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This webinar focuses on the process of moving a church toward greater overall health through four key connections: Connect with the Creator through renewal and worship; Connect with the Community through Sunday School/small groups; Connect with the Core through disciple making, mentoring and leadership development; and Connect with the Commission (and Acts 1:8) by reaching out to individuals, the local culture and beyond. Join the LeaderCare & Church Health team and other state missionaries for this great opportunity to be introduced to a biblical process for moving through and beyond the NEW REALITY.

Transcript:

Mike Jackson

Well, again, folks is good to have you online with us. We thank you for your interest in this webinar. It is a collaborative effort by many of our offices here at the State Board Missions and we’re excited about what God’s doing and how God has been at work in us and through us. We’re grateful that you’re here today. Of course, on today, as the first day of fall, I’m welcoming the cooler temperatures. Our colleague, George Yates is up in Kentucky and I’m sure he’s got even cooler temperatures up there in Kentucky, but it was nice to wake up this morning with a low sixties, upper fifties and I know that won’t last for long, but I’m grateful that it is at least so showing a sign of the seasons changing here in Alabama.

I’m Mike Jackson, director of the office of Leader Care and Church Health. We welcome you to this webinar. As it already is said, it’s a collaborative effort of many folks. Let me take an opportunity to introduce the panel to you and then I’m gonna lead us in prayer.

Ken Allen is our church health specialists. He is helping us in that area with church revitalization, church health, working also in conjunction with Biblecasional Ministries. And this whole piece of work is the brainchild of Ken Allen and we’re grateful for his leadership. He’ll be moderating our time together today.

Helping along those lines is George Yates, who is on contract with us here in the office of Leader Care and Church Health. George is a church health specialist and helping with some strategies along those lines and we’re grateful for George’s leadership and you’ll be hearing from him a little bit later in this webinar.

Hand-in-hand with that, we have Daniel Edmonds, from Sunday School Discipleship Office. Daniel gives a leadership there as director of that office and we’re grateful for Daniel’s insights in the areas of small group, Sunday School and discipleship. So Daniel, we appreciate what you’re doing and your investment in this effort.

And then we’ve got Daniel Wilson from our evangelism office, preach your par excellent as well as evangelists at heart and we’re grateful for Daniel and just thank the Lord for his insights and the partnership we have in this collaborative effort to just work together, to try to help our churches focus on the reason we exist, the great commission.

And then we’ve got folks like Keith Hibbs. Keith Hibs is our worship leader director, and he gives a great insights in those areas of church music and worship leadership. And Keith is a veteran among all of us, he’s been here. And that doesn’t mean he’s old, but it does mean he’s been doing it a long time and Keith, we appreciate your faithfulness and just the insights you bring to this group in regards to worship leadership and drawing us nearer to the heart of God.

And then we’ve got a behind the scenes, the guy that we know is Doug Rogers and a so grateful for Doug that he helps us with all of our technology, with all the challenges that we have going on and making sure we’re all on target.

Couple of just housekeeping issues before we pray, again, you can find this webinar online after it’s been recorded, or it is being recorded and then it will be edited and we’ll make it available to you and that’s one of the perks of being on today or having signed up today, is that you get a direct link to that. You can also find it through our housebound pages on our website, but we wanna make sure you have this available to you. If you will take advantage of the chat area, you can also share information back and forth, but if you’ve got questions, use the Q&A area to help us to be able to use those and we will be monitoring the Q&A area so that when we get through with our presentation, we can come to an opportunity, answer your questions, and enter into some dialogue. One of the wonderful things about what we’re doing today, and I’ve said it twice already, but I’ll say it one more time, is that this is a collaborative effort of many offices here, State Board of Missions.

We don’t like the idea of being siloed in a specific area. We like to work together. And these guys that have made up this effort, are part of the holistic approach to church revitalization. And I hope you’ll sense that, and you’ll get a feel for that as we share today. And I’m grateful for each of them, count them as friends, as fellow ministers and colleagues in ministry, and just thankful for them. I wanna lead us in a word of prayer, and then I’m going to turn it over to Ken Allen. And I am praying today, God will be honored and glorify, and he will encourage your heart as we participate in this webinar.

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank you for this day. We thank you for the Lord Jesus, who is the reason for our existence. Without him, we have no purpose or meaning in life. Father we thank you that he came to give us life, life more abundant. Help us to find that abundant life to be real and to be what drives us to continue to be faithful in our service to you. Father we’re mindful of those along the Gulf coast, multiple states, but especially here in Alabama, who have been impacted by storms, by hurricanes, would you just care for them, would you allow us to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we minister in times of need. Even as a cities in Texas and along that coast are having torrential rain, we pray that you would care for them, protect them and Father just provide for their every need. Again, God, bless these men as they share from their heart, be with those that are participating in this webinar. As they listen, may we share something that would encourage them as well and Father to you we give all the honor and glory. Thank you for using us. We pray this in Jesus name, amen.

