The Purpose Driven Church – Outline & Synopsis



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The Purpose Driven Church – Outline & Synopsis

Surfing Spiritual Waves (pp. 13-22)

Principles/opinions

a) Today, God is creating wave after wave of people receptive to the Gospel; more people are receptive to the Good News. However, churches are missing the spiritual waves because they haven’t been taught the needed skills to bring revival, health, and explosive growth.

b) Don’t ask “What will make our church grow”; ask “What is keeping our church from growing”.

c) The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur.

d) The key issue for churches in the 21st century will be church health, not church growth. (Col 2:19). The NT is the greatest church-growth book ever written – it’s the owner’s manual for the church.

e) Pastors are the most strategic change agents to deal with the problems society faces.

Part One – Seeing the Big Picture

1. The Saddleback Story (pp. 25-46)

Principles/opinions

a) Ministry is a marathon. It’s not how you start that matters, but how you end. If you minister out of love, you can never be considered a failure.

b) Saddleback did NOT have to deal with decades of tradition, and thus could experiment freely. They tried more things that didn’t work than did.

c) Long pastorates make deep, trusting, caring relationships possible. Churches that rotate pastors every few years will never experience growth (analogy: kids getting new father every few years).

e) Wherever God guides, He provides.

f) Intelligent, caring conversation opens doors for evangelism faster. Expressing genuine interest in the people, and showing that you understand their problems are the keys.

g) Shoe must never tell the foot how big it can grow (analogy for having size of building dictate growth). People are far more important than property – property cannot be a barrier.

Suggested Application

a) do NOT copy things Saddleback did without considering the context. Look beneath the methods to see the transferable principles on which they are based.

b) do NOT encourage believers to transfer; consider discouraging it; do NOT desire transfer growth – gear towards unchurched. (Mark 2:17)

c) Measure health or strength of churches by sending capacity, not seating capacity.

2. Myths about Growing Churches (pp. 47-71)

Principles/opinions

MYTH 1: THE ONLY THING THAT LARGE CHURCHES CARE ABOUT IS ATTENDANCE

a) Churches need to grow: 1) warmer through fellowship, 2) deeper through discipleship, 3) stronger through worship, 4) broader through ministry, 5) larger through evangelism

b) God adds growth when the church appropriately fulfills the 5 purposes; church growth is a natural result of church health.

c) Good church health can only occur when our message is biblical, and the mission is balanced (across 5 purposes).

d) Intelligently setting up a strategy and a structure to force ourselves to give equal attention to each purpose is what being a purpose-driven church is all about.
MYTH 2: ALL LARGE CHURCHES GROW AT THE EXPENSE OF SMALL CHURCHES

e) Transferring Christians from one church to another is not consistent with the Great Commission – “be fishers of men, not swap fish between aquariums.”

MYTH 3: YOU MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN QUALITY AND QUANTITY IN YOUR CHURCH

f) Quality refers to the kind of disciples a church produces. Quantity is the number of disciples a church produces. An exclusive focus on either will produce an unhealthy church.

g) Quality produces Quantity. When God finds a healthy church that is doing a quality job of winning, nurturing, equipping, and sending out believers, he sends that church plenty of “raw material” (prospective believers).

h) Quantity produces Quality in some areas (music, peer group ministries). There is no correlation between the size and quality of a ministry – as long as there are lost people in the world, we MUST care about quantity as well as quality.

MYTH 4: YOU MUST COMPROMISE THE MESSAGE AND THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN ORDER TO GROW

i) Jesus drew large crowds, yet he never compromised the truth.

j) Don’t confuse expectations; expectations for unbelieving attenders and actual church members are different.

k) Challenging people to a serious commitment actually attracts people rather than repel them. Many unbelievers are fed up and bored with what the world offers. Asking for commitment doesn’t turn people off – it is the way many churches ask for it.

