Over the Thanksgiving holiday Denise and I took some time off. Being a pastor that is always trying to learn more…I used vacation time to go see other churches…three to be exact. Over a 22 hour period we visited Oakleaf Church in the Atlanta area, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC and NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. Each of the churches blew us away for different reasons and it was evident that God was using them in mighty ways to impact their communities. There were…however…a few common traits among all three churches that I believe help them to be successful in reaching people far from God.
1. Simplicity – All three churches only do three or four things. They don’t have multiple ministries, they don’t cater to everyone’s hobbies, they don’t have a group for every thing under the sun and they don’t try to be something they are not. Each church has worship services, children’s ministry, youth ministry and Bible studies….and that’s all. They concentrate on the few things they can do well…and do them with excellence.
2. Excellence – Each of the three churches were different sizes as far as worship attendance goes…but all three did EVERYTHING with excellence. The buildings looked great, the printed resources looked great, the signs around the campuses looked great, the visual media looked great, the services were top notch and the level of guest services was amazing. Basically if they couldn’t do it well…they didn’t do it at all.
3. Generosity – Denise and I were both blown away by the hospitality and generosity we saw at Oakleaf, Elevation and NewSpring. Guests were treated like VIPs, every attender was met with a smile, we were handed hundreds of dollars worth of resources and we had access to their staff. The leadership of each church genuinely wanted to help Compass Point out in any way they could…their generosity was an outflow to see people come to know Jesus all over the world.
4. Committed Volunteers – Volunteers were treated like staff…they were valued, they were honored and they were expected to be super committed. Each volunteer was fully trained, was expected to grow in their roles and was scheduled for every other weekend. Those that flaked out or began to miss their assignments we not chased…but were never used again. The way all three churches looked at volunteers…it is an honor to serve God each week as people come to know Him…excellence and commitment was expected from all volunteers.
5. Christ-Centered Leadership – All three churches we visited were going through some kind of spiritual attack or major directional push. Prayer, godly counsel and in-depth Bible study were things we heard over and over again from their leadership. There was sense of humility and godly fear among each church’s staff…as well as a real life-driving desire to see people come to Christ. Needless to say…it was contagious.