We Can Do More Together – Joseph Sojourner – @iAmSojourner
“We can do more together.” As you look at those words see more.
We – plural. We weren’t made to go through life by ourselves.
Can – positivity. Mindset and perspective where I won’t let my hope be robbed. I have all I need in Christ who strengthens me.
Do – practical. We need action steps. We need a plan and a strategy. Let’s set that plan into action.
More – potential. What we see all around us when we look into the eyes of a student. Use your voice. You can do so much more then you see.
Together – partnership. You don’t have to look like me or believe what I believe but we can still build something together to make the world better.
Look what we can do when we are holding each other accountable. Will you fight for the people that God placed in your life? In a cruel world that wants to isolate us and make us take sides, know that we found love and can do more together. Maybe you can do more together.
We can do more together when we act like the future is now – Danielle Strickland – @djstrickland
Out of the chaos of creation, God begins to speak. Lean into the chaos. Jesus wants to speak in this spot, in this mess of a world that we live in, to bring beauty.
Marching through blood ally to string quartet music. We’re getting married, want to come? There’s a wedding and we’re invited.
Talking with the guy in the dumpster and wanting him to know a couple of things.
1. This is real. It was really happening.
2. He was still invited. The reception wasn’t done.
You know who is never invited to the wedding, that guy. It wasn’t too late and he was an invited guest to the wedding.
When the church started there were no longer these great divides but doing life together and it was a sign or wonder for the people. From every tribe, every tongue, and every language. God has a plan for this world that will unite the world where we will realize we are better together. It’s for real, and you’re invited.
Jesus is knocking on your dumpster and saying this is real. What God’s plan is for the world…is real. The question is, “How are you going to get out of the dumpster?”
If we really believed that Jesus was Lord and His Kingdom will come then we don’t have to reach into the past, we can reach into the future. We can pull that future into the present. We can live that dream right now in real life. If the future, our future with Jesus looks like every tribe, tongue, and gender. What would happen if we lived it now? What would happen if we were the people who climbed out of the dumpster of fear, comfort, and apathy?
We can do more together when we act like the next generation is watching – Reggie Joiner – @reggiejoiner
There is a generation watching you. There best chance to determine if this is really real is how you live this out. How we work together will change how a generation sees God.
In the story of Nehemiah, the people lived in those conditions so long that they didn’t see the conditions they were living in anymore. They lived in those conditions so long that they could not imagine how anything would ever change.
We don’t want a generation sitting in the ruins of your community. Nehemiah was bothered by the generation not taking it seriously and becoming so disillusioned.
If God is so amazing then why don’t we stop talking about it and do something?
A great place to start is to simply name what’s broken. If we can’t name the problem, we can’t fix the problem.
Nehemiah called out the security and vulnerability of the city. Don’t be in denial mode. About the public schools, the worst part of the community.
You don’t have influence when you’re right about what you believe. You have influence when you care about people. When any church ignores what’s broken in their community, they foreign their right to have influence with their community.
Nehemiah prayed and admitted the problems and said please help me God because here I go.
Decide to do something.
“I was cupbearer to the King.”
He was admiring what he was not. He was not a priest or spiritual leader of Jerusalem but just to make the king happy.
You aren’t responsible for a generation’s view of God because you are a pastor but because you are God’s people. You don’t have influence because you are right. You have influence because you care. Volunteers, this isn’t your job, you’re just a cupbearer. Leverage what you have so a generation can know God.
Go see for yourself!
Nehemiah leveraged what he had and put it at risk and then he did something. If you’re going to understand the situation you’ve got to go see it for yourself. Drive around town and see what the problem is. When you go see for yourself, it changes everything. Get up close and personal with the situation.
Build the church by pushing other people into the spotlight and not on a personality. When the “personality” leaves the student ministry unravels. If I don’t get up close and personal, if I don’t show up, then I won’t be the right kind of leader. If I go there, I will have a better understanding and people will follow me. Where are you going to see for yourself?