Well, Ken Allen, thank you again for your heart and passion for all that’s been done in this ministry and this strategy called Connect and I will allow you now to give leadership in this webinar. Thank you friend.

Ken Allen

Thank you, Mike. And again, good morning. When you think through the last several months of church kind of not being in the building and then slowly transitioning back to being in the building and now there’s some that are transitioning into Bible study and we’re kind of all at different levels, at different places, in the process of all this, of course, many of you know, we’ve made multiple calls through the state missionaries to local pastors. And when you’re doing that and you hear from these guys, it creates within you a sense of, you know, what can we do? How can we assist? How can we be more effective for the local church? And so the idea was burst out of that. There’s a tremendous disconnect, both in the local church, as well as sometimes even pastors are disconnected or feeling like they’re alone in there that sometimes who can I turn to, sometimes there’s a disconnect even from the Lord.

So this is kind of birthed out of a need to press to reconnect and to connect again and to understand that we’re in the process now of understanding, are we rebuilding? Are we revitalizing? And so I hope that as you see the overview and hear the overview of connect this morning, that you’ll begin to see the process of connecting again, the process of connecting with other pastors, the process of connecting in your church family, but first and foremost, connecting with the Lord and making sure there’s a strong connection there as well. So this is, next step, this is maybe you’re feeling stuck or maybe you just want to continue all in what you’re doing. And so what you’re gonna hear this morning is an overall, what we believe is a biblical approach to church health, to greater church health. And so hear it with ears this morning of just getting the overall sense of what we’re talking about, and we’ll tell you more at the end about how you can really get connected to the process. So there are main connections that we’re looking at.

And of course, overall, we’re looking at connect pathways that lead to connection. Four connects connect with the creator and that’s through renewal, spiritual renewal, and worship. Connect with the community and that’s Sunday School and small groups. Connect with the core, that’s disciple-making, that’s mentoring/leadership development and serving or serving together. And then there’s connect with the commission. Certainly the great commission really connects all these together, you might say. And so we’ll be looking at gospel conversation there, as well as connecting to the culture around us. So each one of us will take a part in that.

My first part is the connect with the creator, the renewal aspect. And so when you think about renewal within the church and what we need to do, and as a part of a renewal, we can’t help but to think we’ve got to connect with the Lord, we’ve got to connect with God first and foremost. And so if you, if you have, you’re looking through that, part of that process, of course, is a resource that you can have at your disposal. There are certainly some great resources that are out there for it. If you look there, there’s a marker too that kind of helps you to see, hey, this is necessary or you see this marker, that lets you know that you’re beginning to connect in this part of the process. That marker says to experience the undeniable presence and power of God working in and through the church and to reflect a love for God and obedience to his word.

So when you begin to see these things, that’s the goal, that’s the marker out there that lets you know that you’re heading toward the connection in that ares, connecting to the creator through renewal. Again, looking at it as a process, our people, when you think about renewal and spiritual renewal, being aware of where our people are in this whole process and trying to minister to them where they are, there’s a grief process as we talked about before in a webinar, it’s a disorientation, a time of disorientation, and so how can we prayerfully become reorientated together? So that’s part of this part of the renewal process, kind of getting a sense of where people are. And then pursue the Lord with all your heart. By the way, there is a link in the chat for the handout if you haven’t gotten it yet. And then use a renewal tool. The tool that I’m using right now, where I’m interim, is Returned to Me by Claude King. It’s a seven week process. And again too often, we want to check a box, but it’s not about checking a box. It really is about personal renewal. I’ve found Return to Me to be an excellent tool for personal and corporate revival. And then of course, a special prayer emphasis and using the terminology of going along with connect and pathways that lead to connection, there’s guides that’ll help you along the way. We’ve put some book resources in here and just other resources along the way. One of those has Return to Me.

Again, there’s are books for pastors to help them personally renew. We know there’s been a very difficult season for pastors, so there’s a book, Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, by Kent and Barbara Hughes. There’s the Emotional Health Leader and Emotional Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. So look at all of these things and even shows you the implementers that are necessary in this part of the process to get you through, or to help you as a pastor, help you implement this part of it. So maybe someone that will lead, like for instance, Return to Me, or someone that can coordinate a prayer strategy for the church, that gets the church on toward prayer being a constant part of who we are. So that is a brief part sharing about the connecting with the creator. First part of connecting with the creator is renewal. Second part, and I’m gonna turn this over to Keith Hibbs and he’s gonna be looking at the worship aspect of connecting with the creator. Keith.

