One church multiple locations. . .
“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” Proverbs 29:18 NLT
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 KJV
“If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” Proverbs 29:18 The Message
We have been called to be the church or the body of Christ on earth. If the church is not healthy what does one do about it? If you go to your doctor and find out that you have a heart problem do you thank him or her and just go on your way? Do you ignore the idea that you need to change your diet and began to exercise? Do you ignore the warning signs in hopes that it will just all get better someday? That would be foolish and every one of us knows it.
Yet that is what many churches and leader will do rather than face the hard facts and lead through the opposition to change that is sure to come when a new vision is shared. Most of the people attending American churches have one goal that is to make sure that church stays the same as it was when they were growing up. They love to “protect” their church.
In the United States the church is in real trouble. This crosses over denominational lines.
In 1968, there were 11 million United Methodists in the U.S. attending 42,000 churches. By 2003, there were 8.1 million members in almost 35,000 churches. That is a drop off of 26% in members in 35 years.
For the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the same time frame it went from 4 million members in more than 12,000 churches to 2.4 million members in 11,000 churches. That is a decline of 40% in membership!
Southern Baptists have shown a decline by more than half in the last decade of people identifying themselves as belonging to the Southern Baptist church.
In the Church of the Nazarene in the last thirteen years over 1800 new churches have started or been planted yet as a denomination we have shown a net gain of one new church! That means we are closing churches at almost the same rate we are starting new ones.
As a church we are trying very hard to understand the calling of God for us in our community.
An elderly pastor was attempting to espouse the strengths of the Southern Baptist Church. He made the observation that wherever you travel in America you could walk into a SBC and you would know what to expect. That same sentiment could be shared about many churches in our own Nazarene denomination. There are a handful that have broken out of the box and begun to dream and lead the church to operate back outside its walls. Someone wrote: “The church worship service is the huddle. We run the plays during the week. The game is not won in the huddle.”
Our plan is not to have a network of multi-sites that are predictably the same. We celebrate the diversity and creativity of each campus. While the biblical DNA and the mission are the same if we just create little Williams Streets we are going to fail miserably.
Today we want to take a few moments and make sure you really know what is going on here at Newark Church of the Nazarene. I am going to ask Jason and Tevis to join me here on the platform. We are not going to have a debate but we would like to answer some questions regarding the vision and direction our church is going.
Multi-site Discussion (Setting: 3 stools; Facilitator:
A multi-site church is one church meeting in multiple locations that shares a common mission, budget, leadership, and board. In order for a multi-site to really work, one critical component is a campus pastor.
These three individuals are the campus pastors at our three locations.
Intro: Wes is the campus pastor for our Williams Street location. (need very basic bio info including how long he has been here and serving as lead pastor)
Intro: Tevis is the campus pastor at The Firehouse. He has been with us for three years now and also serves as the executive pastor.
Intro: Jason is the campus pastor at Real Life. He just started at the beginning of the summer, and what many may not know is that he also works for Indiana Wesleyan University. (Jason may explain.)
A multi-site church has the same mission and DNA, but there are still a variety of ways a multi-site church can look. For some churches, having multiple sites involves only a worship service at each location; for others, each location has a full range of support ministries. Some churches use videocast sermons (recorded or live); others have in-person teaching on-site. Some churches maintain a similar worship atmosphere and style at all their campuses, and others allow or invite variation.
1. What will each campus look like?
• Explain the ministries at each location
• What Celebrations look like
• Involvement in community
2. Why multi-site? What are the advantages?
• Trusted brand – same DNA and mission
• Able to grow larger and smaller.
• Able to move to other locations without leaving its current location.
• Able to start brand new ministries in new locations.
• Able to reach more people.
• Less cost and greater impact.
• More support with the ability to share resources between locations.
• Better relationship with and support for Real Life.
• Able to have a staff with generalists who oversee everything at a specific location or a specific ministry (e.g. campus pastor, worship pastor) and specialists who focus on specific areas of expertise (e.g. video ministry, sound). All locations benefit.
• Able to get more people involved in ministry, yet there is the need for more people to get involved.
• Able to serve and attend at different times and locations.
• Ability to develop more leaders and the need for more leaders.
3. How do you hope to be involved in your community?
4. What are the concerns or needs that you have regarding multi-site?
• Concern that one location is not perceived as being the main location or that one location is not favored over another.
• Careful attention to language can help avoid sending the message that one site is favored over another. Here are positive ways to refer to different locations: campuses, The Firehouse, Real Life, Williams Street, or our Williams Street location, Real Life location, Firehouse location.
• Terms that create a division between locations include satellite, main location, parent church, central, extension, branch, second, third, “the big house,” and “the big kahuna.”
• Real Life: “Need for people to serve with us, not to us.”
• The Need for more people to serve and lead = the biggest challenge which can limit a multi-site and what we can do
5. How can someone get involved in serving in a certain ministry or location?
To make any one of these three locations work we need for people to be involved. I have been saying this in about every way I can think of for the last few weeks. Come to think of it we have been saying this for about the last seven years as a church. This church and this ministry will only be what you make it. You determine how successful we will be at fulfilling the mission that Christ gave the church to do.
