Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday Morning Afterglow 5/19/2008

Dear Ones,

Monday morning reflection on the previous day's worship at St. Patrick's... Trinity Sunday 2008 led me to think about the readings for the day in light of creation and new creation. The long account of how God created the world in Genesis gives way to the Great Commission in Matthew 28 where God's plan to re-create the world is revealed.

My homily focused on how God made everything in the world--from people, to animals, to plants-- with seed within it in order for his creation to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. That is what the Great Commission is all about. Within every Christian is the Seed of the woman and Seed of Abraham--Jesus Christ--and God is planting us in the world to share Jesus with others. The thrust of the message was once again on evangelism.

The downside to yesterday was it was a cold wet day and attendance was down. In a smaller mission church, each week we have to try and have critical mass. Critical mass is a sociodynamic term to describe the existence of sufficient momentum in a social system such that the momentum becomes self-sustaining and fuels further growth.

If we do not have enough people in church on Sunday, the service lacks the energy and momentum to fuel growth.

In every church, and in every church I have served as pastor, there are circles of commitment. Pastor Rick Warren taught me this 13 years ago when I first read "The Purpose Driven Church." Warren teaches that in every church, the same dynamic Jesus experienced is re-experienced:

In a sense, every church has five different people groups related to the church:

  • Community: Those living around our church who never, or occasionally, attend.
  • Crowd: Those who attend our church regularly but are not members.
  • Congregation: Those who are committed to both Christ and membership in our church family.
  • Committed: Those members who are serious about growing to spiritual maturity.
  • Core: Those members who actively serve in ministry and mission in your church.

Each group has unique needs, motives, challenges, and POTENTIAL! Our goal is to turn an audience into a work force for God. Which circle are you in at St. Patrick's? Churches gain momentum when the committed and the core circles increase.

The minimum commitment needed for a mission church to grow is CROWD. I invite you to make a deeper commitment to God as we all work together to sustain the critical mass that fuels the growth of our church!


Fr. Kevin

2 comments:

Carrie Calhoun said...

Sorry Father Kevin, my niece graduated from U of R on Sunday and we left at 6AM and didn't get home until Midnight...Why do groups, sports teams , institutions disrespect the Sabbath? I suppose because we make it easy for them by attending...anyway, your comments are taken to heart and make me realize that God is calling me to a higher sense of commitment....This blog is a wonderful idea.

Father Kevin Baker said...

Carrie,

I love U of R--great school :) Your comment reminds me to let everyone know that my blog on the circles of commitment is not "Angry Pastor Yelling at Flock" but leader and strategist laying it on the line about what really makes churches grow.

As a long time pastor, people ask me what is a good reason to miss church saying "Can I miss church--when sick, for family events, vacations, if I am too tired and do not feel like going, etc.?" The biblical views of worship and Sabbath require attendance. Most pastors today go light on this because Americans don't like being told to do anything and with so many churches competing for people, they can easily switch churches. However, as pastor, I ask people to reframe the question from "Can I miss church?" to "Should I?" When people look at it this way, it helps clarify priorities. This helps explain why some people even when dying from cancer never miss church till they are bedridden, or why others simply always put church first over family, Sunday events planned by unbelievers, etc.

Last comment... The circles are biblical. Jesus had them--the three inner core (Peter, James, John), the twelve, the 70, and the 120.

Fr. Kevin