l) “ambidextrous calling” – remain faithful to the unchanging word of God, yet minister to an ever-changing world. Jesus never lowered His standards, but he always started where people were; He was contemporary without compromising.
MYTH 5: IF YOU ARE DEDICATED ENOUGH, YOUR CHURCH WILL GROW

m) It takes more than dedication to lead a church to grow; it takes skill. (Eccl 10:10)

n) Take the time to learn the skills needed for ministry, and continuously hone, sharpen, and retrain skills. We must also use the right skills and tools for the right ministry, and at the right time.

o) There is a time to pray, and a time to act responsibly.

p) Churches grow by the power of God through the skilled efforts of people. Church growth is a partnership between God and man; we cannot do it without God, but He has decided not to do it without us. (I Cor 3:6,9). While we wait for God to work for us, God is waiting to work through us.

MYTH 6: THERE IS ONE SECRET KEY TO CHURCH GROWTH

q) There is more than one way to grow a church – some through SS, some through small groups, some through contemporary music, and some through traditional music.

r) It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Never confuse the methods with the message. The message must never change, but the methods must change with each new generation.

s) Never criticize what God is blessing, even though it may be a style of ministry that is uncomfortable.

MYTH 7: ALL GOD EXPECTS OF US IS FAITHFULNESS

t) God expects faithfulness and fruitfulness: 1) We are called to bear fruit (John 15:16), 2) Being fruitful is the way we glorify God (John 15:8), 3) Being fruitful pleases God (Col 1:10), 4) Jesus reserves His severest judgment for the unfruitful (Matt 21:19), 5) The nation of Israel lost its privilege because of unfruitfulness (Matt 21:43).

u) Fruit examples: repentance (Matt 3:8, Luke 13:5-9), practicing the truth (Matt 7:16-21, Col 1:10), answered prayer (John 15:7-8), an offering of money given by believers (Rom 15:28), Christlike character, and winning unbelievers to Christ (Rom 1:13).

v) Definition of fruitfulness for a local church must include growth by the conversion of unbelievers. The Bible clearly identifies numerical growth of the church as fruit (Col 1:6).

w) Any church that is not obeying the Great Commission is failing its purpose, no matter what else it does.

x) Jesus defines faithfulness in terms of behavior – a willingness to take risks (that requires faith) in order to be fruitful (Matt 25:14-30). Faithfulness is accomplishing as much as possible with the resources and talents God has given you.

y) When a church continues to use methods that no longer work, it is being unfaithful to Christ. Many churches are completely orthodox in their beliefs, but are unfaithful to Christ because they refuse to change programs, methods, styles of worship, buildings, or even locations to reach a lost world for Christ.

MYTH 8: YOU CAN’T LEARN FROM LARGE CHURCHES

z) Saddleback’s growth is a sovereign act of God that cannot be replicated; however, churches can extract the lessons and principles, methods, and processes that are transferable.

aa) No method is meant to last forever or work everywhere, but that doesn’t make it worthless. Methods are expressions of principles. We must never become so enamored with methods that we lose sight of our mission and forget our message.

bb) Churches need truth to grow.

Suggested Application

a) The church must offer something people can’t get anywhere else.

b) All prospective members must complete a membership class, sign a membership covenant (e.g., agree to give financially, serve in a ministry, share their faith, follow the leadership, avoid gossip, maintain a Godly lifestyle), take additional classes and sign growth covenants. If one does not fulfill the membership covenant, one is dropped from the membership roll.

c) Churches need to explain the purpose, value, and benefits of commitment, and have a process to help people take steps in their commitment.

d) Do not foolishly imitate the latest fad and fashion; do not offer the message of the Gospel while ignoring the cost and responsibility of following Christ.

e) Do not engage in “practical humanism” (assume ALL responsibility for church growth) nor “pious irresponsibility” (abdicating ALL responsibility for it).

f) If we are not taking any risks in our ministry, then it is not requiring that we have faith. If our ministry does not require any faith, then we are being unfaithful.

g) Do NOT try to transfer Saddleback’s context. Every community is unique; to artificially plant a Saddleback clone in a different environment is a formula for failure.

h) Do NOT try to replicate Saddleback’s staff. The leadership of any program is always more crucial than the program itself.

i) Do NOT try to be Rick Warren. God wants us to use our gifts, passion, natural abilities, personalities, and experiences (SHAPE) to impact our part of the world.

j) Grow the church by using principles someone else discovered, and then filter them through your personality and context. Don’t be embarrassed to use a model (I Thess 1:6-7).