“The average Christian is educated to at least three years beyond their level of obedience.”
As a church we have a mission: Leading people into a growing relationship with Christ.
How does that happen?
Who makes that happen?
Is this mission for every Christ follower that is a part of this church?
What are you doing to make this happen?
Service or Serve US!
One Church. . .multiple locations!
Bigger buildings are expensive, often impractical, and are less effective in reaching people more than 20 minute drive from it.
Outreach into surrounding communities is increased when the church makes worship venues available in those communities.
Local venues allows a smaller church feel and family atmosphere that is often lost with typical “mega churches”.
Daughter churches (although often a viable option) lose the symbiotic relationship of working intimately within a broader community of believers. All too often daughter churches die due to neglect or unsound nurturing.
Most importantly, our church is called by God to reach out to everyone. We do not have the option to ignore this calling. We must do more rather than simply do nothing and hope that those in need of God will find Him somewhere else.
Juan Carlos Ortiz sat comfortable in his chair while the congregation finished the final stanza of a song. He looked out over the congregation he had been pasturing for many years. He reviewed once again the points of the sermon. He wanted to make sure he did not forget anything. He had labored in prayer for many hours on what to say to the congregation. He had spent many hours in his study crafting each point and tailoring each illustration to support the theme of the sermon. The title of his message was rather simple, Love One Another, but he thought that the message was very important given the spiritual life of the congregation.
When the band played the final note of the song, Pastor Ortiz stood up to walk to the pulpit but as he stood, God spoke.
"Juan" "Yes, Lord"
From his Pentecostal background, Juan Carlos Ortiz had no problem with the idea of God communicating with an audible voice. He only questioned the timing but the conversation continued as Pastor Ortiz slowly walked to the pulpit.
"How many sermons have your preached on theme of loving one another?" "I don't know Lord, maybe a dozen or more." "And how many times have your exhorted the congregation in other sermons to love one another."
"I don't know Lord, maybe a dozen or more also." Have they done any good?
The conversation with God ended the moment Pastor Ortiz positioned himself behind the pulpit. The Lord's words were ringing in his ears. He thought to himself, "I have preached dozens of sermons on love and what good have they done. This congregation still spends more time looking after their own interests more than others. They barely know one another. They are not friends with each other. They barely talk to one another after the church service." Juan Carlos stood silent in the pulpit. His congregation waited for him to begin his sermon. Pastor Ortiz began his sermon, "Love one another." He then went and sat down.
People looked at one another thinking that they had missed something. They were accustomed to sermon of nearly an hour not 3 seconds. The congregation did not know what to do. After what seemed like an eternity, Juan Carlos walked back to the pulpit. The people repositioned themselves in their pews assuming that he would now deliver his message. Juan Carlos again said, "Love one another," and then he again sat down. Heads really began to turn. Some began to murmur. No one knew what to do. Pastor Ortiz again waited and then he again walked to the pulpit. He waited for the congregation to become settled and then as before the only words he delivered were three, "Love one another" before he returned to his chair behind the pulpit.
Now a general stirring moved through the congregation. People began talking to one another, everyone asking the other if they knew what their pastor meant. Finally, an elder stood up and spoke. He said, "I think that I understand what Pastor Ortiz means. He wants me to love you." (Pointing to someone in the pew behind him) "But how can I love you, when I do not know you." With that, he introduced himself and began to meet the people behind him. Others got up from their pews and introduced themselves to people they had seen but not met. Phone numbers were exchanged. Dinner invitations extended. Arrangements were made for financial assistance. Before the service ended, someone raised enough money for bus tickets a family could return to their village. Another man arranged employment for a man out of work and someone offered an apartment a homeless family. With just three simple words he delivered his most powerful sermon.
We are a church that connects people to one another by loving and caring for each other.
It is all about connecting with people only we do it not to add friends to our address books. We do it as the body of Christ because in this neighborhood and in the Real life neighborhood and in future place we put other locations we will be a representative of Christ body on this earth.
We do what we do so that people will hear and learn the message the Jesus saves. Jesus transforms lives. Jesus will help you with your brokenness and help you find a way to mend your life.
If someone is shown genuine authentic love it is going to be because we were there. If someone learns about Jesus through free school supplies, or a free car wash or a postage stamp giveaway it will be because we were there. If someone finds God through a small group or community of Christ followers it will be because someone stepped up to open their home and maybe even lead a group..
Are you getting the picture? We are to be the church or Christ’s functioning body in this world and Newark Church of the Nazarene is going to be just that. We are going to be His functioning body wherever the doors open for us to be that.
Martin Luther King wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail and I want to close with some of those words:
“In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? l am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”
We all have the opportunity today to get on board with the mission of this church. Last week we gave you cake as you left to celebrate 90 years of ministry. Now we give you a ministry fair and job opportunities to get involved. As you leave today go by the tent in the front yard and sign up to get involved.