If you have ever had to read an email “thread” this is one! A Pastor friend of mine posed a question to me yesterday morning about a dip in his attendance after the hard launch and great response from starting a new contemporary worship service. This Pastor is one of the sincerest, hard working people you will find in Christian ministry today. I asked his permission to share both his question and my answer to my Coaches Network and on my blog. You can start at the bottom and work back up, but I think you will get the idea if you just start below.
A special appreciation to all of you who labor for the Lord in connecting people with God. It is exhausting work–but with eternal results. Hebrews 12 encourages us to “run the race with perseverance, fix our eyes on Jesus, cast off everything that distracts us…..don’t lose your focus and give up.”
Blessings and Best Regards,
From: Marc Royer [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:36 AM
To: Bob Miller
Cc: David G. Roland; Marceil; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Modern Service
Bob: First of all–you had a great launch! Second, the reason I cautioned you about this issue is the drop off after an initial hard launch is normal.
Here are a couple of ideas and issues in “real time.”
I visited my old Church in Eugene, OR a few weeks ago. It had been 20 years almost to the Sunday since I had been there for a service. The guy that followed me ran a Church running 800 into the ground. I call it–“getting down to a manageable size…” BUT because 20 years ago we did a capital stewardship campaign we had the mortgage paid off. The Church was taken on by Wayne Cordiaro’s New Hope–and a Pastor about your age hard launched it 18 months ago and they are averaging 800 again! When I was in the service he introduced me as a former pastor. I give Pastor Aaron one piece of advice. This same piece of advice goes for someone as motivated and on fire for The Lord as you, Bob—I said, “Enjoy the trip.” I mean: have fun (in The Lord). Enjoy the process of it. The end game is not the statistics–the end game is the story represented in the changed lives of people. If you celebrate The Lord in changed lives, the spirit of celebration will push back the clouds of darknesses and you won’t notice the weekly dips as much because where the numerical has a tendency to dominant our thoughts, the spiritual journey will prevail.
On the practical side of things:
1. I mentioned when you started this service have the next hard launch in mind so you can start promoting it immediately. Growth begats growth (I figured this out being raised on the Old King James Version with the “begats”). The reason you always have the next thing out there is to prevent the thing you are ruminating on (the dips) from becoming discouragement.
2. Follow up…follow up…follow up.
3. Now–show them how to follow up. You have to successfully pass off the concern you have for the dips in attendance to others. The pass off in this critical area comes from your personal investment in recruiting, training, and RELEASING your follow up team members. You can’t micro-manage the attendance burden or you will burn out.
4. If you want a short cut the old timers used: Dr. Tommy Barnett; Dr. John Maxwell; Dr. Jack Hyles; Dr. Stan Toler (although Big Stan puts it in a more sophisticated way)—GIVE EVERYONE A JOB! It creates immediate ownership of your ministry.
5. Keep doing what you are doing. Find a cadence in it. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Give it time. Part of what you are feeling is also the side effects of adrenaline on your body. Adrenaline is something God created us with, but it kicks in at times and the side effects are basically toxic: A. It makes us perfectionistic thereby being to hard on others. B. It causes us to rehash old baggage we took care,of spiritually long ago. C. It can cause to self loathe, self blame and become,depressed.
How do I deal with body chemistry? 1. Spend one hour every day alone with God. 2. Spend one hour every day exercising.
6. The up side is you desire God’s Church to grow. TCRG is currently working with 150 to 200 different Pastoral Ministries. A large percentage of these haven’t come to terms with “urgency” like you have, Bob.
7. Always give it to God–keep yourself totally dependent upon God. ” I will cast all of my cares upon you. I will lay all of my burdens down at your feet. Any time I don’t know what to do, I will cast all of my cares upon you.”
Sent from my iPad
On Oct 21, 2014, at 8:32 AM, Bob Miller wrote:
Have you recovered from your coast to coast tour yet? I’m sure it was a wonderful trip.
Our 2nd service is 5 weeks old now and things are going well for the most part. The one area of concern for us is the attendance. Since our first service we have dropped to an average of around 43 people. Yes, I believe the first service was inflated in attendance because we had a lot of people there to support the first week but was hoping for some increase by now.
One of the biggest problems is the hit and miss attendance. There are several who are here a Sunday or two and gone a Sunday or two. You did tell me that would be an issue but is there a solution? Is there a NEXT STEP? By that I mean now that we are 5 weeks old, is there a next step we should be taking? A new advertising campaign, follow up campaign, etc?
Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Ossian Nazarene & Fireside Ministries