Once you get to know me, I am a relentless self-improvement junkie. I can’t help it. Everything in our church is like an ongoing art-project that needs to be continually re-thought & improved.
One of the things that bugs me about mega-churches is their tendency to “collect people as spectators in a huge service.” Partly because, the number one statistical predictor of spiritual growth is intimate Christian friends… not church services. The number two predictor is, “Do church members have a ministry in a local church that charges them up?” I.e., Research shows that: If we really give a rip about people’s spiritual growth, we better be stinking amazing & quick at converting them from “church service spectators” into “family members with a ministry.” Most pastors refer to this as an “assimilation process.”
Of course, I’ve always hated the word assimilation because it sounds like a terrifying Star Trek episode hatched by the Borg. And, even though our tan-less Minnesotan staff kind-of look like the Borg (when they wear their cell-phone ear-pieces) we certainly have no desire to strip you of your uniqueness. That’s why, we prefer to use the word Empowerment Process.
But here’s the point: A churches’ assimilation process can have a pretty profound impact on whether or not we can create long-term disciples. For example, we recently had upwards of 50 people make decisions for Christ last Sunday (on Halloween… how cool is that?) But, where do these people go next? Or let’s say… You already love the Lord and love Substance but… you don’t know what to do next. Well, never fear! That’s why we have a brand new “Empowerment Track.”
“What in the World is That!” you ask? Well, it’s a simple “1-2-3” process for getting involved! I.e., Step One is called Starting Point. It’s the 1st place you visit when you want to get the details on all things Substance.
Secondly, we have a crazy new program called, Shift. We want to make it super easy to find your friends and your ministry here. Of course, every quarter, we release a new Substance magazine that highlights all of our new small groups and ministries. (And get ready… because we have a record number of new small groups!) But at Shift, we provide every member of Substance with a personal guidance counselor! I.e., No longer do you need to shuffle through an intimidating number of small groups. We want to sit down with you or your family and help you custom-design a church-experience that’s right for you! I.e., What are the best small groups for your age, your needs, your season of life? No sweat! What are the best “starter-ministries” for you? No problem!
Third, we have a new program called, Launch. There are certain ministries at Substance that we call “starter ministries.” I.e., ministries that help you meet a large number of people. But many of you have a unique call of God on your life that goes far beyond these starter ministries. And we want to make sure that we’re empowering you on a whole deeper level. That’s where Launch comes in.
Again, with Launch, we’ll provide you with a personal guidance counselor who will (among other things) help you discover your gifts, help you create your dream ministry, and design a personal road-map for getting there during your time at Substance. It’s a pretty stinkin cool ministry!
But again: It’s just 3 simple steps: (1) Starting Point; (2) Shift; (3) Launch! If you were super-ambitious, you could probably do all of things in a couple weeks. But one thing is for sure: We’re gonna make it hard to stay a spectator here at Substance.
So if you’re interested in getting more involved, just sign up at our information centers that are present at any one of our weekend campuses. Alternately, feel free to email Pastor Mark Mellen at email@example.com. He’d be happy to help you find the right Shift or Launch small group to fit your age, season or schedule (as we have many).
In the meantime, be praying for Substance. I believe that God will be duplicating our systems in churches all across the U.S. So thanks for making this such a fun place to do life! I love you guys. And it’s fun to keep dreaming up God’s church together!