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Unity: Adding Value to the Church

This is lesson three.  We are going to add to the main points that we have expanded upon from the first two lessons.  Those are:

  1.  You have to value yourself
  2. You have to value people

We have learned some great concepts along the way about how to encourage each other and how to take a hard look at ourselves and our willingness to be unified.  Remember this is still about intent, we have to be like the good Samaritan and deliberately cross the road.  So in order to do that we are going to list points 3 and 4 together and then go through an amazing concept to bring an intense amount of value to the church.  This value will serve others and also serve ourselves by bringing us closer together.  By working together, we will be one step closer to a unified church.

  1.  You need to know and relate to what people value.  This is a learning process.  Obviously, there are things that some people value more than others. These things are often wildly different between men and women. Stop and take a moment to figure out what truly motivates a member in your church. Is that something you think about on a regular basis?  Chances are the answer is no because our lives are busy and there usually is a hundred and one things to do instead. This simple exercise can make all the difference in the world. First you have to take the time to find out what is near and dear to someone, then you take the time to act on it. It is an exercise in value that pays huge dividends. Every time that person sees you they are reminded that you care about them on a different level.  In the book of Acts 2:44 it says that the Disciples were all together and had everything in common.  We tend to gloss over the fact that having everything in common is a lot of work, it’s intentional. Do you think that just happened in a day?  I tend to think that this was the beginning of a lifetime project of figuring one another out and giving to each other. It’s only one sentence but it powerfully speaks of Unity.

Questions:

  • How do you think you find out what other members in our church value?
  • Are you a good listener or is this something you need to work on?
  • Do you think it would be a good idea to make a note on someone’s value and pray about it?
 
  1. You should want to do do the things that God values. There is nothing more important than pleasing the Father.  Sometimes we think that this is a burden but it really is not. Most of the times what God values is very simple, it’s us that make it hard. Let me ask you this simple question, how do you think the parents of the man who was beaten felt about the man who helped him?  Quite possibly it made an impact that will change everyone’s perspective for the rest of their lives. That is how God thinks, he thinks on a scale much bigger and grander than we are ever capable of.

How do you think he feels about a church that wants to be more unified?  How do you think he feels about someone valuing others and learning how to bond with that person on a deeper level?  He is elated of course.  I am sure these are the things that are most pleasing to him and for sure it is the most discouraging for Satan. If anything we should be motivated to please God first and foremost for this example fulfills the scripture of loving the Lord God with all your heart soul and mind.

So now here is where we put this lesson into practice. We have to be intentional here, otherwise it is just another sermon or just another lesson that sounds good but does not change anything.

These first four concepts are the ground floor to an exceptional transformation of unity.  I promise you that we will build on each one in the next coming lessons.  For now, take the time to answer these questions.  You can do them by yourself or if you really want some good insight, do them together in a family group.

The next lesson will have one more foundational concept and then we will jump into a couple of practical applications.  It will be fun!

So now here is where we put this lesson into practice. We have to be intentional here otherwise it is just another sermon or just another lesson that sounds good but does not change anything.  We need to start to develop the concept of being a contributor. Let’s look at one more foundation learning point and then jump in.

  1.  Day one, someone comes to church for the first time, they are consuming the word and the fellowship of the members, which is fine
  2.  Day two, they do “ something” with the person that brought them.  Still a consumer, nothing to see here.
  3.  Day three, they study the Bible one on one and learn what God’s plan is.  Still consuming and rightfully so.  They eventually become baptized and are added to the kingdom of God.  Still consuming.
  4.  Next comes our part, Matthew 28, teach them to obey, this is our part of helping them transform from being a consumer into a contributor. Granted the maturity level of every new disciple is different and some people take longer to arrive at the fact that we all add value, but we have to learn to be conscious of teaching this, often times we run off in search of a new study and a new person to baptize.
  5.  Lastly, there comes a point, usually years down the road, where we have our matrix moment.  Remember that in the movie “The Matrix” where Neo takes the blue pill and suddenly everything becomes crystal clear?  If you are still reading this, that moment is now.  Know this and embrace this fact, most churches never get past step 2.  It’s time to wake up and add value to our churches. It’s time to contribute, it’s what building up the Kingdom really is. It is something you were specifically chosen for and it’s time to act.

