First, it’s a strategy focused on getting believers re-focused on the Great Commission in their community. Most churches—including those started with an outward focus—eventually turn inward. This strategy seeks to reverse that direction in a simple way.
Second, it’s pastor-led. That’s not to say, though, that laypersons aren’t involved and invested; in fact, the laity involved will far outnumber the pastors—and that’s one of the goals. It’s simply to say that a strong, intentional Great Commission focus begins with pastors.
Third, it fits in a pastor’s daily work. It doesn’t require a pastor to add stuff to an already-full plate. Pastors only need to recruit a few members, lead them, and encourage them for 30 days—days that we pray will lead to ongoing change in the DNA and culture of the church.
Fourth, it’s basic, simple, and reproducible. In our beta testing of this strategy, pastors and laity have said to us, “This approach just leads me to do what I should have been doing in the first place.” Following 30-days of daily steps described in Thom Rainer’s book, Pray & Go, The Hope Initiative takes believers to the Word, to their knees, and into their community.
Fifth, it doesn’t require a lot of training. In fact, one meeting to describe the process can get participants ready to go. We know that the more complex the process is, the less likely it is that many people will get on board—and the Great Commission is too important to let complexity get in the way of obedience.
Sixth, it’s an ongoing process. Even after church members have completed the 30 days, our Church Answers team will send them a weekly email for the next eleven months giving them more practical ways to do the Great Commission. Our goal is that the 30 days will be only a “jump start” for a church.
Seventh, it’s filled with hope. It really is. Rather than focus on the many ways churches need to improve, this strategy focuses on turning a few believers outward—and, in my judgment, any pastor will find renewed hope when even a few members move in the right direction.
Posted on May 9, 2023
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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