know they are loved and respected they will respond with the same love and respect.

Paul told his young protégé not to let people look down on his youth. The Church should reflect multigenerational leadership and membership if it is to be strong and viable for the future.

Just a word from the Word.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. At Faith Promise we are strategically making room for the next generation at every level and in every ministry.

 

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

 

The Weekend AFTER Easter!

 

Hey Friends,

I love Easter! I love everything about it and this Easter was no exception. It was awesome! We had our second highest attendance ever. Yet, there is always a next weekend. It is usually a letdown. My question for anyone who would like to take a crack at answering is:  Can the attendance not stay up after Easter? Can we not get a boost from a great weekend and a record attendance?

Every year we fast and pray about Easter. We look for record crowds and we expect many to be saved. That is exactly what we get. You might think that the next week the numbers would drop, but not back to pre-Easter attendance. With 7,700 for Easter I was praying for 5,000 the next weekend. We had 4,200. Now, praise the Lord for 4,200 worshipers, but where are the 3,500 others?

This pattern plays out in most churches. We have everyone here for Easter and then some – hundreds of guests and then everyone who calls Faith Promise their home church. Not only is the core there, but everyone else is also. That means the every-other-week people, the every-third-week people, and the casual-drop-by people. The next weekend the only people who come are the core. Praise the Lord for the core! They keep the body alive and moving. Are you a part of the core?

I wonder if this is just a fact of life and I need to quit kicking against the rocks? Some things you can’t change! This is a true statement, but I do not have to like it. So what do you think? How do we get more people to come back the week after Easter?

On Easter weekend almost every tweet from pastors was about attendance and salvation numbers, but the next weekend the tweets went to a deafening silence. What do you think and how do you see it? If we are going to make it hard to go to hell from East Tennessee then we need to find out how to get faithfulness as a priority.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris