Building a Strategy for Church Re-Opening

I am hopeful (and cautiously optimistic) that we are on the other side of the pandemic. I am not sure how far on the other side, which makes me a bit anxious. 

Many churches have already re-opened. Some were opened too soon and without a plan. Others had a plan, but still resulted in a negative outcome. As a result, people became sick and died. You can read about a few of those churches here. 

After California Church defies state orders, 180 congregants are exposed to COVID-19

North California Church sees two Corona Virus Case after Second Gathering

Texas Church cancels Masses after death of Priest

Be prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak in your church

It would be foolish to think any church is exempt from this happening, regardless of planning. I can assure you, none of the churches mentioned above planned on seeing an outbreak in their church. 

Tony Morgan sent our team a memo yesterday saying, 

 "Business, universities and schools are developing plans if cases occur after they reopen. I&#…

Opportunity on the Other Side

Every adversity comes with opportunity. In the recent weeks, we have seen our share of adversity; we have also seen people step up and embrace opportunities to help others.

By the second week of March, the COVID-19 pandemic took every news station hostage and our world drastically changed. In what seemed like an instant, the entire world experienced a paradigm shift that no one, not even the oldest generation, has ever seen before. 
The pandemic has pushed every church on the planet to a new place. Not a comfortable place, but certainly a place we have never been before.Recently, The Unstuck Group surveyed more than 500 churches with 100 - 20,000 in attendance. Out of those churches, only half (mostly larger churches) offered an online worship experience. 
Many churches (pre-Covid-19) didn’t see the value of a virtual worship experience. That same survey reported that almost every church is now streaming their weekend experience. Only 5% are not. Many churches that have been change avers…

The Toxicity of Religion

Religion is toxic. It breeds sacred cows that weaken and sometimes completely paralyzes the mission of the gospel. The toxicity of religion infects people with self righteousness that results in church rules that aren't biblical. These kind of churches are very inward focused, protective of their traditions and will resist anyone who attempts to change them. They rarely see new people meet Jesus; actually they rarely see new people. Jesus constantly countered religion in the gospels while dealing with the Pharisees, as did the apostle Paul while planting churches. In today’s world, religion has resulted in churches designing rules and beliefs that cripple the objective to reach people with the gospel. Here’s just a few examples...and by the way, they are all unbiblical.
You can’t serve or get involved in church until you become a church memberYou have to use a particular translation of the BibleWomen are not allowed to serve in leadershipYou must be baptized into a particular denom…

The First Step onto the Discipleship Path can be the Most Critical

I recently wrote an article on Polishing your Discipleship Path, where I shared three main ideas to make your path better. In this article, I want to drill into best practices around the first step onto the discipleship path. In my experience of working with many different churches (including my own church), the first step(s) onto the path can be the most critical and can determine retaining guests and making disciples. 
A discipleship path should be built and customized for returningguests who aren’t Christians and/or those who may be brand new to the faith. These are people who aren't church or Bible literate. They aren't sure what it means to have a spiritual gift and certainly don't want to be tested. This is why the first step(s) are super important. Here is a principle that I have seen hold true over and over. For every step someone takes, it gives them courage to take a (deeper) next step. At the end of the day, we want people to meet Jesus, grow in their faith and b…

A Follow-up Strategy for CEO's (Christmas & Easter Only people)

I was recently talking with a pastor about the importance of building a strategic calendar and good invite strategies around the “big days” (Easter, Christmas, etc). During our conversation, he said something I have heard countless times before. “The big days are for the CEO's.” And by the way, he didn’t mean that his Easter Sunday was filled with corporate CEO's. Instead, he was using CEO as an acronym for Christmas-Easter-Only people. We have all seen it. We see it every year because Christmas and Easter happen...every year. 

As a former lead pastor, I can certainly remember the Sundays following Easter, Christmas or some other big day. The services were usually low attended and lacked the energy that was experienced the previous week. Those were usually the Sundays where the number two guy or the youth pastor was scheduled to teach. I've been there too. 
I have talked with churches that said they have pulled back the energy and efforts in trying to follow up with CEO peop…

How Churches can Live out their Mission

Just about every secular organization has some sort of mission statement. They are usually framed and hanging on a wall or printed in their internal documents. A mission statement is a phrase that defines the aim and purpose of the organization. It answers the questions, “What do we value? Why do we exist?” 
God has given the church a mission as well. While there are literally thousands of mission statements floating around churches, most are tied (or should be) to Matthew 28:19-20, which says, 
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

I have never encountered a church that disagreed with this passage as the foundation of the mission. However, many churches struggle with living out the mission.
What does it really mean for a church to live out their mission? How ca…