Practical Value Creation

Let’s get one thing cleared up, what I am about to suggest is NOT about performance. Years ago church was measured by how much you did and your performance was measured as a form of spirituality. It was a slap in the face wake up call that got us to realize that God’s love is unconditional.  So what I am about to suggest is not a “to do” list at all. However, crossing the road (so to speak) and intentionally adding value will change your life forever and help you grow spiritually like you have never experienced before.  The power of Unity is the most powerful spiritual force in the world. So let’s get started.

Think for a moment like an evangelist or an elder and ask yourself, what does the church need? Go ahead, stop and do that, write down your ideas. Here are some of mine that I have noticed over the last few years.

  • The need to teach our children
  • The need to have conversations
  • The need to volunteer
  • The need to look for things that need to be done
  • Meeting the needs of others
  • Participating in community events and helping increase our name recognition
  • Participating in the growth of our website (a tool that works 24 hours per day, 365 days per year)
  • Incorporating our tag line into your life. “The best place to be is together”
  • Real life stories
  • Being early
  • Developing a unique prayer list based on others
  • Becoming an inspiration
  • Leading people and solving problems
  • Giving of our time as well as our money

Church challenge

I can tell you one glaring item that has been ignored for a very long time and that is our opportunity with our website. I truly believe that most people have no idea the power that is in your hands to reach someone and add value to their life. This is mostly because a lot of us consume the internet and all it’s social qualities  Did you catch that?  If you consume it, so does someone else.

EVERYONE is on their phones, it’s a fact and it’s almost annoying to be honest. There is a real chance, or real opportunity here that takes a community of believers to get behind.

  • Let’s say for example you sit down and write a short testimonial.  I am not talking about an academy award or Pulitzer Prize winning publication. I am talking about a short testimonial of why you like coming to our church. And if your thinking I don’t like to write, then make a video. A simple this is why I like it and this is how it makes me feel. ( I know you can do this because I have read some your Facebook posts).

Now we take that and just post it on the site under testimonials and let that sit there with a bunch of other testimonials. Here is the fun part. That individual post becomes indexed by Google allowing it to be found by some other consumer. Someone that is searching for God will eventually read it and the post stays forever. If you don’t think People will find or value your short post, then you do not know God.  God uses people, and even more so, he uses their stories.

Just think you don’t have to give your testimonial over and over and over again.  The internet takes that over for you.

  • Now let’s go a step further and say I now have ten testimonials about why the best place to be is together.  We then take an ad out that says “why the SLCOC is the church you want to get to know” or something along those lines.  That ad is seen by hundreds if not thousands of people.  You have just transformed from occasional sharing your faith with one person to the ultimate leader of effective evangelism. And it didn’t even hurt or seem like a big deal. You did not leave your house or contribute any extra time.

This post will work for the church forever, it will continue to add to the reasons why someone would want to check us out, it is working smart. Let’s work smart.

  •  Now imagine putting out your life story.  Remember the part I mentioned earlier about you being able to influence someone that can only relate to you?  It’s true, and that person is online and God will eventually use your story to reach someone in a personal way.  How many times have we heard or even said after a Sunday message, “that’s me” or how did that person know I was coming and had this in my brain.  That exact thought can happen over and over again, filling up our seats on Sunday. After all isn’t that what the goal is?  To seek and save the lost.  It’s time to add some personal value. NO OTHER CHURCH IS FOCUSED ON THIS TYPE OF UNITY, THIS TYPE OF VALUE.   Why should one person be in charge of the website?  One person cannot tell everyone’s story, I can’t capture it or relate anyone else’s personal timeline or impacting moments like you can.  Don’t just sit there, contribute.
I wrote an article years back about how to give a communion message.  It was meant to be a reference tool, to give an outline of effectively communicating a communion message. Guess what, it ranks on page one of Google.  If anyone ever is looking for a communion reference they are going to see it, and if they are looking for something specific or are moved by a sentence or two they will click around the site.  AND THAT IS THE GOAL.  Now I will say this, how to give a communion message is not a powerful topic and title that will draw you in and inspire you to explore the site, but your story is!  It will work for God, it will unify, it will inspire people to visit, it will inspire other members to make their own or put a twist on an idea.  And the next thing that happens....Unity. All of us working together, that, is never ignored by the creator. Let me say this, we have had actual visitors come to church and get baptized from our website presence. And that is from the boring home page and calendar of events that basically inspires no one to action.  Your story will motivate people forever, forever is history, history is powerful.  Stop consuming.

