Here are three ways you could increase the invite culture at your church:. Hopefully, your church is regularly launching new campuses. This provides an incredible opportunity to also see growth at your existing campuses.
Often when a new campus is opened, there is increased communication in the church about the new launch. Take advantage of all those opportunities! There are three or four days every year where you will see a spike in attendance at your campuses. Make sure that you encourage your people to invite their friends on these big days. These few weekends during the year represent a disproportionate opportunity to increase the invite culture at your campus. Understanding this opportunity and deploying a simple strategy to encourage your people to invite others will result in a huge bump in attendance over time.
In most churches, the two biggest days are Christmas and Easter.
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However, understanding what the third and fourth biggest days are for your church is important for you as a campus leader. The first thing you need to do is identify what those big days are. Find something to add to your services on these weekends that will draw interest. Add a photo booth to your Christmas Eve services and encourage your people to bring the entire family to take a picture at the service. Do an Easter egg hunt during your Easter weekend services and open up a special area for kids who bring friends to collect even more eggs from!
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The church is best understood as a local gathering of people making a difference in its community. People love being a part of a church that positively impacts the town or region in which they live. When you look at most of the fastest-growing multisite churches in the country, they regularly get people out of their seats and onto the streets to make a difference. These churches deeply believe in putting faith into action and mobilizing their people to make a difference in the community.
Community service days are great tools for growth because loving the people around us in a tangible manner is not only what we are called to do, but it builds connection. They are generally near the expanding edges of the city, within easy access from major highways, and quite often in the immediate proximity of other megachurches. The only exception to this suburban pattern are those older inner city established "First churches" of all ethnic varieties. There are many reasons why concentrations of megachurches exist in rapidly developing, suburban, Sunbelt metropolitan areas.
These suburban areas offer expansive, less expensive plots of land suitable for acres of parking lots and the multiple buildings that are needed to support a congregation of several thousand. Zoning regulations are often less restrictive than in established urban communities.
Most importantly, the suburbs provide a continuous influx of exactly the type of person attracted to megachurches -- consumer oriented, highly mobile, well-educated, middle class families. For the majority of megachurches, denominational affiliation is an insignificant matter. The church itself its size, pastor, programs, and reputation attracts adherents, not its denominational ties.
Consequently, almost one half of all megachurches are independent and nondenominational. In addition, many of the remaining churches are from denominations with a congregational polity which gives considerable freedom to individual churches. Nearly twenty percent of megachurches are Southern Baptist, while those associated with the Assemblies of God account for another nine percent.
Around ten percent of megachurches belong to moderate and liberal denominations. Another ten percent have ties with historically African American denominations. Actually, there are few overt differences between megachurches with denominational ties and those without them. Many of the large denominational congregations can be seen as functionally nondenominational Schaller ; Hadaway They have an appealing identity as a congregation, regardless of their ties to a denomination. These congregations often downplay their denominational connections by dropping reference to it from their name and literature.
Neither do they have need for the denomination's resources.
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If anything, the denomination benefits more from their presence and that of their gifted leaders Hadaway Gustav Niebuhr, writing for the New York Times, quoted one member of Walt Kallestad's Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Arizona who recounted a common experience of many megachurch members, "We probably came here for a year before we knew it was Lutheran" a:A If there is a common message shared by all megachurches, it is that they want to portray what they do as more vital than other congregations, somehow better than "ordinary" Christianity.
Megachurch pastors can often be heard commenting that they are "not just playing church. An overwhelming majority would be considered Evangelical, Charismatic, or Fundamentalist. Even the megachurches from moderate and liberal denominations often stand out as having a more conservative theology than do their counterparts Stevenson The ways they express this "serious Christianity," however, vary considerably. The content of the message and mission foci of individual megachurches are quite diverse. Nevertheless, when viewed as a whole, three general approaches can be seen as guiding the message and mission of megachurches.
Each of these orientations differs in relation to the congregation's style and world view, its implicit or explicit message, its architectural representation, and its sponsored ministries. These forms offer a similar message of "our church is an extraordinary religious expression," but they address this message to three different clientele bases in three distinctive ways.
The first orientation, labeled the "Nontraditional" approach, best characterizes those megachurches which attempt to attract religious "seekers" and the "unchurched. The explicit message of these congregations is "this is not your ordinary church. The goal of this approach is to create new religious forms, to remake the traditions, so they are acceptable and relevant to a modern person who had been turned off by traditional religion.
To accomplish that, the buildings of churches using this approach are quite ordinary looking, duplicating everyday structures such as office complexes, schools, warehouses.
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Inside these structures, persons are greeted by large lobbies with well-lighted signs, information booths, and often a mall-like court yard complete with refreshments. Their sanctuaries are usually spacious auditoriums, with comfortable theater seating, large stages, and a minimum of religious symbols.
