Jesus' awesome ministry on Earth changed the course of history. He did not follow conventions of worship or doctrine. Instead, he focused on how a loving God yearned to save lost people. Through his single-focused mission, he defied the norm for the sake of all. Many saints of the faith, from the apostle Paul to John Wesley and Mother Teresa, have followed the same approach. Seek the lost, serve them in any way you can, preach the gospel and expect something amazing from God. It is a matter of walking away from our practices, preconceptions, fears and doubts and stepping out in faith.
Leave the four walls of the sanctuary.
Some of the fastest-growing worship communities are outside the walls of a traditional church. Growing churches have started Bible studies and worship services at bars, coffeehouses and homes and on the beach. Find where people without a church home hang out and start meeting there.
Go for a walk and look for opportunities.
Walk around a five-block radius of your local church. What needs do you see? One church with three schools within walking distance asked how they could help. Today, the church tutors struggling students, provides breakfast during standardized testing and supplies teachers with a fund to help needy students. That congregation is recapturing its role as a center of the community and changing the lives of hundreds of children.
You may think that seekers are unwilling to commit if you set high expectations, but several churches found the opposite to be true. In their new-member classes, they created a set of expectations around church attendance. They invited families who had no church home to worship and to participate in discipleship, fellowship, service and giving opportunities. In less than 18 months, one church grew from 250 in average attendance to more than 750 people. Raise the bar instead of lowering it and you may meet with success.
If you've stopped inviting people to church because you fear rejection, consider that more than 65 percent of new church members accepted a friend's invitation. One college group started each Bible study or event by asking everyone to send a text message to three friends inviting them to the next week's Bible study. The group grew from 10 to 35 in less than four months. Create momentum and offer immediate opportunities for members to invite their friends.
Focus on your awesome calling.
When we serve God in faith, we transform our communities and ourselves. When we focus on one awesome thing, such as supporting an Advance project or feeding every hungry child within five blocks of the church, we're inspired and compelled to action and able to focus on our awesome calling.