Hal Adams – 24toDouble Review
I pastor a church that has a 107 year history, and when I went to Radford 18 years ago, it was a very traditional congregation. As a matter of fact, since the time I stepped in, we changed them into some things because the history of the church was very traditional. The first time I ever preached there, it was a service with a couple of hymns, announcements, the preacher preached 30 minutes, and then they adjourned and went home.
It was a very old church. Probably, the average age of the people were 65 up into their late 70s. There's a small demographic of younger people that were there generation after generation. It was a church that, at that point, was very, I guess you could say, sort of closed. They weren't doing a whole lot to do outreach in the community and, like I said, when I got there, in order for us to grow, I knew that we had to do some changing and we did.
The initial changes we made 18 years ago to become more relevant and try to reach our demographic had initially worked, but unfortunately I became the pastor who sort of got into church mode. We had our system and we did very little tweaking, very little changing. We didn't keep our thumb on the pulse of what was going on in the community and what was really going on in the church world.
We got to the point that our church was just dying. It wasn't that people were leaving because they were dissatisfied. When you have an older church, people die and when I say we were dying, we were literally dying and we weren't relevant to a new generation, and there were a lot of problems that I had going in because I came out of the coaching world.
I was a football coach for 15 years and a head coach, and I really didn't have anybody to mentor me. I needed help and I found myself, after about 14 years, watching a church die, and I had no clue how to turn it around and the people that were with me had no clue.
Enter the Whole Church Discipleship Model
I began to search, I needed help, and this is where 24toDouble came my way.
When I was introduced to 24toDouble, I think the biggest things that was an attraction to me was that it wasn't so much a church growth program as it was a church infrastructure program, and that is something we did not have.
We did not have a clear vision. Even though we have a vision statement. It wasn't clear. It wasn't concise. It was complicated. To be honest with you, I couldn't even tell you today what that vision statement was. That's how complicated it was.
We did not have a clear commission as a church. We were doing some outreach things, which were good things, but it was all over the place. It wasn't clear what we were trying to accomplish, and we didn't have a process at all.
If you were to come and ask me, “Okay, what do we need to do to be discipled and to connect and to grow in this church,” I really wouldn't have had the answers for you. Did they have Sunday school? Well, of course they had Sunday school. It was Sunday school and church services, but that wasn't in a clear path of discipleship.
Who Do You Want for Church Growth?
When we started the 24toDouble modules and they began to talk about number one, who's your demographic and who do you really want. That was so key.
I think when you're in desperation mode, you want anybody that walks through the door. You're just desperate for people to come in your church, but I never was really mentored. In a way, you need to find who you're after and you need to go after that group because in Radford, there's churches on every corner. There's traditional churches, there's churches for older people.
There's sort of a niche for everything, but really I didn't know who I wanted. 24toDouble challenged to me go after a demographic to seek God. Who did we want? Once we found the demographic, they have a clear vision. They helped me develop that vision, and that's so important because I can just tell from my point of view because I was new into the ministry and I was basically … I went from coaching into a pastor and that's a tough thing to do with no mentorship.
They'll say, “Well, you need a vision statement.” “Well, what does that mean?” I absolutely didn't know what it meant and 24toDouble, they shared with me the method of how you're going to cast vision for church growth.
We came up with our vision statement, which was “Love. Grow. Serve.” Then our commission was just for each one to reach one. I mean, we wanted every person in the church to be instrumental in reaching someone for Christ, and we were going to do that through the big events and invitations and getting people in the door because unfortunately so many people aren't comfortable today just sharing their faith.
Matter of fact, a lot of people are afraid to do it at work or school or wherever. 24toDouble showed us how we could create big events immediately and gave us everything that we needed to create one and do it in excellence.
How We Did 24toDouble
We started this in, I think it was January, and of course our first big event was Easter and we had the very first Easter just being three/four months in. I remember there was a module that was especially for Easter, right after we got in, that we watched on a Thursday afternoon, and that gave us the understanding of how to pull off an Easter event, and as a result, we had the largest crowd that first Easter, just a few months in, I guess you could say, for the history of the church.
It shows you infrastructure, how to set up teams, the importance of discovering people's gifts and their passions. They're going to help you in a process to have a clear discipleship path. Ours is “Follow, connect, discover, and serve.” We have these discipleship classes after church where we're giving people a meal. We have people coming through it, and the great thing about it that I've discovered is that when we first started this, we have extremely good worship. I mean, we have great musicians, I have a great worship leader, and we have fantastic singers.
That's a real draw, a real attraction, but people will come in and they might like the music, and they might just want to join the church because of the music, but what I wanted them to join the church for is that they saw our vision, what we were about, what we believe, where we're heading, where we're going, and that they would be an important part of that.
That's where this discipleship process or path has really helped our church to give us stability and especially help shutting the back door.
A Place of Brokenness
I want to encourage any pastor. I was exactly where many of you were. I was watching the church die. I felt like a loser. I began to question, “God, did you really call me to this? Was this just something that I just had an inclination for spiritual things and wanted to teach the Word? Did I just miss this whole thing?”
When you get to that point, that's a good thing because I was getting to a place of being broken, and I needed that because when you come out of the coaching profession and you're competitive, that's really not a good thing in ministry because when you're a competitive person, sometimes you're looking at the diamond from the wrong angle.
Am I wanting to grow to compete with someone else? Am I wanting to grow to glorify me to say I did it? This was my process. I had to get to a point that I was broken, and I had to admit I needed help and that was a long journey for me. I'm telling you, I'm the type of guy, just because of my background that you get me in a corner, and I'm going to fight my way out. I'm going to find a way to come out and this is something I could not fight my way out of.
God Took Care of the Financial Side
I got to that place of brokenness where I had to reach out, and our church finances were dire. We were about $10,000 to $12,000 in the hole and our finances were short about 4,000 every month, and that's not a good place to be. When I looked at this, you're thinking, “Oh gosh, that's another $80 a month or $90 a month or whatever it is, $120 a month, whatever.” I went to my elders and I said, “I don't see how we can't attempt this and try this.”
We took the step of faith. We took money we really did not have and we began to invest in this, and to be honest with you, I put up the first bit of money personally and there were other people came along side me in the church and said, “Hey, I'm going to pay for a month. I'm going to pay for a month.”
For a lot of the months, for probably six to eight months, it never came out of the budget. Once I got my leaders around and they saw the promotion video, the zero module, they were all in and by the time my volunteers of paying the module was up, we had money in the budget to pay it.
It worked out beautifully. I would say if you're in this crossroads of “Should I or shouldn't I,” first thing I'd say, “You don't have anything to lose. You have nothing to lose. You have everything to gain.”
All of our journeys are a faith walk, and I would encourage you to take that step before you regret it, and the people that love your church and that love you, they're going to rally around you, they're going to support you, and they're going to help you.
I just want to encourage you. Take this step because you will be glad that you did, and your church and your communities will be changed and transformed.