Monday, February 16, 2015

Good intentions are not enough

Last week I was listening to a Dave Ramsey podcast when Dave began to interview John Maxwell.  Maxwell said something that continues to play over in my mind.  He said that many people have good intentions but they never do anything with intentionality that will make those good intentions happen.  I can't get those words out of my mind.

Think of all the New Year's resolutions that have already been forgotten.  People have good intentions to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, attend church more faithfully, read their Bible each day, etc., but unless they take some intentional steps to make these things happen, it is highly unlikely anything will change in their lives.

As I work with various churches I hear them talk about all the great things they want to accomplish.  They share with me their dreams for ministry and their desire to impact their communities through their ministries.  However, in most cases these things never occur.  They never do anything with intentionality that would enable those things to happen.

I frequently hear from church leaders that their churches need more leaders, but they never do anything to develop leaders.  Few churches, especially smaller ones, have anything in their budget for training.  Most of the churches I work with have no training program in their church except for Sunday school.  They don't send their lay leaders and potential leaders to workshops.  Nothing intentional is done, and yet we continually hear complaints that our churches need more leaders.

As I shared in last Friday's post, most churches say they want to grow.  What are they doing with intentionality that would produce that growth?  In that post I referred to the book What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church by Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn.  Here are just a few of the rules they recommend for attracting new people to your church.

  • Offer at least nine entry events per year for effective community outreach.
  • Provide a minimum of two side doors every year.
  • Train at least 10 percent of your people in friendship evangelism each year.
  • Each worshiper should have an average of nine or more unchurched friends or family members.
If you don't know what an entry event or side doors are, you should.  That alone may be enough for you to want to read this book.  The reality is that it is increasingly difficult to get unchurched people to come into the church through the front door (worship services).

Each of these rules, and most of the other 97 rules, will not happen accidentally in the church.  We must be intentional about doing each of them.  This does not mean that we have to start tomorrow doing all 101!  Your church may only be able to do 2-3 at first, and that's OK.  Determine which 2-3 will give you the best opportunity to accomplish your vision for ministry and start with them.  But, do something with intentionality!  Otherwise, we are left with only good intentions, and we all know where they lead us.

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