One more thing about the website, you may notice on our about us section a number of links to subjects that people may want to read.  There are some good subjects, some controversial subjects that may or may not get people’s attention.  Baptism is always a hot topic, someone always asks about it and people love to argue about it. So is the topic of sin and Bible study.  So instead we have been publishing articles that last forever and that can be promoted. People who may not want to take the step of coming to visit will read what our churches beliefs are.  We need to get away from the “selfie promotion” technique of sharing. We assume that people will want to come to our church or our event because it’s OUR event and that we are excited about it.  Guess what, most people don’t care about your church, your new series, your game night or your fill in the blank.  Our messages are self centered, they are really about us instead of about adding value. It’s one of the reasons why churches are ignored today, we have not taken the time to figure out what impacts people.

Let people get impacted by fulfilling their needs, by figuring out that there is someone else that feels or felt the same way.  People deep down want to belong, they don’t give a rip about a group picture or a picture of an event.  They want to be given too.  That is what Jesus was excellent at, giving to people.  Going to places and changing peoples lives by adding value.  The sooner we all work together the sooner we will realize collectively that we can change and be unified.

Here are some topics or ideas we can use on the site:

  • A simple testimonial, either written or videoed
  • Your life story, and why you became a disciple
  • A failure that you overcame
  • A welcome video
  • An in-depth article about anything spiritual
  • Your quiet time outline ( this should generate tons of content right?)
  • If you speak on stage, your bullet points or outline
  • Video interview of the kids
  • Anything in your native language (not English) that will “speak or influence” them. It could be a cultural theme
  • Links to great spiritual articles

So maybe you are not feeling the website idea as a way that you can add value, there are other ideas.

Starting a small group and posting it on our app.  One of our members Brian came up with a brothers breakfast idea to meet once a month.  He asked me if I liked the idea.  My response was, “I eat breakfast”. Of course I like the idea, it’s food, coffee and fellowship.  There is no hidden agenda, we just talk and let the conversation steer itself. We always sit in the same spot at the Cracker Barrel and even after week 1, our waitress said there was something different and very interesting about us.  If you been around you know a opportunity statement when you hear one.  But the point is not evangelism the point is adding value to each other’s lives, evangelism is the by-product.  It’s a conversation mindset that leads to conversion, not the other way around. (see lesson 2)

  • How about writing a quiet time for someone else, or reconstituting one that impacted you.
  • Create a unique prayer list by actually asking members what you want them to pray for instead of a generalized prayer

Stop sitting in the back.  Why do I say this?  Because someone that is visiting for the first time is not naturally going to come in and work their way to the front or even the middle of the room.  They are naturally wary and want to keep on the down low until they are comfortable. But those seats are taken by members who are ____________.  Go ahead fill in the blank, I guarantee the answer will not be unifying.
  • Become a kingdom kids teacher. Nothing is more noble or satisfying that teaching your children about God. Go ahead and ask some teen disciples that were in kingdom kids, you make an impact on their lives. Give the Kingdom kids leaders a breath of fresh air by actually “wanting to serve”. It’s so hard to get people to serve in this capacity for some reason and it’s wrong.
  • Organize an outdoor event. We have this amazing corner lot with lots of traffic. Having a flea market or yard sale type event is an easy way to meet people and also to raise money for a project. But do not just throw it together, advertise it.  Ask the board to run and ad or your evangelist to support it as something fun.  Car washes are effective as well and we have had two, in seven years. That is pitiful.
  • Make something to eat for the kitchen. Why does one or two people have to do all the work?  And when I say make I don’t mean buy.  I can buy something from Publix just like the next guy, but if you make something from scratch, it’s noticed.
  • Create a babysitting coupon and serve a family that needs a date night out.

God’s plan is that “the whole body” is to be “joined and held together by every supporting ligament” (Eph. 4: 16). Total body function is absolutely essential if a local church is to become unified.