“Proximity always changes your perspective. The closer you get, the better you can see.” – Reggie Joiner
If enough churches get close enough, to the marginalized it would change the way we do what we do. If we get close enough we get bothered enough. If you get close enough, this won’t be babysitting. There will be a relationship and you will care when they aren’t there. Everything changes when you get close enough. Invite a generation of leaders who have been sitting on the sidelines to begin doing something about the problem. Don’t measure success by how many people show up but by how many people are engaged on the frontlines.
Give every kid an adult who will show them who Jesus is.
If we can get a consistent leader in the lives of the kids in this town, it will change this town. If we try we will reach a greater impact on the communities.
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17 NIV
Do something you don’t know how to do.
If you’re going to work together you are going to be asked to do things you don’t know how to do.
How we work together will send a message to a generation that is watching. We are living in a very unique time and sometimes we need to recognize that in this story all that was required was for people to roll up their selves and accomplish something.
No spiritual assessment test. They just did what needed to be done because that was the calling. Because of the risk of not doing the world. What you do, when you get on the front lines with kids and teenagers, is the most important job on the planet.
Everyone that Nehemiah needed to do the work that needed to be done were already in the town. They just needed clarity, vision and a reminder as to what was at stake. Maybe there are people around you who with a little clarity will show up.
Stop Recruiting Start Retaining – Darren Kizer – @darrenkizer
The vision for ministry has often outpaced the staffing. Maybe the issue isn’t the teams but that I don’t know what I’m doing. Begin to dream and ask, “What if you didn’t have to recruit?”
In every organization there is a pocket that has more volunteers then they need. There is a culture where their volunteers are recruiting their volunteers. Focus on making sure they get what they need to make it happen.
There’s something better than just trying to survive Sunday and then there’s something better than the Saturday night texts.
4 Stages Of A Makeover
Stage 1 Makeover: Foundation of Four Before
Excellence – Excellence in how you interact with people. The resources there for them. Without excellence, you will always struggle to have volunteers. You have to say, “I”m going to ensure that their experience will be one of excellence.” Do the absolute best with what you have. If you said you would do something then you did it. Their role is what you said it would be.
Mission – We have the most important mission, changing lives for eternity. The further they are from the conversation, the more you have to remind them of the mission. If in the parking lot they need more reminders. If they come on Tuesday afternoon, they will have a hard time connecting. Link the mission to what they did.
Appreciation – People don’t necessarily want appreciation events and stuff but to be appreciated. With volunteer appreciation Did you love them or do a tactic to keep them.
Invitation – If you expect volunteers to volunteer you will be disappointed. It’s not their job to sign up. They should be servant leaders but we can’t just put that on them. It’s not, “how come they’re not” it’s our job to show what needs to be done. From the pulpit, they will do their time but then feel like they don’t have to. Don’t play the guilt card.
Stage 2 Makeover: Stop Recruiting…Start Retaining – Darren Kizer – @darrenkizer
What we need is a shift in our focus. Don’t forget about the crew. If it depends on me to do this, then we will be limited. Make sure the culture of volunteerism is something they are running towards and want to be a part of it.
Restaurant – If you have a great experience, you might invite someone to it. If a bad experience then they will tell people not to go there. Inside your organization, there is a conversation going on about volunteering. We have to get our culture to a place where volunteers love it and want to bring a friend. You are the best volunteers I know and you probably have some awesome friends. Who can I help you talk to about coming with you and getting on board? I’m having a great time and the two of us doing this together would make it even more amazing.
Celebrate their Significance – What they do matters. Give up a possible volunteer for the individual and the church if it’s a better fit.
Provide First-Class Support – The resources are there to do the job you asked for them to do. Their small group materials, their place to meet, and their communication pieces. Sending materials out the day of is not giving the resources early enough. Professionals will leave because they would treat others better. Equipment should work. Supplies should be there.
Fuel Meaningful Connections – Biggest bump the quickest and cheapest. An unspoken social contract that when I volunteer for you, I will get a new friend. Meet people, they will be kind, and I’ll get a new relationship. If after 2-3 experiences they didn’t get a new friend then you didn’t keep your word. Lean into this. Volunteers gather in a clump and talk because they want a relationship (or they’re scared). Tweak how you are doing things so they are meeting people and having a relationship.
