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Four Things Our Church Should Still Focus On
There is the adage that “change is the only constant” and most of us would agree that the past few years have been exceptionally turbulent. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many organizations and companies have had to shift the way they do business in order to survive the change.
When it comes to how a church operates, there are many significant changes that have resulted as well. Doing church service from home or joining a small group online was a rarity before COVID. Who remembers the offering bags being passed down the aisle for folks to drop cash or cheques in envelopes? How about the crushed crackers on plates and grape juice in open cups that were also passed along on the golden Communion tray? I certainly hope that we do not experience having to social distance or singing with face masks again.
There were several innovative things that Coastal Church did during the pandemic that were mentioned in a previous blog that I wrote that continues to thrive today. One example is the launch of the microsite at the Burnaby location that has transitioned to a full Campus in less than a year.
I was reminded in a session with Pastor Craig Groeschel at a recent conference that churches need to be intentional with creating margins and simplifying processes. This is a reminder on the importance of reestablishing the vision and mission of Coastal Church so that we are not overly consumed by programs and events, but instead have the capacity to focus on the most important work.
We have often referred to the Four Main Things that we do at Coastal Church (through our Connect Course) so this may be a refresher for some. I decided to come up with alternate headings (that all start with “C”):
1. CELEBRATION (WEEKEND SERVICES)
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
The rhythm of setting aside a day in the week to worship and hear the Word together with other believers has never been more important. The convenience of staying at home has robbed many from the opportunity to use all five of our senses when we interact with each other. People are flooding back to cinemas and concerts to enjoy the shared experience that a large gathering offer. In the same way, there is a greater hunger for corporate worship so the main focus for Coastal Church is to create impactful weekend experiences to celebrate and praise God with stories of changed lives.
2. CONNECTION (SMALL GROUPS)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 (NIV)
Coastal Church started as a small group and the small group dynamic will always remain in our church DNA. Pastor Dave has encouraged us to stay healthy by staying connected with a small group. The church can only grow larger by staying smaller (in groups) and we are now seeing record numbers in Life Groups and Alpha groups across all our campuses. As people attending weekend services are assimilated into small groups, they get to practice and develop their faith within a community of believers and to see their spiritual growth accelerated.
3. COMMISSION (LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT)
“And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (NASB)
Just as businesses and organizations have suffered labour shortages coming out of the pandemic, churches have also had to rebuild their volunteer base to serve. We are thankful that the staffing at Coastal Church has grown consistently over the past few years. What is even more rewarding is to see many lay leaders now being equipped to oversee Campuses and to lead various ministry teams. Leadership Development is most important among our children and youth ministries, where school age kids and teenagers are all given the opportunity to be involved in every ministry department (e.g., Kids Camp, worship leading, media team).
4. COMMUNITY (OUTREACH)
“This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce… Seek the prosperity of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord in its behalf; for in its prosperity will be your prosperity.” Jeremiah 29:4-5;7 (NIV)
Coastal Church HELPS make the City a better place. This mission statement is expanded each time another campus or microsite is established in a new community. We believe we can help Burnaby and Richmond prosper into a better place by partnering with other churches to launch Alpha. Even Tempe, Arizona is a better place as the microsite transitions from meeting in a home and relocating to a rented church space so that their ministry can be expanded.
All these outreaches within the various communities can only truly succeed by the power of the Gospel. Therefore, as the challenges in our world get more complicated, the church must point back to the transformative power and lasting change that only a personal encounter with Jesus as the living God can bring.