13 10 2013

800px-Change1BY STEVE DUNN

Many churches subscribe the concept that they need to be building redemptive relationships with the unchurched in their community.  Whether it is out a church growth motivation – more people to carry out the church’s mission; or evangelistic passion–lost people matter to God, they make commitments and plans to build bridges out into the community to connect with those who are in the area of mission.

But there is a price to building such bridges.  It is a change in the church itself.  Not only will there be new people to deal with and new needs to be met; but churches will find that they must make some significant shifts in their culture and they way they do ministry if they are truly to reach people who up until now have note given them the time of day.

In our work with these churches, especially those who are  successful in truly reaching their unchurched neighbors, here are some of the changes that occur:

 Maintenance to Mission

Inward-focus to outward-focused

Gaining decisions to making disciples

Members of an organization to disciples of the Risen Lord

Attractional to incarnational

Safe to sacrificial servants

Clergy-focused to the Priesthood of All Believers

Tasks and Jobs to Spiritual Gifts

One day a week to 24/7

Going to church to being the church

Human led to Holy Spirit led

Is there anything on that list that troubles you?  Is there anything on that listen that might create conflict in your church?  The answer to the last question is, “EVERYTHING on the list.”

What are your thoughts on these changes?

This list comes from THE BRIDGBUILDERS PRINCIPLE by Stephen L Dunn (C) 2013


5 10 2013
BRIDGEBUILDERS - Building bridges to the Bridge

BRIDGEBUILDERS – Building bridges to the Bridge

Coming to Last Days World Outreach – Hillsborough, North Carolina

October 20, 2013

Dr. Steve Dunn and Bridgebuilders Ministry
will share with us three messages on
reaching our unchurched neighbors in these Last Days

“Listening to the Holy Spirit to Understand
the Needs and Dreams of Our Neighbors”

“Learning to Tell Your Story”

And during the Sunday Service
“The Word Becomes Flesh and Moves Into the Neighborhood”

Bishop Victor Glover will be the host.  Then on October 21, 2013 Bridgebuilders will be providing a ministry of encouragement and equipping to Epic Church in Bluffton SC, Pastor Sabrina Bragg.



3 10 2013

Carey Nieuwhof provides some of the best insights on reaching the unchurched, or in this case, not reaching them. We have added a permanent link to his blog on our blogroll. – STEVE

Almost every leader I know says they want their church to grow.

And almost all of them say they want much of that growth to come from people who don’t go to church.

But precious few churches see real traction in this area.

why churches aren’t growing

Most churches aren’t growing, and even the ones that are sometimes experience a majority of their spike from transfer growth rather than from previously unchurched people.

So why don’t churches who say they want to reach unchurched people actually reach unchurched people?

Here are 7 frequent reasons:

1. Your desire to reach unchurched people is an intention, not a strategy. You’re basically doing what you’ve always been doing and hoping for different results. Wanting people to attend and creating a church unchurched people love to attend are two very different things. If you haven’t made radical changes to how you do church, don’t expect radically different results.

2. You’ve ended up in No-Man’s Land by trying to please everyone. Your church is too contemporary to make insiders happy and your approach is still too dated, irrelevant and unengaging to capture the imagination of unchurched people. You’ve made as many changes as you think you can navigate without alienating your existing membership, but not brought about nearly enough change to really engage outsiders. You are in no-man’s land. In an attempt to please everyone, you have pleased no one.

3. Your real vision is about you. On the wall, your vision is about Jesus, the Kingdom and the world, but down the hall your reality about how to keep Mr X from writing yet another angry letter and how to appease Ms X who says your church just isn’t deep enough. You say it’s about others, but you spend all your time on insiders. Keep that up, and no matter what your mission and vision say, your church will have a vision no bigger than its (contentious) members.

4. Your people don’t know any unchurched people. This can be a real problem. How can people who attend your church invite unchurched people if they don’t know any? One of the ways we combat that where I serve at Connexus (where 60% of our growth is from unchurched people) is to offer very little mid week programming—mostly just community groups for people to gather in at most one night a week. We want people to be at home and be a family, invite friends over, get to know their neighbours, play on community sports teams and love the cities and communities they live in. It’s a lot easier to invite unchurched friends to church when you have some. Most churches keep their ‘salt’ inside the box…it never actually touches any food.

5. You speak insider. If unchurched people show up, you confuse them by the way you speak. If they have to learn code to understand what people in the hall way are saying (We were blessed by great fellowship the other day) or what’s being said from the front (sanctification is a process of regeneration led by the Holy Spirit), they’ll leave. Talk like normal people. Be clear. Remember, being unclear does not make you deep. It just makes you unclear.

6. You judge them. If you start reaching unchurched people they’re going to look like, well, unchurched people. Their lifestyle will be different. Sex won’t just be for married people. You’ll deal with addictions, family break down, competing ideas about who God is and much more. Stop judging. Start loving. Very few people get judged into life change; many of us get loved into life change. Start with judgment and they’re gone. And apparently, Jesus will be upset too.

7. You’re not sure what to do with them when they get there. You have no clear steps. No environments designed with new people in mind. You don’t know how to engage their questions, to journey with them. Even if they come, they probably won’t stick around if you can’t lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That’s what I’ve seen as I’ve talked with many churches and church leaders. And those are things we constantly guard against at Connexus.

How about you? Would you add anything to the list?
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