Keith Hibbs

Thank you Ken so much and for coordinating all of this and given this form to our thoughts through this document that that we’ve put together. I don’t know of any other area of church life that is more important than worship. And I think we’ve been reminded of that during the time of the COVID pandemic. And if I could find something positive out of what happened, what has happened during the COVID pen pandemic, it is the reminder that there is a lot of power, there’s a lot of benefit, there’s a lot of fruit that comes from God’s people getting together in person and worshiping. I mean the online presence of worship has been amazing as well, but there’s just, I think it’s important for us to remember the benefit of getting together in corporate worship and seeing each other and being in God’s presence as his family and as the bride of Christ. And I don’t know of any other time and in my ministry career, that offers a chance to evaluate what we have done in the past in worship and what we’re going to do in the days ahead, as we regather.

I’ve heard time and time again from pastors and from worship leaders, we, and they say this, they say, we are evaluating now in light of what we’ve experienced during the COVID pandemic, we’re re-evaluating what our worship was about. Making an attempt to make it more effective through God’s power and looking at our components of worship. Maybe streamlining a little bit, maybe getting back to the important things in worship, highlighting those things and making those our priorities as we gather for worship. My favorite passage of worship, Jesus did not, we don’t have a lot of recorded words about his worship, not long discourses about worship, but he used used a time and a confrontation with a Samaritan woman in John 4. I say confrontation, it was really just a discussion, but Jesus, I think, spoke his philosophy of worship and his, and in such a short, concise manner, that it’s always been my favorite passage of worship. And when he told, in that encounter with that Samaritan woman, they had a conversation and she was the one that turned the conversation towards worship.

And I just so love what Jesus had to say in response to her questions about worship, in that he said, the Father loves true worship and true work worshipers are those who worship in spirit and truth. And you could, and books have been written and you can write more books on what that means, but the fact that we are to worship in spirit, that our beings are, we’re spirit beings. Our spirit is the same, is created in the likeness of God’s spirit. And that includes our emotions, our will, our heart. And then the worshiping in truth, is dealing with cognitive truth that our worship should be full of truth and the combination and the balance of those two factors, in spirit and truth. And we need to, as we began to regather, we need to evaluate, are we worshiping in spirit and truth both individually and also corporately? How can we follow Jesus’ thoughts about worshiping the Father in spirit and truth as we put our worship services together, as we revitalize our worship in this opportunity that we have.

And also Romans 12 and in James 2, where our worship should not be just the time we gather together in corporate worship, but that we should take worship outside of the church. And I don’t know of any other greater illustration right now, as we’re watching some of the instances of worship that is happening. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with it in some of the areas of the protests throughout our nation. There’s been a movement to go to those locations and have worship there as an illustration of what God can do through this. And I’m reminded of some of the words of some other leaders in our country, that the gospel is the way to unification and the love and to deal with so many of the problems that our society faces, by taking the worship in the community. Those markers that Ken mentioned, authentic worship within the church overflows into the community. Like the instance when Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippa, in the jail there, and their worship affected the community, true worship, the authentic worship that they had, in that jail area, changed the lives of the jailer and his family.

True worship, authentic worship, reaches into the community and knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. Relevancy is as an important word as we begin to regather and revitalize our worship and singing songs and preaching messages that speak truth and encourage missional living. I love the idea that I’ve seen in some of our online worship of using videos during that time, that illustrates how church members minister and reach out beyond the walls of the church. Just, it’s a tremendous testimony that you can identify and highlight church members who do reach out beyond the walls of the church. And this leads to gospel conversations. The people see the change in your life because of your authentic worship and gospel conversations can be spoken. You guys that are pastors know how to preach messages that relate effectively to where individuals are presently.

And I pray for pastors today who are trying to speak words of encouragement, words of guidance during these difficult times. But if you can’t find things to preach about that are relevant today, it just has to happen. People are hungry in our churches and in in our society and in our world for relevant messages and guidance from the gospel, as you preach. Ken has mentioned other resources and one that I have especially enjoyed reading lately, is by Mike Harlan, it’s called Worship Essentials. And I have some extra copies from a conference we had done with Mike, formerly of LifeWay and I’d be glad to send you a copy of that book, Worship Essentials. It’s an excellent book and a great tool to be used during this time of a regathering and a revitalization.