Part Two – Becoming a Purpose Driven Church

3. What Drives Your Church? (pp. 75-83)

Principles/opinions

a) Churches driven by Tradition. The goal of a tradition-driven church is to simply perpetuate the past. Change is almost always negative, and stagnation is interpreted as “stability”. Older churches tend to be bound together by rules, regulations, and rituals, and younger churches tend to be bound by purpose and mission.

b) Churches driven by Personality. Its agenda is determined more by background, needs, and insecurities of the leader, rather than by God’s will or needs of the people. The church comes to a standstill when that driving personality leaves.

c) Churches driven by Finances. Nothing ever seems quite as important as finances. While good stewardship and cash flow are essential for a healthy church, finances should never be the controlling issue. Churches do NOT exist to make a profit. Many churches are driven by faith in the early years, and driven by finances in their later years.

d) Churches driven by Programs. All the energy is focused on maintaining and sustaining programs of the church. Often the goal subtly shifts from developing people to just filling positions. No one questions if a program still works.

e) Churches driven by Buildings. Paying for and maintaining the building becomes the biggest budget item; funds are sometimes diverted from ministries to pay mortgage. On the other hand, some churches allow the smallness of their buildings to set the limit for future growth. Staying with a historic, but inadequate building should never take priority over reaching the community.

f) Churches driven by Events. Impression is that the goal is to keep people busy. Something is going on every night of the week. A church may be busy without having a clear purpose for what it does. Attendance becomes the sole measurement of faithfulness and maturity.

g) Churches driven by Seekers. In an honest attempt to reach unbelievers, some churches allow the needs of unbelievers to drive them. The church should be seeker sensitive, but it must not be seeker driven.

h) Our church, regardless of size and location, will be healthier, stronger, and more effective by becoming a purpose-driven church. The key to building something that lasts is to build it on the right foundation.

i) Plans, programs, and personalities don’t last, but God’s purposes will last. Unless the driving force behind a church is biblical, the health and growth of the church will never be what God intended.
Suggested Application

a) Remember to ask if a program still works, and is meeting a church’s purpose.

b) Be wary of the tendency to allow meetings to replace ministry as the primary activity of believers.

c) Do NOT allow seekers to drive the TOTAL agenda for the church. Adapt the communication style to our culture without adopting the sinful elements of it or abdicating to it.

d) We must begin to look at everything the church is doing through the lens of 5 NT purposes, and see how God intends the church to balance all 5 purposes.

e) For a new church, the first step is to define your purpose. For an existing church, the most important task is to redefine your purpose – forget everything else until you have established it in the minds of your members. Nothing will revitalize a discouraged church faster than rediscovering its purpose.

4. The Foundation for a Healthy Church (pp. 85-94)

Principles/opinions

a) The church’s foundation determines both its size and strength. To build a healthy, strong, and growing church, one must spend time laying a strong foundation.

b) Morale and mission always go together (I Cor 1:10); if your mission is unclear, your morale will be low. A clear purpose not only defines what we do, but what we don’t do.

c) In a purpose-driven church, decision making becomes easier and less frustrating; any goal or activity that fulfills one of those purposes gets automatic approval.

d) Most churches try to do too much, and thus we wear people out. The older a church gets, the truer this becomes – programs and events get added to the agenda without cutting anything out. A bloated church calendar diffuses the energy of a church.

e) Being efficient is not the same as being effective. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. God wants churches to be effective – continually reviewing the purpose can keep priorities straight and the church focused. People want to join a church that knows where it’s going – Paul was always clear on his purpose.

f) Explaining the church’s purpose before they join will not only reduce conflict and disappointment in the church, but also help some people realize they should join another church because of philosophy or personal taste.

