Deep and Wide – Creating Church unchurched people love to attend

By Andy Stanley, Pastor North Point Community Church


Church = Ekklesia = “gathering”  of people, not a building, but a purposeful gathering of people, “called out ones.” – a congregation.

Purposeful questions for churches:

  1. Are we making a measurable difference in our community or simply conducting services?
  2. Are we allocating resources as if Jesus is the hope of the world or are the squeaky wheels of church culture driving our budgeting decisions?

What is the purpose of the church?

“Be a church full of grace and truth.”

Acts 15:23-28

The early church had two conditions to become part of the church fellowship.

  1. Abstain from food sacrificed to idols
  2. Abstain from immorality

Our mission is to “make disciples.”

  1. Practical Teaching

Jesus taught for life change.

Jesus taught for a response.  Here’s what to do next.

Preach practical sermons

  • What do you want them to know?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • What can we do to create next steps?
  • Grow people of faith.
  1. Practice disciplines
    1. Daily devotional life – our private devotional life is connected to our faith.
    2. Practice Christian stewardship.  Encourage new people to start by giving a percentage of their income on a regular basis.  Many will not start at giving a tithe of ten percent..  Give people time to prepare to give their offering.
  1. Personal Ministry – Hebrews 10:24-25

Encourage nonbelievers to get involved in a small group.  The majority of new volunteers come out of small groups.

  1. Providential Relationships
    1. Community groups of 12 or less people are encouraged to stay together for 2 years to build relationships.
    2. New member classes of 12 adults are started on a regular and after the class members are encouraged to continue in a small group.
  1. Pivotal Circumstances – ways to high light ministries
    1. Baptism – Video testimonies are given by baptismal candidates.  Videos are edited as needed for time flow
    2. Two to One mentoring – engaged couples are paired up with married couples.
    3. Small groups are closed for singles and couples
    4. Children’s ministry group leaders stay with their students as they move from one age to another age.

Three Essential Ingredients for Church Growth

  1. Is the Setting Appealing

Learn to look at your facility, ministry programs, and worship services as a 1st time guest.

The Pastor’s message begins in the parking lot.  Put greeters in the parking lot.

How can we make our church ministries irresistible?

  1. First Impressions

Church grounds, building and rooms all send a message.

An uncomfortable setting makes people uncomfortable.

We want people to believe that what we are doing here is important.

To appeal to guests organize the church, no clutter.  Disorganized is unappealing.

  1. Is The Worship Service Presentation Appealing (Engaging)
    1. Secure attention
    2. Rethink your approach
    3. Present helpful messages: marriage, money, parenting, generosity, greed, sexual purity, forgiveness, decision making.
    4. Is the message helpful?
    5. Does it offer a new or helpful perspective?
    6. Does it provide handles, applications, and next steps?
    7. Is the content age and stage of life specific?
    8. The weekend worship service defines the church.
    9. The worship team is the most important team in the church.
    10. Define your wins and purpose.
    11. What are our wins for worship?
      1. i.     An attender brings an unchurched person to worship.
      2. ii.     The unchurched attends a 2nd time.

Plan worship with 1st time guests in mind.

Long term win –life change and transformation

Is our current worship template designed to produce the results that  bring wins?

How are we doing in guiding people from the parking lot to the message?

Make the worship compelling to skeptics.

Establish common ground with listeners.

Leverage common experiences and emotions.

Jesus engaged his audience with common emotions.

Luke 15 – Sheep, Coins, Father & Son

Worship Flow =




Engage = Pre-service, opener, welcome (What needs to be on the screen to make first time guests comfortable)

We will be here for about an hour – put newcomers at ease of length of service

Opener- occasional song, something funny, video,

Involve = Singing, Baptism, Special, (Baptism 2 times a month)

Music sets – 2 or 3 songs

Video taped testimony – stories of life change


Challenge = Series Message, Closer (Next Steps)

1)   Does my approach to preach facilitate my desire to see unchurched people attend, come back, and then come back with a friend?

2)   If not, am I willing to change my approach?

3)   Present God’s Word so it is helpful and compelling.

4)   Motivate People to get into God’s Word.

5)   Focus on one text – present truth that emerges from the text

6)   Let new comers know you are happy they are present.  Make statements so they know they are welcome.

7)   Begin with the audience in mind.

8)   What questions does this text being to mind?

9)   What tensions does the text involved?

10)             What mysteries does this text solve?

11)             What does the text address?

12)             Pick one passage and stick with it.

13)             Give permission for people not to believe or obey.

14)             Avoid saying, “The Bible says”,  the Bible is more than a book.  Quote authors not “the Bible.”

Church web site – video of what to expect at church, nursery, children, youth, adults

Change Strategy

Have a clear, dynamic vision.  Shared vision is key to change.

What needs to be changed?

What could be?

What should be?

Are we willing to pursue something different?

Vision statement – 1 or 2 sentences

The church model should support the mission of the church.

Too often churches love their models more than their mission.

“When a church fails to distinguish between it’s current model and the mission to which it has been called and mistakenly fossilizes around its model, that church sets itself up for decline.”

Mission -> Vision> model> Programming

Mission – nonnegotiable imperatives – Making Disciples

Vision – Create church unbelievers love to attend.

Model – the framework a church chooses or creates to advance its specific vision.  For Andy Stanley – Small Group Model

Programming – facilitate a specific model

Look at each ministry program and ask:  “What is the best way to  ___________________?

What is the best way to assimilate adults into small groups?

What is the best way to train group leaders?

What is the best way to assimilate children and teenagers into groups?

What is the best way to introduce newcomers to group life?

What is the best way to introduce seekers and returners to group life?

What is the best way to involve people in doing what God has gifted them to do?  Romans 12:6-8

Stay the Course

  1. Do we have a transferable mission or vision statement
    1. Do our people know why we exist?
    2. How do we measure success?
    3. What have we fallen in love with that’s not as effective as it used to be?
    4. What do we need to stop doing or change?
    5. Where are we manufacturing energy?
      1. What is no longer working or attractive?
      2. What is not being attended?
      3. What do we measure?
      4. What do we celebrate?
      5. If the church ceased to exist would the community miss us?
      6. How do people in our community view our church?