Empower Their Passions – Help people grow and move. Not serving in one spot for ten years but what’s the felt need in their life that their volunteerism can help. When volunteering for you they will win at home and win at work. Equip them with tools and techniques to win.
Stage 3 Makeover: The Volunteer Question – “Is it worth it?”
If it doesn’t feel worth it, they will do their time but then they are gone. As a leader, help them answer that question, “yes.” The event that you want them to be at better be worth it. They said no to something else to say yes to you. In saying yes to you they will later be asking the question, is it worth it? Be ready to share stories. Understand the win. How it connects to the whole. Let them know that what they gave up for this is so worth it.
Stage 4 Makeover: Lead So Small Groups Win
Evaluate and prioritize things so small groups win. Yes, we need someone in the parking lot, but it’s so that small groups win. Small group leaders aren’t more important but the small group winning is more important. Move resources and vision cast with this end in mind. What do they need? What is keeping them from winning? When the small group wins, communicate it through all the layers so that they know how they helped the small group win.
We can do more together – Jeff Henderson – @JeffHenderson
Volunteerism is everything. How do we raise the bar?
If you don’t have thriving volunteers, you really don’t have a thriving church.
“Digical” – marrying the digital and physical world together to help volunteers win.
We saw you winning and we want to show you that you are winning.
We didn’t sign up for easy, we signed up for worthwhile.
We Can Do More Together When We Help Parents Win – Kara Powell – @KPowellFYI
Does your church help parents win or does it help parents help your church win?
When we look at parents do we see them as Checkbooks, Chauffeur, Chaperones?
If we looked at your phone to see the last 3 times that you messaged a parent was it for something you needed or something you thought they needed?
You don’t have to like every parent for every parent to have more influence than you. Guardians, step-parents, foster parents, incarcerated parents, divorced parents, non-tithing parents, Pinterest perfect and Pinterest failing parents. Every parent.
Parents, we can’t out teach what you teach at home, we’re not that good. The best way to see kids win is to help parents win. When parents win, kids win. So let’s help parents win.
I have such a great hope for what God can do through God’s people. The typical church in the US is shrinking or aging. Growing young church prioritize young people and families.
When parents win, the church wins.
Would you like a free resource that you can have access to right now for parent ministry: Text “Talk” to 66866
Parents will have more influence than you because…
Parents will know more than you’ll ever know.
Parents will have more time than you’ll ever have.
Parents will be in their kids’ futures when you’re not.
If you want to help parents win, you have to care about what parents care about. Kristen Ivey – @Kristen_Ivy
Sometimes if you’re not in the world of parenting, it’s easy to get focused on your ministry and forget the everyday reality that parents are living in.
The Top 10 Issues Parents Care About:
1. Bullying/cyberbullying (61%)
2. Not enough exercise (60%)
3. Unhealthy eating (57%)
4. Drug abuse (56%)
5. Internet safety (55%)
6. Child abuse and neglect (53%)
7. Suicide (45%)
8. Depression (44%)
9. Teen pregnancy (43%)
10. Stress (43%)
All of these concerns really have one thing in common: Their kids future. Every parent cares about a kid’s future.
Parents care about education. The right school, the right teacher, and the right learning.
Parents care about activities. Not wanting something else to do on Sunday but because they understand their kids will learn something in sports that they will not learn anywhere else. Perseverance, discipline, teamwork, develop a passion.
Parents care about relationships. That they have a friend and are not alone. That they will have good relationships.
Parents care about finances. That their kids will know how to deal with money and will get a good future job.
It’s not that parents are apathetic and don’t care about their kids, it’s that they are focused on other things. It’s not that they don’t value church it’s that they don’t see how the church will contribute to their kids future. Is church as important as the pastor says it is?
Church leaders care about a kids faith. They are focused on what matters most, the gospel and will unintentionally send a message that we are about the gospel and you guys take care of everything else. We care about their faith and one book and you get everything else. We take what’s spiritual and separate it from every other day of the week in a kids life.
When we separate what happens in the church from what happens at home…we minimize the potential of what the church and home can do together.
When we separate what happens in the church from what happens at home…we undermine the potential of faith to intersect a kid’s everyday life.