g) No correlation exists between the size and strength of a church – bigger is not necessarily better.
Suggested Application

a) If an activity does not fulfill one of the purposes for a church, do not let it distract you from God’s agenda for the church. Similarly, if an activity meets those criteria, we must consider it.

b) Do not major in minors, or become distracted by good but less important agendas, crusades, and purposes.

c) Consider NOT starting a new ministry until the right leader emerges. Don’t try to do everything at once.

d) If you want your members to get excited about the church, actively support it, and generously give to it, you must vividly explain up front exactly where the church is headed. Spell out the church’s purposes and priorities, and clearly explain strategy and structure in a membership class.

e) Don’t let whiners set the agenda for the church.

f) Being a purpose-driven church takes time; we need to lead the church through four critical phases: 1) define our purposes, 2) communicate those purposes to everyone in the church – on a regular basis, 3) organize the church around the purposes, 4) apply the purposes to every part of the church.

5. Defining Your Purposes (pp. 95-109)

Principles/opinions

a) Wise leaders understand that people will give mental and verbal assent to what they are told, but they will hold with conviction what they discover for themselves.

b) It’s Christ’s church, not ours – He has already established the purposes, and they are non-negotiable. Our duty is to understand the purposes of Christ, and to implement them. The programs must change in every generation, the purposes never change. We may be innovative in the style of ministry, but we must never alter the substance of it.

c) Condensing your purpose statement down to a single sentence is absolutely important; it will have limited value if people can’t remember it.

d) WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE PURPOSE STATEMENT?

1) It is biblical (expresses NT doctrine of the church)

2) It is specific (simple, clear, forces focus of energy – what can we do that only the church can do)

3) It is transferable (short enough to be remembered and passed on by everyone – make it memorable)

4) It is measurable (provide a specific standard by which we can review, revise, and improve everything)

e) People don’t remember sermons/speeches – they remember simple statements, slogans, phrases.

f) A Great Commitment to a Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a Great Church.

g) All the Law and all the prophets can be condensed into two tasks: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. With the Great Commission, Jesus assigned three more tasks: go make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything Jesus taught.

h) FIVE PURPOSES OF THE CHURCH

1) Love the Lord with all your heart (worship: the church exists to worship God (Matt 4:10) – we should worship

because we want to, not out of duty)

2) Love your neighbor as yourself (ministry: the church exists to minister to people (Eph 4:12) – the church is to

minister to all kinds of needs: spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical)

3) Go and make disciples (evangelism: the church exists to communicate God’s word (Matt 28:19-20) – The Great

Commission is documented in 5 books (4 gospels, Acts), and thus is very important)

4) Baptizing them (fellowship: identification w/ the body of Christ (Eph 2:19) – the church exists to provide

fellowship for believers; baptism is a symbol of salvation AND fellowship)

5) Teaching them to obey (discipleship: the church exists to edify/educate God’s people (Col 1:28) – discipleship is

the process of helping people become more like Christ in thought, feeling, & action)

Jesus included all 5 elements in His earthly ministry (John 17); Paul explained them in Eph 4:1-16. Today, the purposes are

unchanged: the church exists to edify, encourage, exalt, equip, and evangelize; however, churches will differ in how they

accomplish these tasks.

i) A clear purpose statement will provide direction, the vitality, the boundaries, and the driving force for everything you do. Purpose-driven churches will be the churches best equipped to minister during the all the changes of the 21st century.
Suggested Application

a) Begin by involving your congregation in a study of the biblical passages on the church (suggestion: Dynamic Bible Study Methods, by Rick Warren) – see page 96-97 for a list of suggested passages.

b) Consider the following when studying the purposes of the church: 1) Christ’s ministry on earth, 2) images and names of the church, 3) examples of NT churches, 4) commands of Christ. Ponder the following questions: 1) Why does the church exist, 2) What are we to be as a church (who and what are we), 3) What are we to do as a church (What does God want done in the world), 4) How are we to do it.

c) Put your findings in writing – you’re building a foundation that will support everything else we do for years to come. Even though we may already know the NT purposes, it is vital for the congregation to review all that the Bible has to say about the church and write down their own conclusions.

d) Condense what you’ve discovered about the church by grouping similar concepts together under major headings such as evangelism, worship, fellowship, spiritual maturity, and ministry. State all major themes in a single paragraph, then edit out unnecessary words/phrases to get down to a single sentence.

e) Consider stating the purpose statement: 1) in terms of results, 2) encourage participation by every member, 3) arrange into a sequential process. Instead of trying to grow a church with programs, focus on growing people with a process.

