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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Elements of a "Viral" Church

Our church is seeing significant growth. We are seeing babies born that fill our preschool and we are seeing our children's and youth departments fill too.  We baptize new believers every month. We are excited about this growth. We want to honor the Lord with our obedience and allow Him to provide the growth. We want to get out of the way of what He can do.

However, this does not mean that we fail to pray for God to reach new people. This does not mean that we are complacent in our efforts to see our church grow. We want to grow with people who are not attending church somewhere else. We want to see souls saved. An atmosphere must be created that allows God to work fully for that to happen. It is an atmosphere of complete obedience.

A "viral" church is one which is growing very rapidly. It somehow grows in spite of itself. It may not have the best preacher or music or something that the world tells us we must have to attract people. It has something that makes its own people aggressively go out and tell their friends about it. It is a "buzz word" in the community of those who do not come to it.

A viral church must have a special attitude about itself. This church is not perfect but it sees itself on the road to perfect. While the members may admit the shortcomings, they never cut the church down. They are not negative when they speak of it within their groups or on the outside. They tell of the things they have to offer. They tell of the things they have planned. They are excited and want others to join them. How can a church ever go viral if the members are telling others that it is a place for losers. It makes everyone who attends there a loser.

A viral church strives for quality. This church does not say "good enough." It knows that there is room for improvement. The members know they will not be perfect but that they can have a quality service with quality preaching and music. They know that they can provide quality in the equipment and even the videos they may show. Members know the people they invite will see quality all around them when they worship. It will not be perfect for that is a delusion of the devil. Perfection depends upon yourself. It will be quality because this is humanity working with God.

The viral church is safe. I am not merely talking about physical safety but that does apply. The preschool area gives an atmosphere of safety. The parking lot is seen as safe. However, the worship service is also safe. People can  come and not be expected to be held up. No one makes them pray a prayer or go way outside their comfort zone. The viral church will not embarrass their guests no more than a good host or hostess would. The viral church tells the attenders what will happen and, without some other leading of the Holy Spirit, sticks with it.

The viral church is predictable. Members who invite guests will know that their guests will not be held an hour past the time it was supposed to end. That doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit can not enter and change the time but often churches who want to say they don't watch the clock have no evidence of the Holy Spirit working yet blame their long services on Him. The church needs to be aware of the time for guests. They should want the service to go longer rather than promise God they will never come back if He will just make it end.

Yes, I would like my church to go viral. I would like to see the Lord add people like I have read about in the Book of Acts. However, I am going to be obedient if that never happens. I am going to praise my Lord regardless. I am going to keep working even if no one else ever comes.

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