Prior to planting a church, I worked in an established church for 13 years. As those 13 years progressed, I had a very clear list in my head of things I would want to take to a new church and things I would never do again.
Since being a lead pastor, God has made a few edits to that list. For instance, I used to set up chairs for an assembly once each quarter. As a result of these labors, I decided I would never be in a position of setting up chairs again. Leading a church plant wrecked that plan because we have been setting up chairs each week for nearly 2 years with no end in sight.
Another example is holiday barbecues with the church. I said I would never coordinate anything like this, did it once, and now this tradition continues. I really enjoy getting to spend this informal time with my church family.
The most recent and impactful change to my guidelines came this past December. The second weekend of the month marked our highest attended Sunday ever in the 2 year history of our church plant with 255 people. What did we do to bring about this sudden spike in attendance? A Kids Christmas Musical.
As a staff member at an established church, I thought this program was a cheesy, predictable event we did every year. What I didn’t understand at the time, though, was the opportunity that was hidden with the occasion.
That Sunday kids age 2 to 10 sang songs and performed a short drama, and we were able to preach the gospel to many friends and family members of our attendees. It also allowed me the opportunity to repent of my preconceived notion of Kids Christmas Musicals. Lastly, God prepared me to be more open to things we are not currently doing that is limiting the furtherance of the gospel in our community.
I hope my nearly missed opportunity causes you to think outside of your ideology and level of comfort as you plan your outreaches. Don’t be afraid to try something new, to try something old, and to try things you said you would never do. Learn from my lesson because we are all here due to our belief in reaching people that need to hear about Jesus.