Small Church Lies, Pt. 1

I have been working within small church ministry for a little over 5 years, and working side by side with other preachers in small churches for that long. I have come to believe that there are many lies that the enemy plants in the minds of small churches that actually bring them down! John 8 tells us that our Enemy is the father of lies, so we ought to carefully examine all of our mindsets and mentalities to be sure they are of the right father! Here are some I have seen most prevalent:

#1 “We should stay small in order to have good fellowship and community!”

Jesus did not call the church to stay small! He spoke of it sometimes beginning small (like a mustard seed) and then growing (like to be the biggest of all plants). Growing churches can have close fellowship and community too, they just have to work harder at it. With larger churches, they have to do small groups. With smaller churches, every group is small! (That was kinda supposed to be funny, feel free to laugh!) Yes, community is essential to the life of the Christ follower, but no, you don’t have to be a small church to accomplish it!

When I was in Illinois, I met with a couple who was looking to transfer their membership, possibly to the church at Ferris. They had checked out another church, but told me that they couldn’t possibly go there because it was just too big. So they thought they might try Ferris. I told them that they could come if they wanted, but that the church at Ferris was growing, and didn’t plan on stopping anytime soon! (They came for a while, but decided not to stick around!)

Don’t believe the lie that in a bigger church you cannot have close relationships with people. You just can’t have them with everyone!

May we be a people that embrace Christ’s call to expand and build His kingdom in our community, and not fear the changes that come with growth!

Billy

4,845!!

What is so special about the number 4,845? That is the number of lots up for development in Denton! If all of those lots are finished and occupied we could see the population of Denton quadrupled in the next 17 years. This would make Denton give Denton the most aggressive growth rate in the state!

Now, there is a bit of debate among local politicians on whether or not we should slow down this aggressive growth rate. Please know this: I am not arguing either way. But we, as a community of Christ-followers, need to be ready for a changing atmosphere of ministry. Out community is changing right before our eyes, and we must be ready to take the message of Jesus to them all.

Some of you are reading this and wondering why I am even writing about this. Think about it this way: what has been typical and normal for Denton and Caroline County may not be typical in ten to fifteen years. Most of the people will be new transplants, likely many transplants from the Baltimore-Washington-Annapolis craziness and many retirees in age-restricted housing.

My point is this: we must be aware of who is here, and what is going on around us so that we can effectively communicate the gospel in our steady-changing community.

Billy da Kid

Cleaning Up!

When I took on the Denton Project with ECEF, they gave me 30 days from the time I showed up to the time I actually started to settle my house and family, and to go around and visit some of the supporting churches. My wife’s definition of settling the house is making me vacuum. 🙂

While I was vacuuming today, I actually began to enjoy myself. It began to be fun to see that little red dirt sensor light turn green, and know that another dust bunny was no more! And the carpet looks so much better with fresh vacuum lines, so I began to vacuum my way out of rooms, so my feet didn’t mess up the lines!!

Our lives can be like that, you know. We have a lot of junk that needs to be cleaned up. Our problem is that we just don’t know how to do it, or know that it is a lot of work. But the results are amazing!

So, I say with Paul, “Let us lay aside the encumbrances and sin which so easily entangles us, and run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”

Billy da Kid

DISCLAIMER: Actually, I wanted to vacuum because my wife got this sweet new vacuum on Saturday! Sears two day sale= 1/2 off= Happy Roseann!!

Goals and Strategies for Year 1!

So, I just had a sweet meeting with the ECEF guidance team! We talked business, of course. (YUCK!) But then I got to present some of the strategies and goals we are going to be using at Denton throughout the next year. (SWEET!!) I told them what we are going to try and accomplish, and goal dates to accomplish them. So here they are: (drum roll please):



Strategy:

  • Develop, Communicate and Implement (DCI) Statement of Purpose

  • DCI Mission Statement

  • DCI Vision Statement

  • DCI Core Values, Core Beliefs

  • DCI Purposeful Name

  • DCI Strategic, Purposeful Programming

  • DCI Assimilation Process (from 1st time visitor to regular attender)

  • DCI Discipleship Process (from regular attender to fully devoted Christ follower)

  • DCI Ministry Involvement Process (getting followers into service)

  • DCI Compassion and Outreach Strategy

  • DCI Marketing Strategy

  • DCI Launch Day Strategy

Goals:



  • Launch Day- October 4, 2009

  • Purpose, Vision, Mission, Values, Beliefs and Name In Place by November 30

  • Programming Reformatted to Match Above by December 31

  • Assimilation, Discipleship and Ministry Involvement Processes In Place by January 31

  • Compassion, Outreach, Marketing, and Launch Day Strategy In Place by March 31

  • 10 % Growth per month prior to Launch Day (Starting with 35)



I will try to explain all our terms, and get you familiar with what I mean by all of it on the evening of Sept 28. SO BE THERE!!!!



