I have a friend who pastors a church that hosts a fish fry about 40 Fridays each year. This has been an ongoing practice since the church was founded nearly 20 years ago. At first, the proceeds from the fish fry were to help sustain the church’s operating budget. Still today the fish fry’s proceeds are used to assist in sustaining the church budget. However, at least 30% of the proceeds now go to mission work and other ministries in the community and beyond. The goal: continue raising the percentage used for missions until 100% is being given away in ministry and missions for God’s purposes and his glory.
Last year, while speaking with this young pastor, he mentioned customer count was down for the year. Therefore, income for the fish fry was down. When I inquired his thoughts on the reason for the decline, he stated one reason was pork chop dinners had become a big fundraiser in the area. We spoke some about it. (I can’t help but coach).
This year as I have spoken with him, the pastor tells me “business is up”. The first few months have been a banner year. When I inquired his thoughts on the reasons, he was very quick and assured of himself. “I have gotten back out into the community. I’ve personally made visits to business and factories. We’ve sent out more publications, promoting it (the fish fry)…”
The pork chop dinner fundraisers are still big, perhaps more than last year. The difference: he and his church have gotten back out into the community promoting and inviting. This is a good business lesson to be adhered to. But more than a business lesson…
There is a pretty obvious lesson to be learned here for all churches. It matters not how many pork chop fundraisers, i.e. other churches in the area, how good or bad the economy is, the change in the neighborhood – all those excuses we give why our church is not growing. We cannot rely on the fliers and promotions of yesteryear. If we expect God to move in our churches, we must do what He has called us to. We must get back out into the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.