Welcome to today’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Senior Pastor Tony McVickers from RockFish Church in North Carolina.
RockFish Church is a multi-racial, multi-cultural church located near Fort Bragg and draws a large number of military members and families to its services. But this also means that RockFish Church has to grow by 25% every year just to stay the same size because so many of its attendees are constantly moving around to other parts of the country or world. As a result keeping the church engaged has been very important in order to continue reaching people.
Listen in as Tony shares some of the keys to increasing engagement at your church.
- Invite God into your work and decisions. // Because RockFish only has a percentage of their attendees for a short time before they move elsewhere or are deployed, they’ve had to learn how to be really agile and provide good resources to equip people in a brief time. While this can feel like a daunting task, it forces them to lean heavily on God. Remember we have access to the presence of God and through it receive wisdom and the ability to course correct when needed.
- Have a compelling purpose. // In a transient community you can’t assume the people at your services have been there before and that they know your mission or even the resources available. You need to have a compelling vision and continually communicate it. The “why” is powerful in shaping culture. Purpose produces passion and passion is what leads to action. Model purpose and lead by example; if the mission isn’t motivating you, it’s not going to motivate anybody else. Most of all remember that while you might get tired of communicating your purpose, you still have to keep it in front of your people all the time.
- Have obvious opportunities. // Obvious opportunities are ones that seek you out. They are felt needs and we need to be ready to respond to them. Help your people to make the missional paradigm shift to see needs as opportunities. Young people in particular are activists by nature. They want to do something and we have to be agile enough to be able to empower them. This can feel messy because we are giving up control, but when people are empowered to make a difference, it inspires even more people to to get involved.
- Have intentional preparation. // If someone has an idea for an outreach they wish to do with their small group or an event they want to hold, equip them to be able to get the word out quickly. Develop a system that will help ministry leaders with communication and put something in people’s hands that helps them move to action. Releasing control is not tidy so it’s important to prepare on the front end so you can be more agile on the back end. Be a forward thinker with good processes and people in place when launching new initiatives.
- Acknowledge the obstacles. // If a church hasn’t already been intentional about cultivating a creative culture, it will be difficult for them to be agile. Work to think outside the box and be open to new ideas. Be on guard against laziness, complacency and busyness which are enemies of engaging obvious opportunities and will create roadblocks.
- Get people engaged from home. // The situation with COVID may cause people to feel like they can no longer participate at church. Look for ways to empower people to do things from home such as putting up signs in their front yards that invite people to join them for church online. Even communion can be done at home. Keep the purpose front and center and remind people to look for obvious opportunities so the mission moves forward.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Portable Church Industries
Doing Church in a Rented Facility can be a Challenge.