I’m looking forward to spending time with you all at convocation at the end of the month! As we’re into fall and looking towards what is next, I hope this is helpful for your congregations thinking through your evangelism and outreach ministries.
Idea worth considering: Trees without wind don’t grow
The University of Arizona owns a large biodome for all sorts of research. In its early years, researchers found that none of the trees inside it grew to maturity. They would shoot up quick, and then collapse under their own weight. As it turns out, trees need wind to build stress wood, which is necessary for their long-term health. The constant moving in the wind provides the needed stress for young trees that helps them to grow healthy.
Resistance is necessary for healthy growth. It is true for plants, it is true in the gym, and I think this is true for churches as well.
I am wondering if many of the challenges our churches face stem from the fact that, for so long, we were able to coast on the cultural inertia of going to church on Sunday mornings that, in key periods of our growth, were not challenged to build that stress wood. In all that we’ve been through with the pandemic and the country-wide struggles many churches are facing, I hope we can see this as an opportunity where we are building that stress wood instead of collapsing under our own weight. A healthy response to the winds of change will leave us strong and resilient to whatever future changes may come our way.
Resource worth a look: Mission InSite
I know, this isn’t the first time you’re hearing from me about this. If there’s one resource that I’ve recommended since I’ve started this newsletter that I would recommend the most, it is this. Seriously, if you haven’t signed up, stop reading and click this link.
Some things you can do with Misison InSite: You can upload a spreadsheet with all your members’ addresses to visualize where your people live in relation to your church. You can get detailed demographic reports for what kinds of people live around your church. You can get survey data that gives insight to what programs people in your area are looking for in churches. You can see what ways will be most effective to communicate with folks in your area. And this is just scratching the surface.
As with any data, it’s not the end of our understanding but a solid beginning for each of our congregations to better empathize with our neighborhoods. I am confident every pastor and congregation will have something to learn from this.
If you get signed in and are struggling to make sense of how to use this, I’ll be around at convocation with my laptop to sit down with anyone who wants to look through it with me.
Thanks for reading!
If you want to have a conversation about Mission InSite, how it can be helpful for your congregation, or whatever other ways the DEM might help, just reply to this email or reach out! I’m here to walk with you in whatever way I can.
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