This week’s ministry briefing is all about limits: when to set them, when to break them, and when to enforce them. Churches face some of their most important challenges when it comes to innovating for outreach to their communities.
Egg drops from helicopters have become popular outreach events during the Easter season, but these community events have become so heavily attended that they sometimes become counterproductive and even dangerous. How should churches innovate within reasonable and safe boundaries?
Two churches in New Hampshire solved the problem of massive crowds by making attendance at the Easter service mandatory in order to participate in their egg drops. While some complained about the requirement, they fared better than LifePoint Church in Plano, TX that had to cancel their egg drop event after their volunteers were overwhelmed by over 10,000 people who showed up.
Of course most churches face the opposite problem on a typical Sunday morning: How to get more people to show up? Hoboken Grace Community Church in New Jersey experimented with reimbursements for anyone who used Uber to catch a ride to the service. Of particular note, they limited the reimbursement to $5 and would only offer 5,000 Uber rides. Perhaps that number set the bar a bit high, but when innovating with outreach, it’s often helpful to plan for the unexpected, whether that’s 10,000 people showing up at an egg drop of 5,000 people using Uber for a ride to church.
When it comes to managing the day to day affairs of the church, there’s another kind of limit to consider: what qualifies a pastor to serve at a church? Most importantly, what are the basic things that pastor must believe about God and the Bible in order to qualify for ministry? One denomination in Canada is in a difficult position because a minister claims she can continue to serve her congregation despite not believing in God. Did this denomination make their doctrinal statements clear enough? Did they spell out the process for removing a ministry who cannot affirm the existence of God?
You can never plan too far ahead when it comes to outreach and staff!
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