And another, probably the most effective online resource, is a site called resourcingworship.org and I’m sorry, .com, resourcingworship.com. It’s a website that’s been put together by my counterparts throughout the nation, all of our worship leader consultants and strategists. And it’s an unbelievable collection of articles, of guidance, as you worship through the COVID period and following. And I urge you to go there and just visit that site and see all those resources that are available, resourcingworship.com. And if I can be of any help to any of you after this webinar, if you have questions, please let me know. I’d be willing to help. And I have forgotten who is next. Is it George?

Ken ALlen

No, it’s Daniel Edmonds has the next to do and so thank you, Keith. And following connect with the creator through renewal and worship, the next part of the process is connect with the community and connect with the core. Daniel, go ahead, please sir.

Daniel Edmonds

Good morning to all of you. I hope you have, or will print out the document. I don’t really want to read you through all of that. I’ll just make a few comments about moving along this pathways to connect. We’re moving to a phase where we’re talking about connecting to community. And referring back to both what Ken and Keith have said, if there’s a time of a renewal, personal prayer and reconnecting with God by the leadership, then there’ll be an outpouring of the spirit in a time of worship, I think we can see both of those happening and in the book of Acts and in Acts two, Peter then proclaims the gospel of the kingdom and calls for response and of course the response is overwhelming, but then part of that response is also that they began to gather as community and then go into the community. And those are some things that I wanna talk about in this next stay up or next connection as Ken has referred to the pathway that connects to community.

And what I’ve tried to lay out for you there, is that prior to COVID, most of our churches only did Sunday School for example, in a very traditional way. COVID has caused us to rethink and re-look at what we’re doing. And so we looked at the step related to Sunday School and then also to small group and home group. And what I’ve laid out in that, is some questions you need to ask. In fact, as I look back at the document, for example, it says, answer the why question, and it begins with Bible study fellowship. Each one of those bullet points should be a question mark after that, is this the direction you’re going to go, for example, with your Sunday School life group? Is it going to be a Bible study fellowship? Again, most of our Sunday Schools, that’s what they are. People come together, they have a brief time of fellowship and then prayer, and then somebody teaches the word and so as I’ve traveled through our state for years and asked people to describe for me what happens during what they call Sunday School or life group, frankly, most of the groups would be Bible study fellowships would be the defining marks of those groups. So is that really what you’re aiming for?

So as you have a time now to come back together and rethink what you’re doing in that group, is that really what you want, or do you want more of a gospel centered relational missional gathering where people are focused on really living the word out in community. As we looked in Acts chapter two, you saw them devoting themselves to the apostles teaching. So they gathered for that, but immediately they were going in community and they were living out the gospel, sharing with those who had need, going from house to house, breaking bread together, eating and enjoying each other’s fellowship, praising God. And so there was a not only a gathering, but a going and are we really designed today in our Sunday Schools, or do we have the opportunity to redesign as we’re reconnecting to this step in our church? And so there’s some questions there of what are you really trying to accomplish? Are you trying to move people along the disciples path? And this that we’re laying out today, is a pathway as well.

So are you trying to move your people, or simply trying to gather your people. And so those are some things that you want to look at in answering that question. Then you’ll have to answer the curriculum question and then ultimately answer the outcome question. Are you really trying just to get people faithful in their attendance? Is that all you want, or are you trying to move people from the community to the cohort? And I’ll talk about that a little bit more in just a moment, but let me segue to say that if your strategy and now some people are doing some both and I’ve talked to several pastors, they are looking at doing a both and strategy, a group that gathers on campus and now groups that are gathering out in community. So you may wanna answer the questions related to small groups, home groups. And again, you need to say, why are we doing this? And answer that question. Otherwise you may just do duplicate groups and you’re not really accomplishing your goal. So if you’re doing home groups or community groups, does it have a different goal, or are you saying to your people just go to one or the other, or really you need to go to one and start the other, what is it that you’re trying to do? What is the outcome that you’re looking for in starting those small groups, home groups?

And so again, some questions there that you would need to work your way through as you talk about that pathway that connects to community. And then I give you some resources there that you can look at. Some guys that I feel like are experts, including Rick Howerton. I don’t know anybody that’s better at small groups and home groups and some things that you need to think about, not only starting, but stopping along the way. And so you’ll see those in the document, but then I wanna quickly say segue to that third connection point that’s called the pathway that connects to the cohort. And I wanna say this in reflecting back on the pre COVID church, and say to you, I hope that this doesn’t become the post COVID church. Most of our churches are geared toward the connection point number one and connection point number two. If we’re following along a pathway, it seems like if we can get people in worship, get them saved and get them in Sunday School, then we get out the easy chair and we set down and we don’t take another step in the pathway. Now we could say that some of that is the responsibility of the people themselves, but listen, if the pathway is not clear, then they believe that’s all there is to it and they will sit down.