The architecture of this orientation, "communicates a message - that religion is not a thing apart from daily life" Goldberger b1. The sermon, probably delivered from a clear plexiglass removable podium, conveys a biblical but practical, non-dogmatic, this-worldly message that also suggests religion should not be separate from daily life. Willow Creek Community Church, arguably the largest church in the country at present, epitomizes this form. The church's minister, Bill Hybels, characterized the intent of this approach in his neighborhood survey done prior to organizing the congregation.
He went door-to-door asking residents what they disliked about church and what they would want in a church. From this, he constructed a "user friendly" worship service with sermons oriented to practical life and devoid of appeals for money, religious jargon and "heavy guilt trips. The church's web site describes its efforts,. We may use up-to-date language, music and drama to communicate God's Word for today's culture, but our message is as old as the Bible itself.
We embrace historic Christian teachings on all doctrines, emphasizing Jesus Christ's atoning death, salvation through repentance and faith as a work of divine grace, and the authority of the unique, God-inspired Bible. Willow Creek "seeks to attract those who are probably uncomfortable in most churches" with its Sunday morning "seeker services" Robinson As Hybels himself stated, "We're on the verge of making kingdom history, doing things a new way for a whole new generation Willow Creek is not the only shape this nontraditional approach can take.
Crenshaw Christian Center, perhaps the largest sanctuary in the United States and one of the largest African American congregations, seats 10, in a huge geodesic "FaithDome" structure. This replica of a sports arena has a center stage platform with stadium seating degrees around. In Atlanta, a similar structure resembling the Houston Astrodome and seating , was recently completed for the World Changers ministry, also an African American congregation. The architectural style and approach must not only convey the message of the movement but also be sensitive and adaptable to the context in which it resides.
A different constituency requires a building which expresses the realities of their everyday lives. It is this effort which drives the second approach taken by some megachurches. This orientation, labeled "Conventional" can be found in most of the older "First Churches" that have grown to megachurch proportions. The approach is characterized by a retention of the images of traditional Protestant Christianity. This tradition is reconfigured, however. The implication is that this larger expression is not only more successful and more exciting, but it is more authentically Christian than other churches.
It is traditional Protestantism, but on a "mega" scale. This approach is most often seen in Southern Baptist churches and in urban established Mainline and liberal megachurches. The architecture of these massive churches is often either Neo-Gothic or Colonial, depending on the region of the country.
Christian symbols, steeples, spires, and columns adorn the exterior of the building. Upon entering the church, one is greeted by a traditional foyer, floral arrangements, and bulletin-bearing greeters in business suits. The sanctuary is often an exaggerated replica of a country church. A box shaped interior space contains long straight, uncomfortable wooden pews, hymnals, poor lighting, a crowded altar space, and many traditional symbols such as crosses, candles, descending doves, and stained glass windows.
The image these congregations want to portray is "This is your parents' religion, but bigger and better.
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Although these conventional congregations have been established for many years, a second generation of similar churches has recently appeared around the Atlanta area. Many of the growing Baptist congregations in the city's surrounding suburbs have intentionally adopted this traditional form. This form epitomizes religion in the South. By employing this style, these suburban churches are providing links to the past for their mobile and more cosmopolitan constituency Eiesland One such church, Rehoboth Baptist, reproduced the traditional southern red brick colonial church but at more than ten times "normal size.
But the leadership also wants the city to know, as their huge highway billboards and television programs announce, that they are "Atlanta's Exciting Metrochurch. A third less common approach chosen by some megachurches entails a blending of this conventional form with the nontraditional style. This "Composite" orientation attempts to retain some connection to traditional religion but also embraces modern architectural forms and a contemporary worship format.
The megachurches of this type often superimpose a traditional building facade onto a unconventional, "user-friendly" structure. The exterior, or at least the street exposure, of the church may appear "church-like," while the interior resembles a theater, with comfortable individual seating, state of the art sound and light system, and an adaptable performance stage.
This building often has both the conveniences of the nontraditional church building and the symbols and trappings of familiar Christianity. Worship may be an equally eclectic mix of hymns, jazz, and praise choruses, combined with liturgical readings and charismatic healing sessions. This congregation exemplifies this blended approach architecturally, with mixed results Goldberger B Even in its theology, it overtly attempts to retain an "orthodox" Christian tradition while at the same time embracing "new," "original," and "fresh revelations from God.
Another church using this style, First Baptist of Orlando, describes itself as "a unique blend of the historic and the contemporary. A second Florida congregation, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church led by James Kennedy, meets in a graceful white stucco building with a towering steeple.