Jump Start #3318
Jump Start # 3318
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
I want to share with you a most incredible experience I had recently. My wonderful son in the faith, Aaron Kemple, who preaches at Dowlen Road in Texas arranged for a special video leadership panel discussion with four preachers. The topic was “Why are some churches thriving and others dying.” The panel of preachers had submitted a series of questions that dealt with the aspects of thriving and dying. All of the preachers spoke on each question. The culture of a church, the role of leaders, the value of people, evangelism, developing a legacy, excellence, vision, dealing with change were many of the topic discussed. On the panel was Max Dawson, one of the front runners in understanding the Biblical concept of shepherding; Don Truex, my true friend in heart, who has crisscrossed the country talking about shepherding; Rickie Jenkins, not a truer friend in the world, who understands shepherding at the core; and myself. Not only are we all dear, dear friends, we all have within our DNA the heart of true shepherding and developing thriving churches.
There are core differences between churches that are thriving and churches that are dying. Everyone wants the church to grow. But how? Vision. Planning. Culture. Excellence. Legacy. Those are all the key components that determine whether one talks about thriving or one truly thrives.
Laced throughout the hour long discussion are tons of practical, useful ideas that can help. I am biased about this program. I wish something like this was done years ago. How useful, helpful and beneficial this will be for so many congregations.
Moving from point A to point B, just how is that done? How can we help the next generation to be strong, faithful and committed to the Lord? This Thriving or Dying program will help.
Here are some suggestions:
First, go to the Dowlen Road website or their Facebook page and under their Monday Bible studies you will find, “Thriving or Dying—panel discussion.” Watch it. Watch it with pen and paper. It’s a bit over an hour long but it will be beneficial for you. Churches are dying and no one knows what to do. Churches are closing the door for the last and final time and people scratch their heads wondering what happened. Thriving or dying—it’s more than talk. It’s not the location. It’s leadership. It’s vision. It’s planning. It’s getting to the core elements of what we are about.
Second, share this video with your preachers and shepherds. Encourage them to watch it. From that, conversations ought to take place about what needs to be done to help your congregation become healthy, thriving and growing. Much too often, the hope is placed in finding the right preacher. Like the ole’ cowboy Westerns, hiring a gun to clean up our mess may make a great movie, but it doesn’t work with a congregation. Getting everyone on board is important. Creating an atmosphere of excellence is a must.
Third, use this panel study for a study among members. Great questions and great ideas flow from this.
It is wonderful to know that there is help out there. It is wonderful to know that one can find resources that will make a lasting difference. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, then we will get what we have always gotten. One doesn’t have to remain stuck in what they are doing. One does not have to settle for average. God gave His best, so we ought to do our best. Our pride often keeps us from seeking help. Shepherds ought to have their own studies on these things. What do we have to do to become a thriving congregation? Spend some time thinking about that. Where do we begin? What’s first on the list? Without a plan, without a direction, a congregation will just flounder and fail.
Fourth, if you really want to try something unique, invite all five of the panel to come and preach about leadership, legacy and excelling in the Lord. That’s different. But, why not? Why not do something special that can truly lay the foundation for a better way of serving the Lord.
If we found out that we had a serious medical condition, we’d do more than just hope things got better. If it meant driving to Mayo Clinic, we’d do that. If it meant seeing the best in the field, we’d do that. And, yet, when it comes to the spiritual life of our congregations, we don’t want to do anything too outside the box or different. Why?
The good Shepherd in John 10 was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. What are we willing to do for the sheep? Would we be willing to travel to a congregation that is thriving and sit down with the leaders and have a real and serious conversation about what they are doing? Would we be willing to take a weekend and invite someone to come and spend time with the shepherds to help them develop a healthy culture?
The good Shepherd would lay down his life. What are you willing to do for the sheep? The very answer to that question may determine how serious one is about thriving or dying. The very answer might determine if we thrive or if we die.
The website: Dowlenroad.com. Go to the Youtube link. MNS—Thriving churches or dying churches. That’s the starting point.