They don’t see the need to go any further. And so you need to develop a clear pathway to connect the people, not only in community, but connect them to the core. More churches that I talked to, talk about, that they lacked for leaders. In fact, several pastors that I’ve talked to during this time say, they’re rather disappointed in their leadership. My question is this, is it possible that we have a lot of leaders that were never discipled, that they believe that step one and two is it and there’s no real need to move further along the path to become a part of the core that goes then as a commission to Christian, living sent wherever they go, living out the gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing the gospel wherever they are with whomever they’re in front of. And so we need to think seriously about what are we doing to move people past the connection point one and two into connection points three and four that’ll be discussed a little bit later. Number four, by George and by Daniel, I believe. And so look carefully at these next two connection points, because we need to develop leaders. I was once asked by my pastor as our Sunday School grew, he said, how did you make all those teachers? And I said to him this, I’m not called, none of us were really called to make teachers. We’re called to make disciples from among whom God calls teachers, deacons, leaders, so forth and so on, all through out the church, that they are created in Christ Jesus onto good work.

So we disciple them so that they discover the work that God wants to do in and through them. And part of that work is not only that they become a disciple, but they make disciples, and that they’re also equipped to mentor and to help others discover their place of service in the kingdom. And so each of those are discussed in this section in terms of first of all, what is the difference between disciple-making and mentoring and serving? Does it all run together? Is it a blur? And so there’s some helps there for you to understand a little bit of what the difference is and then resources that should help you in each phase of that pathway step, that connection point as well, but we’re called, we’re commissioned to be disciples who make disciples. And it’s sad if you run across somebody that’s been in church for years and they don’t know how to share their faith, they don’t know how to engage in gospel conversations. And I may be getting ahead of myself into connection point number four, but you don’t get to number four without being discipled in number three.

And so I think one of the things that COVID has shown a lot of us, is that we have many leaders that have never been thoroughly discipled and they’re floundering if not failing during this time and that we’re looking out across the landscape of our congregation. And some people that we thought in leadership, or in leadership positions are nowhere to be found. And so it can be discouraging and disheartening. Some that are in places of leadership are causing stress and strain among their staff because they have a differing views. And rather than focusing on why are we here in the first place. Why did Jesus leave us here on earth, but to be a disciple, he can make disciples, to share the good news of Jesus Christ, so that all come to repentance in that they go, by growing in him, they go for him into a lost and dying world. So consider heavily what you see in these next two connection points, because I’m concerned that our churches as a whole, have basically inadvertently led our membership to think that once they are attending worship and they’re in a small group or Sunday School class, that that’s really all there is to it, that they can put a check mark down and they’re good to go.

Well, they’re not going, and that’s a problem. And so I’ll wanna use that kind of as our transition point into this next phase that I believe George and Daniel are gonna talk to. Ken can kind of introduce that, but be aware that these are some sticking points for our church is, and we really need to get focused, not only in renewal and strengthening worship, not only in rebuilding our groups, but let’s move beyond. Let’s take these next two steps, connection points in the pathway and really see revitalization take place in our churches. Thank you.

Ken Allen

Thank you Daniel. And again, as we’ve looked at connecting to the creator, take connecting to the community, take the connecting with the community, connecting with the core. Now we’re looking at connecting with the commission. So Daniel and George, all each have they both the individual aspect of this and the more of the community aspect or the cultural aspect of this. So, Daniel, I believe you are first in this. Go right ahead, sir.

Daniel Wilson

Hey, thank you, Ken. And listen, where I wanna come from in this, is, you know, I understand the need for training, more training resources being made available to our church members and congregations and we have that training that we can make available to you. We’ve got at the best news, evangelism training kits, we’ve got three circles that we can make available to you. So if you need training material to walk your people through so they can learn how to share a gospel presentation, we can put those resources in your hands. All you have to do is contact me and we’ll get you whatever you need. But I think even more basic than simply people not being adequately trained, is I’m afraid our people just aren’t properly motivated for evangelism. And it all goes back to where we started from today. Personal spiritual renewal and worship evangelism is the overflow of a lifestyle of worship. And I suddenly a broken record.

