Moving from Maintenance to Movement in this Season with Van Vandegriff

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. This week we’re talking with Van Vandegriff, lead pastor at Cedarcrest Church in Acworth, Georgia. Van is talking with us today about dealing with COVID and helping people at the church to shift out of neutral and reengage with the mission of the church.

  • Reengage with the mission. // When the church reopened in 2020 after the quarantine in Georgia, Van found that people had formed new habits. Some people preferred staying home and watching the service online rather than gathering in the church building. Others had slid into neutral in their faith. But the number one thing isn’t having people in a seat at church on Sunday mornings, rather it’s helping people follow Jesus. Cedarcrest decided that leading people to reengage with the mission, instead of getting people inside the church, was the thing to focus on.
  • Pay attention to needs. // One of the ways Cedarcrest helped its people to reengage with the mission was by paying attention to the needs in the community around them. Right across from the church is a community of under-resourced families who could not afford laptops or even things like internet. When schools closed down in 2020 and met online, Cedarcrest opened its doors and provided a place for the children to come and attend classes online. Volunteers from the church helped the kids connect with their teachers on laptops provided by the church and even held P.E. classes, playing games of kickball during the school day. This outreach was a huge success for the children nearby, introduced their families to the church, and Cedarcrest’s people came alive as they were invited to live on mission.
  • Join God in his work. // Van and his staff started to really pay attention to what God was already doing in their communities so that they could join him in his work. This led to them taking church out to the neighborhoods around them during the month of July. Each Sunday they showed up in a different neighborhood with musicians, speakers, bounce houses for the kids, and food to grill. Being willing to take this risk opened the way for Cedarcrest to meet lots of new people and get them connected to the church.
  • Using giveaways. // Giveaways can get people’s attention, so the church held one for various prizes at their outdoor summer services. This incentive allowed them to collect people’s information with their permission, and then the church could reach out to those people in the future.
  • Next steps tent. // At their Summer in the Suburbs events, Cedarcrest Church saw at least four times the normal number of first time guests. Cedarcrest set up a next step tent at their outdoor services which provided information on what people could do in their next step toward Christ, how to get connected at the church, and what activities are available for kids. Even if people don’t take their next step immediately, Cedarcrest hopes it will point them to God down the road.

You can learn more about Cedarcrest Church at cedarcrestchurch.com and connect with Van on Instagram @vanvandegriff.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: CDF Capital

Since 1953, CDF Capital has helped Christians and churches embrace their part in this story by providing the 3 kinds of capital every congregation needs for growth—Financial Capital, Leadership Capital, and Spiritual Capital. CDF Capital’s XP Summit Cohorts provide an exclusive, year-long experience that brings together hand-selected global ministry leaders and your peers in an intimate, small-group setting. Visit http://cdf.capital/UnCohort to learn more and enroll today!

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.