Relevant preaching based in Biblical truth – In our current society situational ethics and a decreased regard for moral absolutes seem to be the norm, but in reality people truly are searching for truth. They are searching for relevant, authentic people who will lovingly care for them and motivate them toward the unchanging truth of the gospel. Thus, people need the unchanging truth of the gospel presented in a way that meets them where they are and in a language they can understand. To effectively present the gospel, all means available to the church must be used. These would include drama, dance, the arts, multimedia and sound biblical messages. This is critical as the inerrancy of Scriptures becomes the authority that detects the way we live and act within community. (Colossians 1:28, Acts 17…)
Worship – Worship is a lifestyle and not something that is just “done” on Sunday morning. The reality is that too often there is a disconnect between the person’s persona on Sunday and the rest of the week. God has called us to a lifestyle of worship so that all we do glorifies God and honors his name. When the church does gather for the “worship service” the entire service should be spiritually alive and vibrant but biblically based in order to reach those who are attending and point them to God almighty. (John 4:24, Romans 12:1)
Outreach & Mission – The church should be “on mission” rather than simply “doing missions.” The difference is in the mindset of the church. A church on mission recognizes that every individual is a missionary to their zip code. Therefore, they must reach their community, those on the job, students in their school and those with whom they connect. When the church does missions, it sends people on short-term trips, to foreign fields and it sends money to mission’s organizations but they fail to engage the culture around them with spiritual truth. This does not negate the sending of money or people to the mission field there is simply a greater recognition that we are all missionaries who are on mission. With that in mind, we must seek to develop the necessary strategies to reach our communities for Christ. As Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, GA has said “If we are going to reach people no one else is reaching we need to do things that no one else is doing.” These strategies may change from one location to the next but the underlying value is that we have a heart for people who do not know Christ and a compassion and passion to see them transformed by Christ. (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20)
Discipleship & Spiritual Growth – Within the church, we must be in the business of “equipping the saints” for the work of ministry. It is impossible for a single pastor to adequately minister to every one in the body effectively. Therefore, the church must “equip the saints” so that the body is ministering to each other. One of the successes of the early NT church was in its ability to minister to one another. Therefore, it is critical that the body of Christ have mechanisms in place to connect people to Christ, to one another, to the ministry, and to mission. This is best accomplished through small groups or home groups. Through home groups people are connected in authentic relationships and they can find their place within the context of the local church. Here they receive assistance in their journey toward becoming passionate and fully devoted followers of Christ. And, out the home group they serve together to reach their community for Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-14, Acts 2:41-47)
Simplicity in Ministry – One problem that faces many churches today is busyness and calendars that are jammed with activity. It is my belief that simplicity of ministry is critical. The church must establish its vision and then anything that fits outside that vision must be eliminated. This means sometimes the good must be eliminated so that the best can be raised up. The problem is that too often the church has “sacred cows” that are not easily sacrificed for the overall health of the body. Our process of connecting people to the church must be simple enough that everyone in the body understands and knows what is required of them and how they can become fully connected to Christ, to others, to their specific ministry and to mission.
Multi-generational – While the target group in a church might vary it is critical that we bridge the gaps between the generations. The best way to accomplish this is to have the various generational groups serve one another in ways that spur one another to growth
Youth and children – We must be more effective in reaching this and future generations for Christ by providing ministry that is relational, authentic and relative to where our youth and children are in the culture. If the statistics are correct and there is no reason to believe they are not, only 4% of this generation of youth has a commitment to Christ. This percentage has declined over the last decade and if it continues in this downward trend then we could face the elimination of the church as we know in just a couple of decades. Therefore, the church must create environments that are conducive to seeing youth and children developing vital relationships. This also means that a significant amount of the budget must be used to develop this ministry.
Cross-cultural Ministry – As our nation has become more ethnically diverse, we as the church have tended to remain segregated but the church must look for ways to become more ethnically diverse. This can not be forced nor can it be simply a program or goal to attain but must be a part of the DNA of the church because they have a passion to reach all men for Christ regardless of race, culture or life experiences.