I know I’ve said this before, but evangelism runs on the rails of prayer and of relationships and everything about life, ultimately comes back to relationships. Our relationships with other people and our relationship with God. And any evangelism is simply the overflow of your relationship with God spilling out and flowing into other people around you that you have a relationship with. I’ve got, look at this right here. I’ve got, here’s my wife and here are our two boys and I have no problem talking to you all afternoon about their hobbies, their interests, their likes, how much I enjoy them. And so see, I’m properly motivated to talk to people about my family. And I think that’s where we’ve got to get to in our relationship with God, that we are so passionate and in love with him, that it just loses out and spills over in our relationships with other people. And so gospel conversation all goes back to the overflow of your personal devotional walk with the Lord and a lifestyle of worship that you are living out Monday through Saturday. And so all of us know lost people, we’re at the ballpark and we’re at the school, we’re at the grocery store. We all know lost people.

What we have to do is we have to begin to cultivate and nurture those relationships and grow those relationships to where a level of trust is developed and then begin to look for opportunities to sow gospel seeds and to share a gospel witness and leverage those relationships so that we can use those relationships to share in a natural way, the difference that Jesus Christ can make in their life. And by the way, I will say, I know we need training, but everybody who has been saved already has been trained enough, because if you’ve been saved yourself, then you know how to tell somebody else how to be saved as well. And so we’ve got training, we’ve got kits and we’ve got James Merits the best and use evangelism training kits. We’ve got three circles kits. We’ve got all that stuff. We’ll get to teach our people to do what Jesus did in Matthew chapter nine, where it says that Jesus saw the multitudes and he was moved with compassion because he saw them as sheep having no shepherd. And he said, the harvest fields are ready to be ripped, but we don’t have enough workers in the harvest fields. We need to see people in their brokenness, see people in their common humanity, and we need to be moved with compassion over their spiritual lossness and we need to just own up to our responsibility to get into the field of souls and work those fields through building and cultivating relationships and sharing the life-giving, life-changing message of Jesus Christ in those relationships. George, I’m gonna punt on over to you now, let’s look at evangelism from a broader perspective.

George Yates

All right. Thank you, Daniel. Appreciate that, appreciate everyone being on this. I am actually in Alabama. I’m not in my own community. I’m gonna talk to you about your culture and community, but I am in, actually, I wanna thank Eddie Garner and Colbert Lauderdale Association. They’ve given me a room to sit here today, so I don’t have do this from my car and traveling through the state this week doing some work with some of you. I see some of you on here that I was with last night and I’ll be with later today. So thank you for joining us for here. We’re today, you know, Daniel’s so right, both Daniels, Daniel Edmonds and Daniel Wilson, in what they’re talking about and it’s so key as we look at this pathway to connection, it doesn’t have to flow from one, two, three, four. A lot of times, if we would only get our people connected in the culture first, we can get them in discipleship. We can get them to, and that’s one of the things that I say coming out of this COVID, is that we have the opportunity and several opportunities, but we have the opportunity to be able to, I’m going to try to switch screens here just a little bit here on for me on my screen anyway. Let’s see what was coming up, because we have the opportunity to get in the culture in ways that we were not able to six months ago or a year ago. And so what can we do to move that forward, to help our people to, as Daniel said, to motivate our people.

We can do all the training and a lot of times, this is one of the faults of declining churches, is they just think we keep doing training, do more training, more training, we’ve got to give them the passion. We’ve got to help them to build the passion and get them motivated to take what they’ve learned in that training and go out and do something with it. I’ll pull up the screen so I can see here. We have, you know, the scriptures related to this cultural connection, is Acts 1:8, which we’re all familiar with. And we’ve studied that we’ve preached on it, we’ve taught on it, but think of it too, Daniel was talking about relationships, personal relationships, and we think of that, but I want you to, I wanna encourage you to think farther outside the box than you’ve ever thought. You can look at some of my blog posts recently, and I’ll put that address on there so you can go on the chat box when I’m finished speaking here, but Jesus not only built relationships, Jesus wherever he went was his classroom. And so don’t forget the workplace, Matthew 4:21 and 22, him calling four of his disciples, where were they at? John and and his brother and then Simon and Andrew, where were they at? They were at work. They were mending their nets at work. And in Matthew nine, nine through 13, is Jesus, where did he call Matthew from? He was sitting at his booth. And, but where did that end up at that? It didn’t stop there, he met Matthew there said, come follow me. And where did he go? He went to Matthew’s house to talk with Matthew’s friends and to be with them and to be able to share with them. So we never know where we’re going.

