"Church Appeal" – Influence Magazine

Church Appeal

by Chris Railey
 

Growing up in church, did you have to wear your “Sunday best”? For us guys, that probably meant slacks and a button-up shirt. For the unluckiest, it required a suit and tie. For girls and women, it may have meant a dress.

Many churches have opted for casual attire. That’s because we’ve found that a pair of jeans and an untucked polo shirt can help put people at ease who might not otherwise come to church. But there is one area in which we still need to bring our Sunday best.

When we talk about church, we mean a few different things. One of those is your building.

Your church’s facility will have the very first say to any and all visitors. When they see your sign from the road, pull into the parking lot, step through the door and find a seat in the sanctuary, they receive a multitude of messages about who you are and whether you care about them. All of that before one song is sung or one verse is read.

We hear a lot about curb appeal on HGTV or from real estate agents. It’s the way your house looks to those who come to visit. I want to introduce another term: church appeal. We can attract or repel people who have an interest in our church by how the building looks, feels and functions...

Church Planter Feature: Tim Walk

Walk Family.jpg

My name is Tim Walk and I’m the lead pastor of Canvas Church. We are a multi-ethnic, multi-generational church that meets in Westerville, Ohio, just north of Columbus. We are excited about the opportunity to minister in an ever-increasing unchurched area. As the values and demographics of the Mid-west continues to shift, we are excited about the opportunity to present and represent Jesus in a beautiful and relevant way.

Our mission at Canvas is simple, we want to REACH PEOPLE, REVEAL JESUS AND REPLICATE DISCIPLES. We have seen people give their lives over to Jesus for the first time and become true disciples, re-arranging their life according to God’s will and Word. We are also seeing people who were burned by religion give church and more importantly Jesus another try. They are slowly re-engaging and finding the fulfillment they were originally hoping for as a Christ-follower. We would covet your prayers as we continue to REACH PEOPLE, REVEAL JESUS AND REPLICATE DISCIPLES in the Westerville and Central Ohio area.


Resources and Resourcefulness

by Tim Walk
 

Over the last three years I have had the opportunity to speak with many church planters. One of the reoccurring themes is the bargaining with God about the call to plant a church. It is amazing to see so many people who I admire and who have planted and launched very fruitful churches tell God, “I can’t do this.”

Have you done that? If you haven’t you probably will. I think all of us have told God that what He called us to simply cannot be done, at least it can’t be done by us. We have all disqualified ourselves in light of a calling to plant a church by the Almighty.

Many times, this disqualification is based on resources. I remember having my check list ready. These were the things needed by me from God before I launched a church. They included some financial provision for the ministry and my family as well as things I felt I needed before I could ever consider planting. I thought I needed a Bible degree, I thought I needed tenure as an associate or campus pastor since my entire professional ministry career was spent in youth ministry.

Even as I was in the launch process, my main concern was resources. We need to get more money, more people, more Facebook likes, etc. What I learned over the last few years is something I heard Tony Robbins once say, “The defining factor is never resources; it's resourcefulness.”

The defining factor to your or my success is not resources but resourcefulness. Before you begin to push back, let’s unpack this thought a bit more. How many things have we disqualified ourselves from because we lacked resources? Maybe you didn’t start that discipleship group because you lacked a leader, or that ministry because you lacked funding or that missions trip because you lacked the time. Resources are not the key to fruitful ministry, resourcefulness is.

First of all, I want you to recognize, that resources are not always an indication of God’s will.

God did not want 5,000 people to go hungry even though there was no food. God did not want to avoid paying the temple tax even though there didn’t seem to be any money handy. God didn’t want to leave the beggar at the gates called beautiful empty handed even though the apostles had neither silver or gold. Scripture is filled with examples when people lacked resources. This is not an indication of God’s will, but instead an opportunity to seek God. Before you scrap that crazy dream or hope in your heart, go to God. Konan Stephens says, “God, if it’s your will, it’s your bill.” If God has given you a passionate dream, don’t throw it away because what you think it takes to accomplish that dream is not in a ready to go, microwaved package.

A lack of resources is never the case with God.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, remember? He has what we need and more importantly, He is what we need. We don’t need more money, more people and more Facebook likes. We need more of God. We need more of His insights and His favor. God can call a 1,000 leaders to your church right now. He is the resource, He is the prize. It is easy in the midst of trying times to look past God for our resources. You can see Jesus’ frustration when crowds began following Him after He fed 5,000

“Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.'"

“Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'" (John 6:26-27; 35)

He is the prize. Seeking Him and asking Him for resources is a privilege of being in relationship with the Father.

Resources are a gift from God, resourcefulness is a development of character.

God does give us what we need.

“Every good gift comes from the Father of lights in whom there is no shifting shadow or variation.” (James 1:17)

God gives us good gifts, however the act of searching and creating develops our character. Many times I wished God could just download what I needed. I wish I could get the patience CD-Rom drive and then embody patience like I was in the Matrix. But you and I both know that’s not how it works. You and I must develop patience, trust in God, faithfulness, endurance. If our prayer life was just a conveyor belt of resources then we may have the church we want but possess the character that God doesn’t want. There are no shortcuts to character.

Resourcefulness creates a deeper dependency on God and His sufficiency.

I have a six-year-old son, a four-year-old daughter and a four-month-old son. I have a very special relationship with my youngest because he is absolutely dependent on me. He needs me to feed him, to change him, to help him sleep. My older kids need me a lot less. There is a special bond that is developed in that first year between parent and child, and part of it is dependency. If God has called us to a special work, wouldn’t He call us to a special relationship with Him too? Why would it surprise us that He would use resources as a way to spend more time with us? Of course He can give us what we need before we ask and many times He does. Sometimes, however, He uses what we want – resources – to give us what we need – intimacy.

No matter what stage of ministry you are in, I know that you need more resources. Maybe its enough money to make payroll, maybe its another building to launch another campus. Wherever you are, I want to encourage you to not neglect resourcefulness for resources.

"Leading Excellence" – Influence Magazine

Leading Excellence

by Chris Railey

The desire and drive for excellence is imbedded in our whole culture. We look for excellence everywhere. We use the word “excellent” to describe a great customer service experience. And we all want excellence from those we lead.

But what is excellence? It seems to be one of those buzzwords that is hard to explain but easy to understand. When it comes to service, we want excellence. You look for it when you need to take your car to the shop or when looking for a handyman to do repairs at your house. You want an excellent restaurant. You want your sports team to play with excellence.

What does it mean in a ministry setting? The first thing most people think of when we use the word “excellence” in church is perhaps an attractive website, a well-maintained facility or highly trained musicians. We may think of a staff that can produce quality results with minimal effort. Our mind may even go toward creative elements throughout the message or on social media.

All of those things may make up excellence in ministry, but they aren’t the main thing. They are results of a church that ministers with excellence. To get there, we need to have a grasp of what excellence means. It’s not enough to value excellence personally. We need to teach it and train it and model it for it to become part of the culture. And before we can do that, we need to verbalize what it is...

"Taking Initiative" – Influence Magazine

Taking Initiative

by Chris Railey

Navigating the stages of building culture is really about leading change in a way that allows you to move from tension to resolution. Trust and communication will cement the vision for your people, but initiative is what gets you through to the end goal.

Having a team that intuitively takes initiative is important to building a healthy culture. I’d rather people try and fail than never take the initiative at all. In the Parable of the Bags of Gold in Matthew 25, two of the servants worked hard, showing great initiative. But there was one who buried his gold, afraid of losing it. Of course, this servant lost out in the end because of his lack of initiative.

We’ve all had people on our team who bury their talent, make excuses or simply don’t try. They never took initiative and always waited for someone to tell them what to do. A healthy and strong culture has a team full of people who take initiative...

"Great Communication" – Influence Magazine

Great Communication

by Chris Railey

Last week, we looked at the role of trust in leading change. Communication is the second skill of building and shaping culture.

It’s a no-brainer that in leadership, ministry, and especially marriage, communication is essential in creating a healthy culture. But not many of us are great communicators.

We can be gifted teachers, anointed preachers or skilled speakers. Yet when it comes to organizational communication, we can drop the ball. Informal communication has to become more formal as your organization becomes more complex...

"A Matter of Trust" – Influence Magazine

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A Matter of Trust

by Chris Railey

In Part 1, last week, we started looking into how and why we need to build and shape culture. It’s the atmosphere that surrounds your church and empowers your vision. Without the right culture, you may never be able to set the right expectations or create the right environment for growth and change. But a healthy culture propels your vision.

Today, I want to talk about one component of culture that leaders must develop well in advance of building culture. That one component is trust. Cultivating trust with volunteers and staff makes it possible to go further, faster in developing culture...