6. Communicating Your Purposes (pp. 111-119)

Principles/opinions

a) The “Nehemiah Principle” – Vision and purpose must be restated every 26 days to keep the church moving in the right direction. This is the foremost responsibility of leadership.

b) WAYS TO COMMUNICATE VISION AND PURPOSE

1) Scripture: teach the Biblical truth about the church; teach the doctrine passionately and frequently. Show how

every part of your church’s vision is biblically based.

2) Symbols: people often need visual representations of concepts to grasp them.

3) Slogans: slogans, maxims, mottoes, and pithy phrases are remembered long after sermons are forgotten. A simple

slogan, repeatedly shared with conviction, can motivate people to do things they would normally never do.

4) Stories: use stories to dramatize the purposes of your church. Jesus used simple stories to help people understand.

5) Specifics: give practical, clear, concrete action steps that explain how your church intends to fulfill its purposes.

When a vision is vague, it holds no attraction. Apply the purposes personally to each member’s life.

c) FIVE GOALS FOR BELIEVERS THAT WILL PERSONALIZE THE PURPOSES

1) God wants me to be a member of his family (personalized goal of fellowship): Following Christ is more than

just believing – its also belonging (Eph 2:19).

2) God wants me to be a model of his character (personalized goal of discipleship): Becoming like Christ is the

biblical definition of “spiritual maturity” (I Pet 2:21). Maturity is measured by lifestyle, not learning.

3) God wants me to be a minister of His grace (personalized goal of ministry): God intends every believer to have a

ministry, and to use their gifts, talents, and opportunities to serve others (I Pet 4:10).

4) God wants me to be a messenger of His love (personalized goal of evangelism): We are to plead with unbelievers

to receive the love He offers – to be reconciled to God. There are only two things you can’t do in heaven that you

can do on earth: sin, and witness to unbelievers.

5) God wants me to be a magnifier of His name (personalized goal of worship): Note the first commandment; there

is an inborn urge in each person to worship – if not God, then something else.

d) The church provides things that cannot be found anywhere else in the world: worship helps people focus on God; fellowship helps them face life’s problems; discipleship helps fortify their faith; ministry helps them find their talents; evangelism helps them fulfill their mission.

Suggested Application

a) Personalize the purposes of the church by showing how they are members’ responsibility to fulfill, and how they are the members’ privilege to enjoy.

b) Preach an annual “state of the church” message, reviewing the five purposes. Use “creative redundancy” – repeating yourself in creative ways. Restate the purpose on a regular basis; teach them over and over; utilize as many different media as possible.


Purpose

Task

Acts 2:42-47

Objective

Target

Life

Component



Basic

Human Need



The Church Provides

Emotional

Benefit


Outreach

Evangelize

“…added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Mission

Community

My Witness

Purpose to live for

A Focus for living

Significance

Worship

Exalt


“They devoted themselves to…breaking of bread and prayers…praising God.”

Magnify

Crowd

My Worship

Power to live on

A Force for living

Stimulation

Fellowship

Encourage

“…devoted to the fellowship…all the believers were together…they ate together”.

Membership

Congregation

My Relationships

People to live with

A Family for living

Support

Discipleship

Edify

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”

Maturity

Committed

My Walk

Principles to live by

A Foundation for living

Stability

Service

Equip

“They gave to anyone as he had need.”