I’ve shared, I believe on one of these and one of my blog posts recently, about churches, different churches, one in particular, that was just, they’re with saving a business in their neighborhood, just because they wanted a place to fellowship after having two to three months without being able to fellowship together. And what can we do? Don’t forget the businesses. There’s so much that can be done right now. And I’ve spoke on this before and I’ve shared it in blogs. And so I encourage you to do that on this document that you’ve got, that you pray that you, if you’ve not printed it off now, please print it off there, because it tells you about some what to do. You can just connect with the culture around you and encourage your people to connect with those, connect with local businesses, offer, just offer listening ear, just say, you know, recruit some people in your church, say, would you be willing to go to this business, to this restaurant and just sit down and spend 15 minutes with three of their employees and spend less than an hour, just there listening to them and then offer to pray for them if they will, and then go to the business owners and say, we’ve got some people that would love to come in and talk. We know your people are struggling. Your employees are struggling with all the things that’s going on this year and if they just want someone to talk to, we’re not trained counselors, but we would love to just be a listening ear. There’s so much that we can do that we don’t think of. We might think of, yeah, if we just try to get our people to build relationships or to go to their neighbors and talk to their coworkers, but there’s so much more that COVID is offering us if we will take advantage of it. My blog post today tells of a church that went from 320 to 477 in the last six months. And they didn’t have a pastor at the start of the COVID.

They’d been without a pastor for two years, but they finished a $2.5 million building project. They called this new pastor and they even had a table that they’re not normally used to doing, but they have grown. Their income has doubled, almost doubled weekly and they have grown from 320 to 477 because they decided it was time not to drop these things and not to wait for COVID to be over, but to move forward with the great commission. And my blog post today is titled, “There’s no time out for the great commission.” There’s no great commission timeout. God didn’t say, okay, just take a pause on this until COVID is over. This church has one of the churches that realized that. Did they reach as many kids have as many teams this year? No. Did they have as many people in the stands this year? No, they social distance. Did they have as many people in their one great big celebration at the end of the season? No. They did multiple celebrations with smaller groups and were able to reach more people this year with the gospel of Jesus Christ than they had in previous years. What can you do? You know, other things, why not offer go around to certain businesses in your community and offer to print special promotion flyers, saying, hey, we’re here in your businesses, we’re your local businesses. We have struggled. We appreciate your patronage and we appreciate you coming in now and joining us. And if they want to give a discount, just put a discount on. Make it look like a flyer, like a professional promotional flyer and you can put four or five businesses or 10 businesses on one of those and then distribute distributed to homes. Whether you go door to door or mail it, just offer to do that for them. What you’re doing is showing the community, business community that you care and their employees and the owners as well and managers that you care that you’re not there just, hey, we’re a church and we’re here to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, what you can and can’t do. We’re here to show you the love of God. How can you get into business?

How can you get into to the corporate world as well as residents and get the gospel out there. People will serve out of their passion. Daniel talks about this, Daniel Edmonds talk about this and I talk about it too, is people will serve out of their passion if we just help them to discover what their passion is. And this is one way to do it. If we offer and just put it in the minds of people, Hey there, we need to get out into the community and do things in the community for our businesses and for the residents here. People get out and start doing things and they get encouraged and say, you know, I can do that again. I can do something else. And then they wanna be together and you grow them and you, this is one door to get people into those small groups, into discipleship groups and Bible study groups, is by using service and ministry. People will learn more by serving and they’ll grow more by serving than sitting in the classroom. So we need both. We need to train them up, but some people aren’t coming back to the classrooms yet. So let’s get them involved and engaged in service ministry in the community, doing things that we’ve never thought of doing before. If you need more help call me. I’m glad to sit and just chat with you on the phone and we can brainstorm some ideas of what people are good at in your church and how we can connect that to build those bridges that were not possible before March of 2020.

Live that Acts 1:8 lifestyle. And we’ve given you some guides in here on this document that you have, guides for connecting members to community, is a document, or is an article that’s inside this document. It’s pages 10 through 13 of this document that we’re offering to given to you as pathways to connection. And then look for those people who have an interest in reaching out. People who talk about going to places or doing things or doing something for somebody outside of the church. Those are the people that are your implementers. They’re the ones that can help you get this thing started. It’s not up to you to do it. That’s what we put implementers in each one of these four. Find those in your church and help them to help you to reach the people that are in your community that God has placed you, placed around you and your church so that you can reach more people for Christ. And I’ll stop there for now. Ken I turn it back over here? I’m gonna put the blog post address in the chat box so you can do that and save the chat at the end of the day.

Ken Allen

All right. Thank you, George. And again, thank you all of our guys for working together in this. I wanna say in conclusion to all this and then maybe have a brief time if there’s a question, that we do have embedded links and articles. Some that are internal to us, some that are outside of the facility here, but we just wanted to get the most effective things that we could find out there that would help you in each one of these areas. So certainly you can take advantage of these on your own, but I wanna suggest to you something that will be a tremendous help one I call one of the overarching essentials here, and that is connect huddles and that’s taking two coaches and connecting them with three or four pastors. And so there is a way that you can sign up for this, or if you wanna ask more questions about it to me and to others who are here, you can do that. We want to hear from you, but again, the connect huddle, is to me part of the key of this. As I was director of missions before coming here, one of my goals was to have pastor huddles all over our county. I think it’s just so important.

