Go Big!: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth! [Secure eReader]
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eBook by William Easum &
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: Bill Easum and Bil Cornelius are two strikingly different, yet surprisingly similar pastors. One undertook to revitalize a moribund mainline church; the other, to plant a new nondenominational congregation. Coming from different generations, their ministries took place under dissimilar circumstances. Yet both have experienced substantial, even explosive, growth in congregational mission and membership. Along the way they learned some important lessons, such as the centrality of strong pastoral leadership, the need for an unhesitant pursuit of excellence in all areas of the church's ministry, and the requirement that you picture an audacious vision for your church and live into that vision. Regardless of the current size of your church, you will find here inspiring, ready-to-implement ideas to help your church go BIG.
eBook Publisher: United Methodist Publishing House/Abingdon Press
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2006
1--The Only Difference Is The Zeros
Seven years ago, a twenty-six year old showed up on Bill E.'s doorstep. "Hi," he said. "My name is Bil Cornelius. I'm starting a church in Corpus Christi, and I need help."
Bill E.'s first reaction was, "Sure. I've been here before." But after a few minutes with Bil C., it was clear that this was a young Christian in whom it was worth investing some time. And so it was. Seven years later, Bay Area Fellowship has over 4,000 people worshiping on an average weekend and has been involved in four church plants.
The problem with most pastors is that they don't dream big enough.
Corpus Christi is not the most logical place for a Protestant megachurch to emerge. It is a city of slightly over 300,000 with roughly 60 percent of the population Catholic. Yet in seven short years Bay Area Fellowship has become the largest Protestant church in the city.
How It All Began
Bay Area Fellowship began as a dream in the heart of Bil Cornelius. Five people gathered in Bil and Jessica's home for the first meeting, where Bil announced boldly, "We're going to be a church of thousands one day." After every core group meeting he would challenge the group members with this vision, "Bring everyone you can." And they did. The group went from five to ten people. Then the group grew from ten to fifteen people. Fifteen might not sound like a lot, but to Bil it seemed huge.
Before long the group grew to twenty people and moved out of the apartment, traveling from home to home. Soon the homes were too small and the group moved into a small storefront. The momentum was gathering and so was the excitement.
When the group reached twenty-five, Bil said to the group, "Alright guys, here's what we're going to do. We're going to spend every dime we've got. We're going to blow it all in one weekend. Let's launch. And let's do this BIG." A few years later the people in that core group would remember these words and rejoice that they had not discounted them due to their small size.
With that the tiny group rented a school and, using a regional marketing company, sent out 70,000 direct mail pieces to homes, something that no church had done before in Corpus Christi. At the same time Bil challenged the core group to bring in at least ten people—each!
We are aware that sending out a direct mail piece in some parts of the country may seem old hat. The point we are making is that in Corpus Christi it had not been done before. The mailing worked because it was a unique mailing piece (often off-the-wall) and it was a unique tactic for the area. So it is incumbent on you as the leader to find whatever will work in your situation. But we encourage you not to blow off direct mail too quickly even if it has been used several times before in your area, because no one throws away a piece of mail without first glancing at it. When they do, they notice the name of the church.
The first Sunday 236 people showed up and Bay Area Fellowship was born. As expected, the next week's attendance dropped to 150 people, but compared to the twenty-five who launched the church, this number appeared awesome to the group!
The church grew from 150 to about 250 people and moved from the elementary school to a junior high for a bigger campus and more parking. Again, the church grew to 400 or 500 people and God opened the door for the church to purchase an old Moose Lodge. It was a piece of junk, but it was their own junk! No longer did the group have to set up and take down each week. Today, it's still junk, but it's a pretty piece of junk.
Over the next three years the church grew an average of 75 percent a year. Today (2005), Bay Area Fellowship averages over 4,000 people and has purchased 100 acres of land and has plans to build an auditorium large enough for it to continue to expand.
Today, the dream of BAF is to commit a million dollars a year to plant ten churches a year, for ten years. And, according to Bil C., it will happen as if it's already a fact.
A Snapshot of Bay Area Fellowship's Growth
• 1998: Launched with one service at 11:00 a.m.
• 1999: Added a 9:30 a.m. service and moved to another school late in the year.
• 2000: Added a Saturday night service at 6:00 p.m. and took away the Saturday night service for the summer.
• 2001: Moved to new facility, and added back Saturday 6:00 p.m. service.
• 2002: Added a second Saturday night 6:00 p.m. service and new 7:30 p.m. service.
• 2003: Moved Saturdays up an hour to 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.
• 2004: Added an 8:30 a.m. service on Sunday and went to 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m.
• 2004: Added 8:30 plus a Sunday night video venue 5:00 p.m. and college service 6:30 p.m.
• 2005: Added another service on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and cancelled the college service 6:30 p.m.
• 2005: Plans laid to add back the college service.
• 2006: Added a second site in Kingsville, Texas.
Copyright © 2006 by Abingdon Press.