For 35 years, Saddleback Church has been making disciples through a very intentional, purpose-driven process. And we’ve helped train tens of thousands of other churches to do the same. We’ve always been concerned with five big goals, and as we face another new year of ministry, we’re working toward these same five goals again.
New Year of Ministry GOAL #1: We will increase our weekend service attendance.
The first step in our disciple-making process is drawing our surrounding community together on Sunday to be part of our crowd. Jesus drew large crowds and then challenged them to commit. Peter challenged the enormous crowd to follow the resurrected Jesus on the Day of Pentecost, and 3,000 did so.
We want as many people as possible to be brought into close proximity to the gospel so that they will hear about Jesus. That’s the starting point, for most people, on the journey to spiritual maturity. So what will you do in the upcoming year to increase your primary weekend worship attendance?
• How will you use social media?
• How will you utilize local media outlets?
• How can you leverage local events or host special events?
• What invite tools will you put in the hands of your members?
• What major campaigns will you use as an entry point for new people?
New Year of Ministry GOAL #2: We will help attenders to get better connected.
You can only make disciples when people who join the crowd stick around. It’s actually easy to get a bunch of people to come. What’s difficult is getting people to stick, to keep coming back and to feel that they are truly part of the family.
The real issue is, how do we help people see that they really belong, and that the best way to grow spiritually is to be a committed part of the body. As we face another year, we’re wrestling with questions such as:
• How can you get every member into a small group?
• How can you give every member a job, a role serving the body?
• How can you best challenge more people to commit to membership?
• How do you get people to take ownership of the mission of your church?
• How do you reward long-term faithfulness?
New Year of Ministry GOAL #3: We will help our members grow in spiritual maturity.
Disciples follow Jesus. They imitate his character and learn to be more like him, which only happens as they grow deeper in his truth and grace. And growing disciples don’t depend solely on the weekend message as their source of spiritual nourishment. They become self-feeders who study the Bible, pray, give and serve.
Our role as church leaders isn’t to produce spiritual maturity. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But it is certainly our job to create the environment and supply the tools for God to work with.
• How will your next 12 months of preaching challenge people to be like Jesus?
• How can you get devotional material into people’s hands daily? (Hint: You can always start with the Daily Hope devotional.)
• How can you remind people of the power and potential of prayer?