And I don’t think it’s never been more important than right now in the culture that we’re finding ourselves in today to be able to glean from each other, to support each other, to pray for each other. So again, there’ll be a connect huddles to coaches and then three or four pastors or church leaders kind of thing and they’ll go through eight monthly Zoom meetings. So again, it doesn’t matter where you are around the state, you can connect through zoom. And then again, I mentioned that we wanna hear from you, if you have our need more information to start the connect process. Again, there’s a link to an online response form that’ll fill, and that should be in the chat area. So you can save the chat at the bottom. You can go into that link and begin to fill that out if you wanna be a part of the connect process. And this is only the beginning. We understand there could be more questions that you have, as well. We’re continuing to get together as a mission staff, state mission staff, and we’re working on the first part of the year. I hope you could tell in there, as guys were sharing, how each one of these, like Daniel Wilson said, evangelism, personal evangelism flows out of a heart connected to the Lord. Someone who is worshiping him and it’s an outflow of that.

So we’re seeing how all of us are connected together in our different areas of worship and discipleship and small groups and evangelism, church health, et cetera. So again, we want you to see how each part of the process works together, and we’re taking a holistic approach. We hope that there’ll be some sort of tour at the beginning of the year and that each one of our components as we go out, we’ll show you how they connect to the whole. But again, if you wanna begin the process, fill out that online resource form that’s in the link in the chat area there. And again, I wanna share with you too that alsbam.org/connect is gonna be the portal or place online to go to. It is in process. It is under construction. There are things that will be there quickly. There will be things that will be there in days to come. So continue to work through that, look that, and that’s where you can go to for resources on this. Our webinar is coming up, and we’ll be doing two per month, two in October, two in November, one in December and then on into January. They will flow along with the process. So our next webinar, which is October 13th, we’re gonna have Claude King with us and he’s gonna be sharing from the resource Return to Me. It’s kind of a workbook type format to pray through. And he’ll be here talking about the renewal aspect of this. So we’re gonna be doing all of that through our webinars as well.

So you can connect through our webinars as we go through this process. We hope that prayerfully, that this will be something that again, is effective for you, where you are. It is intended for any size church. It’s intended to be a resource to you that if you wanted to go and just go to one point of this and begin to glean from it, hopefully that you will be able bill to, but I think to get the full effect is to become a part of the connect huddles and be able to bounce off each other and be able to ask questions as you’re going through the process. Again, with two coaches and other pastors in there as well. Again, we want this to be a resource for you. Again, I’m in the local church as an interim pastor and so I am too implementing these things that I’m talking to you about and that we’re talking to you about. So again, any of these guys, if y’all would just kind of come back up on the screen here, if there are any thoughts that you have as we come to a point of conclusion here. I wanna thank you all for your part in the connect process and the documentation of it. And again, as we continue on in this as the document continues to evolve and be strengthened, again, we want you to know that we’re here for you in every way possible. Any questions that you might have, please feel free to let us know. Again, any word from you guys before we go off the scene. At this point, I do not see any questions and I know that there’ve been some over in the chat area that are particular to some of you as you shared that have been answered. Any other word. Mike, has there been anything come up in your mind or heart.

Mike Jackson

No, just thank you guys for an excellent job. I think this is a wonderful resource. It can help us get connected to those very important areas of our lives and of ministry. And I look forward to seeing great things, and I’m really excited about the huddles, the cohorts, the opportunity for coaches and pastors and others to network together. I really look forward to hearing good things from that.

Ken Allen

Amen. Again, thank you for joining us today. I’m glad that we weren’t just talking to each other and this, we know this is new. We will continue to roll this out. We will continue to publicize this as we get out to directors of missions and to pastors as we can and we will certainly invite you to help us in getting the word out as well. They will come a point in the next few to several days that the webinar will be kind of edited and Doug will send out a link. And certainly we would love for you to forward that link to those who are out there. And again, it’s not just for pastors. If there is a way that we can help staff members out there, please let us know about that. In any one of these areas of worship, someone who’s on your team that’s an evangelism, someone who’s on your team that’s in discipleship, Sunday School. Again, it goes on and on. Outreach of any kind. We wanna be here to resource them in the connect process and in what they’re doing in the local church.

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