We are in for a wild adventure serving Jesus and this community! Hang on to your seats!

Going Home?

Well, it is Sunday afternoon. I am chilling on the love seat, thinking about tonight. This morning I enjoyed worshiping with the Christ-followers at the Lewes Church of Christ. I connected with some awesome friends afterward, who of course we HAD to eat with. (no wonder we always connect fellowship with food!!) Tonight, I am preaching at Severn. I am so excited about it because of this story:

It actually happened at the same church many years ago. Back then it was at a different location, and called the First Christian Church of Glen Burnie. It was an evening worship service on April 23, 1995. For whatever reason, the Sr. Minister wasn’t preaching, but one of the elders was. I don’t remember what his sermon was about, but I do remember knowing that I ought to make a decision to follow Jesus. So I talked to my dad, and we talked to the preacher. Then I went and told everyone that I believed and trusted Jesus, and was baptized into Christ. And I get to preach there tonight.

Its kinda like going home. Awesome.

Yours for the Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends,
Billy Johnson

Strategy Planning

Hey Friends!

I wanted to give you an idea of where the process is. So, here is the working plan for the next couple of weeks:

Next week I am going to be at an ECEF meeting. At that meeting I am going to present to the ECEF men a general strategy and plan for year 1 of the Denton Project. They will work with me to help correct and tweak any issues there might be with the strategy. When all the corrections and advising is through, I will have a working strategy to guide help guide us. This won’t be all the details, but a general overview of the goals and direction we will be heading in Year 1. You (the Denton crew) and I will work through the details and do all that together later!

Once we have an approved and affirmed strategy, we will be ready for me to start at Denton on September 28. (DONT FORGET VICTORY DAY ON THE 27th AT 5:30 PM)

On September 28, I would like to take the evening time to share the strategy with you all, so we can begin working together and fillling in the blanks as to how we are going to get where we want to go. No, not all questions are going to get answered at that meeting, because we are going to work through all of this together over the next few months. But that night, we are going to make sure most of the questions that we want to get answered are asked! It will be an awesome night of dreaming and planning. Plan to be there. (with bells on!)

Brothers and Sisters, God has been writing a grand story of redemption since the beginning of time. He began the story with people He loved, who sinned and needed a Savior. So, He began a plan to bring that Savior into the world, and did so through the Jewish people. That Savior, Jesus, through his death and resurrection, began a new kind of kingdom that would be the focus of this 2nd to last act in His great story. That kingdom was to hijack the culture around them and bring the salt and light of Jesus into a world of darkness. We are a part of that story. It is so grand, it is humbling, and so personal and local, that it should be motivating. We, here at Denton, are vital players in God’s epic story of redemption, and we have a vital role to play. When we do, the world around us will never be the same!

Yours for the Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends,

Billy

The Denton Project

Hey Friends!

What are we going to do? I have got that question a few times over the last few days, and I hope I didn’t seem like a mindless idiot when I really didn’t give you an answer. I am developing plans and intentions for this project, but didn’t want to commit to anything before I knew it was going to happen. Let me explain some of my thought processes so that you can understand how I am thinking.

ECEF’s Denton Project is a restart project. We are going to totally revamp and restart the ministry of the church in Denton. This will mean building a vision and mission for the church, and building our programming and events to facilitate our mission and accomplish our vision. This means that some things may change over the next couple of months:

– Our name may change. We may want to reflect our vision/mission in the most visible aspect of us.
– Some old programs may stop and new ones begin. We are going to build our programs from our mission/vision, not our mission/vision from our programs.
– Some things we currently do may be put on hold to focus on more important aspects of our ministry so that they can be done to the best of our ability.

But I am not going to make these decisions on my own. I want all of you to be a part of this process. So please be ready to contribute to the discussion and open-minded about how to proceed forward in faith!

When all is said and done, we will be a church who is serving Jesus, loving others, and growing in numbers and discipleship! Join me on this journey!

Yours for the Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends,
Billy Johnson