Ministry

Core

My Work

Profession to live out

A Function for living

Self-Expression

7. Organizing Around Your Purposes (pp. 121-136)

Principles/opinions

a) For any renewal to last in a church, there must be a structure to nurture and support it. Balance is the key to a healthy church. Unless you set up a system and a structure to intentionally balance the five purposes, your church will tend to overemphasize the purpose that best expresses the gifts and passions of its pastor.

b) FIVE KINDS OF CHURCHES

1) The Soul Winning Church. (Evangelism) The church’s main goal is to save souls; it is always reaching out to the

lost. Anything other than evangelism is relegated to a secondary role.

2) The Experiencing God Church. (Worship) The focus is on experiencing the presence and power of God in

worship. The worship service receives more attention than anything else.

3) The Family Reunion Church. (Fellowship) Pastor is highly relational, loves people, and spends most of his time

caring for members. The gathering is more important than the goals. ~80% of churches fall into this category.

4) The Classroom Church. (Discipleship) Pastor emphasizes preaching/teaching, and de-emphasizes others. A

Classroom church may have the word “Bible” in its name.

5) The Social Conscience Church. (Ministry) This church is out to change society. Liberal (focus on injustice in

society) and Conservative (focus on moral decline), plays a major role in political process.

Members of each one of these churches see themselves as the most spiritual. Much of the conflict occurs when a pastor’s

gifts and passion do not match what the church has been in the past.



Paradigm

Primary Focus

Pastor’s Role

People’s Role

Primary Target

Key Term

Central Value

Tools Used

Source of Legitimacy

Soul

Winning Church



Evangelism

Evangelist

Witnesses

The Community

Save

Decisions for Christ

Visitation & Altar Call

Number Baptized

Experiencing God

Church


Worship

Worship Leader

Worshipers

The Crowd

Feel

Personal Experience

Music & Prayer

“The Spirit”

Family Reunion Church

Fellowship

Chaplain

Family Members


The Congregation

Belong

Loyalty & Tradition

Fellowship Hall & Potluck

Our Heritage

Bible Classroom Church

Edification

Instructor

Students

The Committed

Know

Bible Knowledge

Notebooks & Overheads

Verse by Verse Teaching

Social Conscience Church

Ministry

Reformer

Activists

The Core

Care

Justice & Mercy

Petitions & Placards

Number of Needs Met

Purpose Driven Church

Balance All Five

Equipper

Ministers

All Five

Be & Do

Christlike Character

Life Development Process

Changed Lives

c) The most that one pastor can reasonably care for is ~200 members.

d) FIVE MAJOR PARACHURCH MOVEMENTS (Most specialize in one purpose of the church)

1) The Lay Renewal Movement. Refocused the church on the ministry of all Christians, to reemphasize that He

has called and gifted every believer to service.

2) The Discipleship/Spiritual Formations Movement. Reemphasis on developing believers to full maturity, to build

up Christians and to establish personal spiritual disciplines.

3) The Worship/Renewal Movement. Refocusing the church on the importance of worship, new worship forms,

greater emphasis on corporate worship.

4) The Church Growth Movement. Refocused on evangelism, missions, and corporate growth.

5) The Small Group/Pastoral Care Movement. Refocus the church on fellowship and relationships within the body.

e) There is no single key to church health and church growth; there are many keys. For balance, Saddleback uses “Circles of Commitment” (who they do it with) and “Life Development Process” (what they do).

f) Circles of Commitment (outer to inner):

1) The Community. The starting point; the unchurched we want to reach. Where evangelism takes place.

2) The Crowd. Everyone who shows up on Sunday for services; regular attendees. Believers and unbelievers, attend

worship and typically nothing else.

3) The Congregation. Group of official members of the church; committed to fellowship.

4) The Committed. Godly and growing, serious about their faith, but not actively serving in a ministry. They

are dedicated to discipleship, but not in ministry.

5) The Core. Those dedicated minority who are committed to ministering to others – the heart of the church.

g) Having more attenders than members means the church is being effective in attracting the unchurched and building a pool for evangelism – a good rule of thumb is 25% more “Crowd” than “Congregation”.

h) Every person is at a different level of spiritual commitment. Jesus asked for commitment only after demonstrating his love for them and earning their trust. A crowd is not a church, but a crowd can be turned into a church.


