Healthy Things Grow
Law number one
Healthy things grow. What does that mean? Church growth has almost become a negative word for some people, because it begins to make us think of comparison, and that's what we do. We compare ourselves, and that's not the right approach or the right attitude. What we want is church health. A byproduct of church health is growth, because healthy things grow. Everything God created, if it's healthy, is growing in some way.
Really, the first law of generating great church growth is that you have a healthy culture. Your church needs a healthy culture, where people are growing and people have a good spirit and a good attitude. There's a positive kind of a leaning toward anticipation of what God's going to do.
You also have to have a healthy staff. It's very important to your team, whether they are volunteer or paid staff. Richard talked about our church's journey. I went from one, my church had one employee, and I wasn't quite full-time in terms of my paycheck, to now we have about 50 employees, and we've still got way more volunteers than we'll ever have employees. So that team has to be healthy, so if you're overworking some of your team members, if you're running someone into the ground, I know the tendency is when you've got someone who is faithful and someone you can depend on, the tendency is to lean on them, but let me tell you.
In the long run, you're going to want people who are there for you and one of the things that we've learned here at 24toDouble and at Daystar Church is that when people leave the Dream Team, or they stop volunteering, they don't go back to the pew. They go out the door, because they're embarrassed. They felt like they were part of a brotherhood, their other team members, they're counting on each other, and if they've got this overworked, overrun feeling they're uninspired and they've forgotten the why of what's going on. All they’re doing is the what. “Be here at this time. Do this thing. Meet this deadline.”
If you're not inspiring them with the why, then they're going to eventually quit that area of ministry, but what's going to happen is they're going to leave the church, because they're embarrassed about it. So you want a healthy core of people serving. You also need a healthy system, because again, healthy things grow. If your system is, “Hey, we're going to bring in a big band, or a big group, or have some big event every other month,” and that's the entire way your church is growing. Well, that's not healthy, because if all you do is put on a big show, what's to prevent the church down the street of putting on a big show, or at the mall across town to have a big show on Sunday?
We're going to talk a little bit more about your system a little bit later, but let me just, in law number one, remind you that if healthy things grow, you have to have a healthy system. Another thing about having church health, is setting high standards for your team. I can remember when our then Worship Pastor, he's now one of our Campus Pastors, Ben Murray, was determined to set a really high bar for our worship ministry. Honestly, it intimidated me a little bit, because when we started this church, I was the Senior Pastor and the Worship Pastor, and I just wanted someone with a pulse.
I mean, our first drummer in our church, he played in a nightclub on Saturday night and played in our church on Sunday morning. “Please don't turn me off, Pastor, I love the Lord. Don't turn me off.” I should have said that in point number one, but we have really high standards now. We've learned and we've grown, because Healthy Things Grow, and so our standards are completely different than they used to be. We actually had to go through a period of time when we had three campuses, because we have satellite campuses, where we would live feed the video.
We had three campuses and zero full-time Worship Pastors. Yet, you couldn't tell the difference on the weekend and it was all because we had set such a high standard, and we maintained church health, so if you're going through a problem like a divorce, or a big time sickness, we ask you to sit down off of the ministry team, because we want to pour into you. We want you to receive. That takes a lot of faith to do that, because you need someone to sing well this weekend, but you got to think long-term and not be so focused on the moment.
Healthy Things Grow – Best Staff Ever
Right now, we're in what we call the Best Staff Ever Campaign and we're trusting and believing God that we're going to build the best staff any church has ever had. In fact, I heard that from the Lord. He said to me, “Jerry, if you'll build the staff and not go try to hire them from somewhere, steal them from another church, if you'll be committed to building them, I'll make sure they're the best staff ever.” I'm building them. I'll quickly tell you, if I can think of them off the top of my head, the eight areas that we build people in. All our staff. I work, or someone on the team, works with them in eight areas.
They are faith, family, finances, freedom. Freedom has to do with freedom from a bondage, or addiction, or temptation. Faith, family, finances, freedom, fun, fitness, friends. I think I said family, and then focus. So it's a whole, your focused area of ministry. It's a holistic approach, not just saying, “I want you to do this for me,” but saying, “I'm more concerned with you, how you grow, what God's doing in your life, than what you're going to do for us.” One more thing. I'm going to have hurry, Richard. Now one more thing in being healthy.
Stay Close to God
You need to plan intimate times with God for yourself. As the Senior Leader, here's the thing about an intimate relationship. If you're intimate with your spouse, that's the most intimate relationship you have, but you're not intimate daily. All right. You're probably not intimate daily, unless you just got married. All right. You're close every day, but there are intimate days, intimate moments. I think you should do the same thing with God. Don't feel guilty if you woke up on Saturday and only spent five minutes doing a quick devotion. That's okay. Just stay close to God today, but plan an intimate moment.
Plan an hour-long prayer walk. Plan a morning that you don't go to the office and you just listen to worship music and you pray. You need to be a spiritually healthy Pastor. I was talking to a Pastor just yesterday who is struggling with this, because he said, “He didn't have enough time.” I want to challenge you, because we've all felt that way. You do have enough time. You're spending it on something else, so put it on your calendar, and when someone asks for that time say, “I'm sorry. I just checked my calendar. I already have an appointment,” and make sure there are intimate times with God, so you have a break from work and you stay healthy. It can't grow if you're not healthy.