Thanks for joining us for this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Jacob Burgei today from Fuel Church in Kokomo, Indiana.
Fuel Church launched in 2016 with about 85 people but as they began to understand the needs in their community, they quickly grew to become one of the fastest growing churches in the country. Jacob is with us today to share how a heart for broken people transformed the church.
- Focus on building the culture. // Fuel Church had humble beginnings and Jacob recalls that they didn’t grow much initially. It was only once they started to reinforce their culture over and over that people started to take notice. Fuel Church’s name is a reference to how we all need to be filled with certain things to keep going. And Fuel Church focused on two things specifically: grace for yesterday and hope for tomorrow. Rather than focusing on getting a certain number of people coming to services, Fuel Church used these two areas to begin to define how they could serve their community.
- Celebrate your wins. // People want to be a part of something life giving. Fuel Church started small, right where they were, and were faithful with what they had, and people began to be attracted to the vision and culture. Fuel Church communicates to their volunteers, called the Dream Team, how key they are to playing a role in the harvest. Identify and continually celebrate the “wins” at your church, and acknowledge how staff and volunteers are a part of that. Fuel Church does this at the beginning of all their meetings so people are constantly reminded that the whole body of Christ contributes to the church being life giving .
- Tap into the needs of your community. // What led to the largest growth for Fuel Church was when they really began to lean into the needs of their community. Where the church is located, addiction is a huge issue and their county has one of the highest overdose rates in all of Indiana. The church realized it couldn’t just stand by and not help. Fuel Church began to partner with faith-based rehab centers and send people there who needed help. Once these people get out of rehab the church continues to partner with them, setting them up with a sponsor who will walk alongside them and help them get a job, find housing and so on. Another aspect of this ministry is Hope Dealers – a truck that Fuel Church sends out to serve the community in various outreaches, such as providing food for the homeless. As Jacob notes, “We’re a church for broken people and we’re a church for people who want to help broken people.” As the church leaned into this mission, people were so excited about serving the community that the church really began to have explosive growth.
- Have a heart for the community. // When you have a heart for your community, people will be drawn to it. Remember that God loves our city and community more than we do. And God loves the lost more than we do. If you don’t have a heart for lost people and aren’t embracing the gospel message, then you’re not reaching out like you should be. We have the best message and we need to cast that net of hope and grace into our communities. More than ever we need to be outward focused rather than focused on just maintaining our current attendees.
You can learn more about Fuel Church at http://thefuelchurch.com/.
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