Suggested Application

a) Saddleback defines “The Community” as unchurched, occasional attenders (those that attend service 4 times a year).

b) No use in having non-resident or inactive members on the roll; consider removing those once a year. If your church has more members on your church roll than you have in attendance, you should seriously redefine the meaning of membership in your congregation.

c) Do not use the same approach for all people.

8. Applying Your Purposes (pp. 137-152)

Principles/opinions

a) The most difficult part is applying the purposes (programming, scheduling, budgeting, staffing, preaching, etc.). The process may take months, even years, of praying, planning, preparing, and experimenting.

b) TEN WAYS TO BE PURPOSE DRIVEN

1) Assimilate new members on purpose. Move people “inwards” towards the center circle (Core). Grow the church

the from the outside in, not inside out. Start with community, not core. The problem with inside out is that by the

time the church planter has “discipled” his core, they have lost contact w/ the community and are often afraid of

interacting with the unchurched. “Koinonitis” – developing such a close knit group that newcomers are afraid to or

unable to break into it. Solid, stable churches are not built in a day – oak trees take 60 years to mature.

2) Program around your purposes. Choose & design your programs to fulfill your purposes. Clarify the purpose for

every program in the church. Replace a program when you find one that does a better job than the one you’re

using. For Community, Saddleback uses “bridge events”; some are overtly evangelistic, some are pre-evangelism,

to just introduce the church to the unchurched. For Crowd, Saddleback uses weekend seeker services; members

bring unsaved friends to whom they are witnessing, and to assist personal evangelism, not replace it. For



Committed, Saddleback has the Life Development Institute; designed for spiritual growth (Bible studies, seminars,

workshops, mentoring, independent study programs), with a separate midweek worship service. For Core,

Saddleback uses SALT (Saddleback Advanced Leadership Training) – a 2 hour, once a month rally for sharing of

reports, testimonies, vision casting by pastors, skill-building, leadership training, prayer, and lay minister

commissioning. No single program can minister to all the people who compose each circle in your church.

3) Educate your people on purpose. Transformation will not happen by chance. Saddleback uses the “Life

Development Process” – the baseball diamond model (1st base: Committed to Membership (knowing Christ),

2nd base: Committed to Maturity (Growing in Christ), 3rd base: Committed to Ministry (Serving Christ), Home Plate: Committed to Missions (Sharing Christ). Churches typically fall short at getting people to third

base – finding an appropriate ministry for each person – and even fewer equip members to win others for Christ.

A church’s strength is not seen in how many show up for services (crowd), but how many serve in the core.

4) Start small groups on purpose. Specialized groups are created for specific groups (seeker, support, service,

growth). Each small group does NOT fulfill every purpose, but one must be organized around at least one

purpose of the church.

5) Add staff on purpose. Each staff is given a purpose-based job description. Saddleback looks for character

and competence, but also looks for passion about one of the purposes of the church.

6) Structure on purpose. Saddleback assigns lay minister to one of 5 purpose-based teams (Missions, Music,

Membership, Maturity, Ministry).

7) Preach on purpose. Plan a preaching schedule that includes a series on each of the 5 purposes over the course

of a year. Personalize the purposes – preach with a purpose.

8) Budget on purpose. The way a church spends its time and the way a church spends its money show what’s

really important to the church.

9) Calendar on purpose. Designate specific months to give special emphasis to each purpose. If you don’t schedule

your purposes on your calendar, they won’t get emphasized.

10) Evaluate on purpose. To remain effective, you need to continually evaluate what you do; build review and

revision into your process. Without evaluation, you will be unable to make mid-course corrections and probably

never hit your target. Consider developing a tool similar to the “Saddleback Snapshot”.

c) If unchanging purposes guide your church, you will be able to work on fulfilling those purposes better each passing year. The more your members understand and commit to your purposes, the stronger your church will become.
Suggested Application

a) Take it slow – focus on progress, not perfection.

b) Build a multidimensional ministry by assimilating new members in a purposeful way, focusing on one level of commitment at a time. Don’t feel that you have to do everything at once.




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