It’s our job as a church to begin caring about what parents care about. Take what is spiritual and help it to connect with everything else.
You have to leverage a parent’s concern about their children’s future, to position them as champions for their kid’s faith.
Leverage the family to become the champion. – Reggie Joiner – @reggiejoiner
In Nehemiah, the people began to get tired and now they hear the rumors that there is going to be an attack and all the work they are doing is at risk. How do we get going in the right direction?
Nehemiah 4:13 “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.”
Leverage the family to become the champion. The vision became personal.
When you make parents the champion…it increases the odds for the child.
No one has the potential to be a champion for a child’s faith, like the parent who cares about that child’s future. Nehemiah believed in the parents enough, he wanted them to be the champion of the story. The enemy decided not to attach. Why? Because they saw moms and dads standing in the gaps for their sons and daughters.
When you make parents the champion…it builds trust with the parents.
When you make parents the champion…it improved relationships in the home.
If parents can’t explain your strategy, then parents aren’t doing it.
We want to help every parent become more intentional at home and come connected to a community of faith.
The parents who did show up where the parents who didn’t even need it. We program to engage those who are already engaged. Make the disengaged parent the champion.
Doing programs for parents who already come is not enough. Figuring out how to engage the disengaged parents is where we need to focus. Make parents the champion and change the story.
Growing Your Church Through Family Ministry – Jeff Henderson – @JeffHenderson
What has changed in the church was that before family ministry was secondary to adult ministry. This is one of the best times to be in family ministry.
Plant a thriving growing healthy community. One of the best ways to grow the church is through family ministry.
Elementary kids can’t drive themselves to kids. When kids get parents excited about waking up for the church, this is a game changer for the church and the family. You create wonderful environments for children.
2 questions for your team to wrestle with.
1. What do we want to be known for?
This is our vision. When people in the community talk about us, this is what they say. It can’t be two or three sentences long.
Coming Soon Gwinnett Church. Jeff didn’t want the sign to immediately make people feel like they didn’t belong. He wanted something broad enough to let people know what they were for and that they could be a part of it. They decided on #ForGwinnett
2. What are you known for?
When these two questions line up you begin to grow. You create a sales force for free. You get positive word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is still the most effective and powerful form of marketing. People are experiencing your vision and when you deliver on that vision people talk about it and it grows.
When there is a gap between what you want to be known for and what you are known for you feel a tension. Not talking about perfection, just trying to shrink the gap.
Not just ministry globally but ministry specifically.
Middle school ministry example: We want to be known for giving students an opportunity to have a faith of their own. Are middle school students experiencing that?
For High School: We want to be known as the best night of the week.
What do we want to be known for with “the parents” “the elementary kids” “the community.”
Eat More Chicken. You have no idea how long it took CFA to come up with these 3 little words. This is hard work. Carve out time to think through this.
Be for the customer. How do you define the customer? The student, the volunteer, the parent? Be focused on what the customer wants.
On most businesses and social media, the past 10 posts are most likely about what is happening inside the walls of the business. For Gwinnett church, they always post about the customer and the community as well as the church. If a business was a person, most businesses would be considered a narcissist. Customers are far to savvy for that. We’re better than them and we are only concerned about ourselves. Our vision should be that we are for you, we can help you. When was the last time you liked a volunteers Instagram post? When did you comment on their stuff? Not monologue but a dialogue. Be more engaged with them than talking about yourself.
In UpStreet they are talking about self-control. Not just talking about what the pastor is talking about, but talk about what is happening in the children’s ministry. Most emails strategies for the church are terrible or non-existent. One of the best things you can do to grow the church is to grow the email list by adding value to your email subscribers. Lean more into email than social media. Just a couple weeks ago Facebook changed their algorithms. When you hit post you think it’s going to everyone but now it’s going to very few people. Facebook and Instagram can’t change your email algorithm.
Church email is not to inform, inform, inform.
What is your current open rate?
What is the click rate?
If you grow your email open rates you will grow your church attendance, especially if you talk about family ministry.
