Pastor, what are your goals for 2013?
Whatever they are, I’d like to encourage you to include at least one goal that helps other churches.
Helping other churches is a multiplication strategy. If you can help someone else do what you do well, you’ve doubled your effectiveness. More importantly, Genesis 12 indicates that we are blessed to be a blessing. Helping others has always been God’s intention for his people, particularly for leaders.
How We Stumbled into Helping
New Song started helping other churches almost by accident. Three years after we launched the church, I had to lay off our entire staff. We were transitioning from the “portable church” stage into a 24/7 lease situation, and it was obvious that we weren’t going to have enough to pay our staff and our lease. So we wrote pink slips which said, “We may not be able to pay your full salary for the next few months, but we’ve always lived by faith and we hope you’ll stay on. We believe God will provide for you until we grow into our increased budget.”
Each of our guys agreed to pray and see what would happen. The next day, my Associate Pastor, Scott Evans, got a call from a church, asking if they could pay him to produce a mailer similar to the ones we had been sending to our neighbors. Another church called the following week. Scott began offering his services to more churches, and eventually Outreach, Inc. was born. Seventeen years later, Outreach has served over 90,000 churches with mailers and other marketing tools because of a pink slip and a nudge from the Lord.
How to Get Started
1. Find out what God is up to.
The week before churches began to call, Scott and I had read Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God. Henry’s chief tenant is Find out what God is up to and join him in his work. God is always at work around you. What is he doing in you or through you or around you that might benefit other churches?
2. Figure out what you do well.
One clue to how you might help is by figuring out what you do better than other churches. We’re all good at something. What’s your strength?
3. When you solve a problem, share the solution.
If your church has a problem, chances are that others have that same problem. When you develop a solution, share it!
4. Don’t be afraid to share.
Church leaders are sometimes tempted to think they’re in competition with other churches. Not so. Other churches are our teammates. They want to win others to Christ as fervently as we do.
The competition is the beach, the sports league, the internet and other distractions that keep people from considering church and Jesus on Sunday mornings. There are plenty of unchurched people to go around!
Sharing has changed our hearts.
Over the years, dozens of churches in our area have used Outreach’s postcards, banners, and the tools. Seeing our efforts coupled with theirs has strengthened our bonds. A few years ago, our staff started praying for the other churches in our area during our weekly prayer time. Our standard prayer is, “Lord, everything we want for our church, we ask for theirs as well. Use us together to reach this city.” Last year we decided that, once a quarter, we would divide into teams and visit nearby churches to pray for their pastors in person. This is sometimes a shock for the visited pastor, but I think it’s good for the body of Christ.
I feel so strongly about this that we started producing campaigns for other churches. It takes more work, but it’s worth it. A few years ago, The God Questions helped a ton of churches reach out. We estimate that over ten thousand people have come to Christ through that one tool. When we did a series on Daniel and the church grew by 18% in ten weeks, we made that available as well. This year we released The Bible Questions for the same reason. Churches are our neighbors. If we really love our neighbors as ourselves, we ought to give them our best tools.
5. Think like a parachurch.
Once upon a time, almost all ministry was done by the church. Then churches got insular and the parachurch grew up to fill the gap. Today, the pendulum is swinging back. Churches are thinking more beyond their walls.
During the frontier days, a country parson looked around his village and when he found a need, he’d mobilize the community’s resources to meet that need. That’s the spirit I see returning to many church leaders as they pray for the salvation of their communities.
Hal Seed is the Founding Pastor of New Song Community Church and author of The Bible Questions, The God Questions, Future History, and Jonah. Check out these books, campaigns and other resources at: www.pastormentor.com.