What do you get when you are filled with 1,000 regional church leaders, plus Reggie Joiner as the host and Andy Stanley sharing his heart for the next generation? The result is a full day of thought-provoking ideas and discussions happening under one roof. Andy and Reggie brought the Deep & Wide Tour to Kansas City and this Midwest region responded well in attendance.
Andy led 4 sessions that revolved around his book Deep & Wide. Andy spent the first session laying the groundwork for sessions two and three. Here are just a few thoughts from the opening session that helped create great conversations between sessions.
1. If the Old Testament was a homework assignment, Jesus came to complete it. Just ponder that thought for a moment or two.
2. Andy spoke on the 600 OT commands that were in place and how Jesus wrapped up those 600 into 2 commands. Jesus went a step further and wrapped up the two commands into one with His statement from John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Boom! Mic drop! However you want to put it, we, the Church, must love people just as Christ has loved us. That's DEEP and it causes us to get WIDE when we follow through on that command.
Session two dove into going deeper. A question that I'm wondering is what does it mean for my church to go deeper with folks? The answer I believe lies in this statement, "The goal isn’t to have church, it’s to make disciples." What methods are we currently using to do that? To put it in a different way, here are three questions that were posed to us by Andy and it's three questions that North Point Ministries uses to evaluate how they are doing.
1. What do you count?
2. What’s a numerical win for your church?
3. What numbers do you celebrate?
Attendees aren’t all that concerned about attendance. We shifted our focus from attendance to engagement. That last statement is huge. Here's the list of engagement measurements that North Point Ministries focuses in on:
- Serving- How many are serving
- Giving- How many are giving (not wrapped up in how much they are giving)
- Inviting- How many members/attendees are inviting folks to attend with them
- Grouping- How many are involved in a Community Group (small group)
Those analytics are worth any organization to consider measuring for a month. See what happens when you start measuring your church with those four engagement factors.
Session three was probably the most eye-opening and thought-provoking of the four. "If we really want to go wide, we have to adjust our approach." Did you catch that? You've got to rethink and readjust how we go about reaching folks.
Nearly one-quarter of Americans claim no religious affiliation. What an alarming number. As of 2016, there were roughly 323.1 million people in the US. So, of that 323.1 million, 80,775,000 people claim no religious affiliation. It doesn't say that they are atheists or agnostics, they just don't claim to have any religious ties to a denomination or religious group. What the church was doing before isn't working today. We need to adjust our approach.
The closing session was a great finish to an incredible day. A couple of great questions that really stirred those in attendance is what I finish with. Andy went into great detail of how Paul went to unheard of means to see that people followed Jesus. The text came from 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 and Andy asked this question, "What if we were “by all possible means” churches?" Boom x 2. Mic drop x 2. What would happen if your church and mine took the attitude of reaching people with a "by all possible means" approach? What would we see happen? The second question here was just as powerful. "What is the faith of the next generation worth?" What's your answer to that? It's easy to say "everything", but are our churches showing the next generation "everything"? DEEP AND WIDE.
What an experience! The awesome thing if you want to see these two guys together again really soon is that they'll be together for Orange Conference April 25-27, 2018. The folks at Orange have a great discount that expires this week for $50 off registration. Here are a few of the voices that you'll see/here from Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, Danielle Strickland, Reggie Joiner and more. You can get more information and register at theorangeconference.com. I hope to see you there!