THIS YEAR, in the Fall of 2016, our congregations are taking part in a series called Committed to Christ.
(Last year, our congregations in the Gulf Coast took part in a five-week spiritual growth initiative called Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.)
- To engage the entire congregation in praying and growing together in faith
- To develop small groups that grow faith and bond the congregation together in strong friendships
- To welcome newcomers and close the back door of the church.
- To grow faith and generosity.
Three Key Components of the Series
- Daily devotions
- Weekly home groups
- Sunday worship
In addition to this, each group is encouraged to do a service project together. The series ends with an invitation for each household to consider and plan their giving for the coming year.
Like any spiritual growth series, this one introduces people to some of the most basic spiritual practices. Don’t assume your people know these. Doing this annually introduces newcomers to Christian practices, and reminds your long-term folks what the church is about.
You will invite your congregation to spark their daily prayer life through 40 Devotions for a Generous Life. Each of the forty devotions includes Scripture, a brief story or meditation, and a prayer. They focus on six marks of discipleship:
2. Bible Reading
5. Financial Giving
With each step, your people are asked to assess prayerfully their own level of commitment and to consider increasing that commitment by one step.
There is tremendous synergy in getting a whole congregation doing the same thing at the same time for a couple of months. It seems we only do this for capital campaigns. What if we spend that amount of time, energy, and organization on spiritual growth?
Order a complete set of the materials to familiarize yourself with what’s involved. When I ordered the box it came with:
- A Program Guide that lays out the whole series for your planning team.
- A CD that includes commitment cards, posters, banners, flyers, surveys, logos, letters, task lists, Powerpoints, videos, Facebook prayers and posts, Tweets, blogging suggestions and more
- A Small Group Leader Guide
- A copy of the Weekly Small Group Participant Book (Adult Readings and Study Book)
- A copy of the Daily Devotional Book (40 Devotions for a Generous Life)
- A DVD with worship videos
- A copy of Living Your Commitment to Christ booklet.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the materials, and gotten the g0-ahead from your leadership team, then order individual pieces for your lead team (whoever needs program guides), small group leaders (Small Group Leaders Guides) and congregation (Adult Readings and Study book and 40 Devotions for a Generous Life). You can sell the congregational books, but you’ll get greater participation if you can afford to buy the books in advance.
When Pastor Chris Markert did this series at Celebration in Cypress, they used a card each week, for congregational members to do a personal assessment of their own life in each of the six areas. Here they are:
Warning: Do not skip the small groups. This is the most important part of the series. It makes everything else work and leaves you with a more interconnected, committed congregation. Without the groups, it’s just a sermon series. The key to establishing small groups is recruiting small group leaders.
This timeline is set to conclude the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 13 in 2016. Adjust the series at a time that works best for your congregation.
Begin with prayer.
Order the kit.
Get your Council/Leadership Team on board.
Plan the schedule with your staff. Set the dates.
Recruit the steward, coordinator and ministry celebration chair.
Start announcing the program.
Send an invitational letter to the congregation.
Order additional copies of the Program Guide and Small Group Leader Book.
Work with the steward to recruit the lay witnesses.
Review the printing schedule with office staff.
Order copies of 40 Devotions for a Generous Life for members of the congregation.
Celebration Team meets.
Set out sign ups for small group gatherings in your congregation’s gathering space
October 9: Week 1 – Prayer
October 16: Week 2 – Bible Reading
October 23: Week 3 – Worship
October 30: Week 4 – Witness
November 6: Week 5 – Financial Giving
November 13: Week 6 – Service
Send thank you notes