Thursday, October 28, 2004

A 40 Days of Purpose Report

When I was with the First Christian Church in Canton, OH,we ran a successful "40 Days of Purpose" Campaign. During that campaign, we launched more than 20 new small groups. Existing Adult Bible Fellowships (Sunday School Classes) increased in attendance. There were numerous additions.

Here is Sun City where I work with seniors, I undertook a "40 Days" campaign for several reasons.
  1. The congregation needed a better understanding of the biblical teaching about the church. Most congregations serving Sun City residents have a "hospice" mentality. I believed God planted this church here for a reason. While I don't agree with every detail of Warren's Purpose Driven Model, he does have a pretty good grip on the five purposes every church should live out.
  2. Members here come from everywhere in the USA. This church has folks from Maine, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, and even Florida. Even then, I've probably missed a couple of states. The point is, these folks need to get to know one another and the "40 Days" discussion groups provided the perfect opportunity to do that. We have a monthly Fellowship Dinner, but even then the group is too large to promote real fellowship. We have six discussion groups ranging from 6 to 20 in attendance using edited discussion guides from Saddleback.
  3. The sermon series provided us with a perfect opportunity to teach casual attenders about the importance of trusting Christ and connecting with a local congregation. So far since starting the campaign, we've added 12 new members. One of those was by baptism.
  4. We're not seeing tremendous increases in attendance, but thanks to the fact that our "Snowbirds" are returning the attendance is climbing.
  5. The "40 Days" Campaign also gave us the opportunity to do some quality advertising in the area. Most of our ads were pretty blah, but the campaign gave us an opportunity and a reason to "dress them up" and make them something noteworthy.

We didn't do everything recommended in the campaign materials primarily because this is not a typical church. Our Ministry System is not yet functional, so a Ministry Fair didn't fit us. We support missions, but we didn't feel a Ministry Fair was do-able at this time. We are, however, having a special gathering with one of our mission families home on furlough.

In spite of the fact that we haven't used every aspect of the program, good things are coming from it.