Starting next week, emailing UpStreet. Parents, if you want your kids to have more self-control this week, try this….. and in October we will be talking about this in UpStreet. (And for more on self-control join us at Gwinnett church. Send emails with value, send an email with value, send an email with value and then a request. Will you forward this email to someone who this would be helpful too?
Most family ministries are underfunded. Most churches only have one person who wakes up in the morning thinking about the church’s finances and that’s the lead pastor. What can I, the kid’s pastor, do to come alongside you to help fund this vision? The kid’s pastor can give stories.
Most offering moments are a huge opportunity to leverage stories of ministry.
My responsibility in fundraising is to make the ask. Their responsibility is to make the answer.
For the community, we need to have an outward focus. Try Facebook advertising experiment. A few weeks ahead, target families in your community. Give families helpful resources. We want to be known for helpful content that encourages their kids and helps them be a champion. Do this for people in your community, whether you do this or not. Highlight and feature people in the community who are making a difference even if they don’t attend your church. This is adding value.
One of the most important things you can do for you is to stay inspired. Remain inspired. How rested are you? Are you maintaining a sustainable pace? How are your relationships? Do you have someone who has the type of relationship where they could call your spouse to see how you’re really doing? How are you letting the Gospel be for you first? It’s okay to be tired, it’s not okay to be exhausted and burned out.
We can do more together with Lee Jenkins, Sam Collier, and Reggie Joiner – @LeeAllenJenkins – @SamCollier – @reggiejoiner
Racial Issues were always at the forefront of everyday life. It’s always been there, just now we have social media. Been more discouraged about racial unity in the past 3-4 years then he has ever been. At the time of discouragement, God brought people into his life so he knew he didn’t have to do this alone.
We are called to bear each others burdens.
The systemic issue today. Still followed around in a beauty supply store or a proximately white restaurant.
The perspective changes everything. Proximity changes everything. Made to feel like family immediately. A radar for social justice issues.
What can the white church learn from the black church?
Our theology is deeply connected to our sociology.
Not just about heaven and sound good but connected to everyday life because historically everyday life has been difficult. Jesus is a deliverer. A burden bearer. Not just salvation but need Jesus every day of our life. Collectively this is in a different way for the black church.
It seems like every message comes back to hope. That we are a light for the generation. That Jesus should be a part of the solution to the problems you are facing. You will hear about life’s issues. The way the gospel is preached is different.
Social justice is a Gospel Issue.
Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,”
Jesus stepped on this planet and cared for people in a social way. If you ever get accused of caring about the community in a way that you are compromising your belief, that’s a compliment. That looks like Jesus. Jesus stood up for women, the poor, the marginalized.
Most important is: Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself.
The white church has an issue with combining social justice and Biblical values. “Never Would Have Made It” social justice issues impact. The Gospel has to inform.
We have extraordinary churches and leaders that you can learn from. A lot of black people are coming into white spaces but not a lot of white people are coming into black spaces. They won’t come to our conferences and our churches. Black, Mexican, and Asian folks coming into the white environment but we need to see this go both ways. Not just minorities coming into a white environment but white people come into a black environment and appreciate the differences.
Check your phone, if you don’t have people that are different than you, you’re probably not growing as much as you need to and you aren’t understanding what God is calling you to.
When you are the majority culture you can stay within your comfort zone. You can live out your whole life without dealing with minorities. But as a ministry, you have to learn how to deal with the majority to be successful. You are missing out on humanity. You are missing out on what God created when you don’t have cross cultural and cross racial relationships. Not just on your platform but in your relationships. We really can make a difference together.
Nehemiah 6:3 NIV – “So I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”
Keep working together, regardless.
This isn’t your fault but it is your problem. We don’t think your racist, we just want to know if you’re anti-racist.
Treat each other with the right kind of respect.
Expect to see God. But not necessarily the God you expect.
The way you work together with other church and each other matters. What if the generation changes how they see God because they see how you treat each other.
It changed what those outside the walls believed about God.
Nehemiah 8:17 NIV – “The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.”
It changed how an entire generation listened to God.
Nehemiah 8:3 NIV – “He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”
Don’t get the order wrong. When this group of people worked together then people paid attention to what God said. After they started acting like the people of God then they listened up.
If you want this generation to listen, invite them to do something significant.