We really are happy to work with ideas from others! The next idea came from Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven Church - if you look at our Vision Statement you will see that it’s exactly the same as his - apart from the fact that he had a few more noughts on the number of members in his vision… He’s done it and we’re on our way! So I feel fortunate in this - I will just take things that I see others doing that God is owning and blessing and integrate them into our philosophy and strategy. We have found this approach to be really very helpful.
We believe that ‘doing church’ is not just about the members. Within Newfrontiers, with our restoration foundation, we automatically think about church members. At Kings, we believe it isn’t as simple as that – you also have a community around you which you are there to reach. How many people live in your community? Around King’s we have 250,000 people and we see it as our responsibility to get around to thinking how they will find their place with God.
There is a crowd of people that live near your church and around mine who are not yet members - but they’re coming on Sundays. Some of you have got two such people, some might have twenty. Then you have the congregation - that might well be your membership. We do have a membership at King’s and think it is very important as a commitment to a local church - but it doesn’t stop there because you know within your members’ list that there are some people that are even more committed than others in terms of turning up and serving! It’s not just members and then the rest - it’s more complex than that. Members need to be encouraged into greater maturity. And you’ve then also got some people that are your ‘core’ people.
I found this analysis very helpful in understanding my church - it affects me every time I get up on the platform on a Sunday morning because I’m aware that I’m speaking to a very broad group of people with different levels of involvement and commitment. That realization should affect how you present your message. If you’re ‘new people aware’, it will influence how you organise church life and how you explain church events, including the notices. Listen to what is said from a visitor’s point of view. Delete church jargon, ‘in jokes’ and those easy terms and acronyms familiar to you – but not to new people. Watch your language!