Fifteen pounds down since January 1, 2021. Not too bad for a guy who is pushing 50! But the scale is NOT the whole story. I can beat my dog to the top of the stairs. Win! Yesterday, I ran for forty-five minutes straight without regretting the cookie treat at lunchtime. No regrets! The notch in my belt just moved one position. New belt soon! These small wins point my mind and my whole self to feel the joys of accomplishment. The wins are a psychological reminder that all the hard work pays off and serves as an encouragement to press on.
Every church has psychology. I say it often: Every church instinctively knows what she should be accomplishing. Collectively, the people of Jesus are looking for signs and markers to indicate that they are completing the mission of Christ. However, often a church gets stuck with "love for a program or ministry" over "love for the mission."
Though many ministries in a church can help the congregants with a sense of momentum, a few triggers, especially in a revitalization effort, allow the church to soar to new heights. Indeed, when these psychological "pings" happen in a church of any size, God's people will rejoice and follow the direction of the leadership. The believers will be looking for "More-Mentum."
What are the triggers? Glad you asked:
Here are some tips to keep the baptism momentum going:
After I preached on baptism once, a new believer went home and, while washing the dishes, filled his hands with water and poured it over his head. He asked the Lord, "Is that enough?" The Lord told him, "be baptized next Sunday." He was!
Rather than call the new members names from the stage, take a high-quality photo, a more recent iPhone and a nice backdrop will work great, and introduce the families from the stage, you guessed it, one family per Sunday.
Bottom line: while the church was preparing to reach the community, we reached people elsewhere and talked about it a lot! In fact, reaching people elsewhere helped us reach people in our region.
At the end of each mission experience, I or someone appointed gave what became known as "the speech" to the short-term mission volunteers. Basically, "these have been special days. We have bonded together. We have seen God do great things. We have broken bread and poured out wine. We have shared the gospel. But today is not a special day. Today is an 'every day.' You ARE a missionary. Go home and live your life on the mission just as if you were still in El Salvador." They did!
A church instinctively knows who she is supposed to be and what she is supposed to do. When she drifts from the Great Commission, often her morale, her psychology, is low. The church begins to take her cues of health from programs and "collecting" people rather than advancing the mission and sending God's people. And your church is just one step away from the end when the congregation only takes her cues from past ministries.
Watch God build a new future. Jump into the river of the Great Commission. Celebrate the accomplishment of the mission at every turn and on a weekly basis. You will find More-mentum.
Dr. Jonathan L. Smith is the statewide Church Health Strategist for Texas Baptists. A twenty-nine-year veteran of preaching and pastoring, his calling is to equip pastors and lay leaders to grow God's Kingdom. Dr. Smith holds degrees in Christianity and Speech from Houston Baptist University, a Masters degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a D.Min from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.
The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.
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We are more together.