Showing new love for guests in Hawaii in a game changing way
So this is a T-shirt and card I just got in the mail from Hawaii. It made my week! It came from One Love Ministries in Honolulu and it underscores 2 important factors in implementing a church wide assimilation strategy and program that i think every church staff should keep in mind. Here's what how the card reads:
"Aloha my Bruddah Greg...
After seeing how God used this program at Eastside and seeking the Lord's leading, we reached out to you for guidance and mentoring...In just 3 months here at One Love Honolulu, over 400 have gone through our Next Steps program and, 41 joined Life Groups, 6 want to lead a Life Group, and 44 signed up to serve.
A could new to the island were shopping at our local mall and heard us singing Christmas Carols during the holidays. They heard us say, "Hey we are One Love, Come join us!" They came the next Sunday where we announced our new Next Steps ministry starting the first Sunday in February. They signed up, loved it, said "This is our home!" and now both are serving on our worship team.
Amazing fruit. Lives are being changed! We love you,
Waxer and Cindy Tipton started One Love Ministries 10 years ago. Waxer has a passion for scripture that is unrivaled and his wife Cindy has to be one of the most winsome spiritual leaders I have met. Waxer's TV ministry on the island made him someone I could barely walk down Waikiki with without being stopped by people appreciating him or the ministry of One Love. The church runs 1500+ people and has 2 campuses on the island. Waxer invited me to come because he sensed that after 10 years, his church was actually only 350 very tired people surrounded by 1200 fans of the teaching and worship ministry of One Love. Connecting and mobilizing them as follower of Jesus in the context of community (something the islanders do quite beautifully BTW) was the new order of the day. Here are the 2 things that I think all of us who are implementing and working a new church-wide assimilation strategy can learn from the new fruit they are experiencing:
1. They took the time to do it right.
I did the Base Camp for One Love in May of 2017. One of the first things we realized is like most churches, One Love had not been collecting contact info from their many guests in any systematic way so they could connect them. So instead of starting the One Program to connect guests (like many churches rush to do like a "silver bullet") they opened up the Aloha Center in their lobby. With a welcoming atmosphere and a Lei for their guests, they incentivized guests sharing their contact info with them by leveraging the Aloha spirit of the islands. This bought them time to design, recruit and thoroughly plan their One Program (See "Next Steps" at One Love) and to build anticipation for the roll out that didn't happen until Feb 2018. The results speak from themselves, and will also grow in terms of the percentage of guests placed as they work their plan, make dial-turns and connect guests automatically this way.
2. The Senior Pastor pulled the trigger
Waxer originally asked me if I would fly out and do the weekend message the would cast vision for the new assimilation strategy as well as explore it biblical roots. It worked out way better for him to do that as the primary teaching and vision-voice of One Love. His message is incredible and is a model of how to do this from a biblical/vision casting perspective. I got a lump in my throat hearing the concepts we talked through at Base Camp being delivered through his voice. It was so powerful. See it on video and you'll know what I'm talking about. His involvement as lead voice and pastor was vital to the results they have seen and to the growing results that will come. Don't miss that: being champion of assimilation cannot be delegated-it most reverberate strategically and biblically from the lead voice/pastor. No exceptions.
I know at my church, Eastside, there is a HUGE bump when Gene Appel our lead pastor takes the team cast vision to our guests for becoming part of our Next Steps Experience. Whether in the appropriate message or announcement time, attendance and connection to Christ's Body at Eastside rises and falls with his voice. That's how a parents's voice ideally functions in a family. That's how it functions in God's family too. Waxer had to depart from his usual style of message to deliver it. He did well, because sometimes leading has to replace teaching in the disciple making process. When strategically Spirit-led, that is a good exchange.
"Sometimes leading has to replace teaching in the disciple making process. When strategically Spirit-led, that is a good exchange."
Maybe some of you reading this right now are discouraged because you believe your Lead Pastor will never champion assimilation in a way that will result in guests being connected as an ongoing, automatic reality at your church. Maybe your LP would, but the executive team might not, at least from the heart. Maybe it's your team or volunteers that don't "get it". If this is you, I have this Ace for you to hide up your Sherpa sleeve: Send, or better yet, watch this 6 minute video with them and discuss it afterwards. As a senior leader for 17 years at my previous church, I know how executive level leaders think and what gets their attention. That's why I made this video-to sell them on what is required to have a successful assimilation process at your church.
Use that Ace wisely! Let me know how it goes here.
- Which of the two things that One Love did would be most important for you to keep in mind for rolling out an Assimilation strategy at your church? Why?
- Is the "Ace up your sleeve" a resource you could use right now? If so, how?
- When does leadership move to the front of the disciple making task and teaching move to the background? What is the trigger for discerning that?