Church is not “Cheers”

Alan RudnickThe following blog post comes to us from Alan Rudnick for Alan is an executive minister at DeWitt Community Church and author of “The Work of the Associate Pastor”. He also serves on the Mission Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

“Is that we are called to do? Create a place where everyone knows your name? Did Jesus call us to build a Christian version of Cheers?”

Those are the words of Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, the largest United Methodist Church in America. Hamilton, speaking to the 2015 Leadership Institute, recalled the decision to add a second worship service over 20 years ago. His leaders pushed back: “Then we will not know everyone. We love this sized church. We know everyone.”

When churches are faced with a change or a decision that will impact the comfort zone of individuals there will always be a push back. There is security in keeping things stable. There is comfort in knowing everyone. There is confidence in leadership knowing that they only have to work with 100 people instead of 200 people.

When I led a vision process in a former church there was push back:
“What if we grow?”
“What if there are too many new people?”
“What about the older members?”
“We will lose them.”
“I don’t want to be in a church with so many new people.”
“I like things the way they are.”

Last time I checked the New Testament, knowing everyone’s name and keeping things the same was not a hallmark of the ministry of Jesus.

Next time you make a change in your church and someone says, “I like a place where I know everyone,” ask them, “Do you want this to be a Christian version of Cheers or a place where we welcome people, even if we don’t know their name?”

To read the entire post, click here.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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