How Can We Help People Grow In Their Faith?

How Can We As A Church Better Help People Grow In Their Faith?

Asked on Sunday 14th October 2007 

Make Sunday services invigorating and engaging – so that people WANT to get out of bed to be here and teenagers WANT to be part of it rather than preferring to do their own separate thing (teenagers are a great litmus test for my church!).

Alpha course. Home groups. Events with the local churches. “Open house” where local people can drop in and see what the church has to offer.

We need to identify what people’s needs are and then see how we can meet hem and show God’s love to them through our facilities and resources.

Bill Hybels says… “Make every service memorable”. we need a radical shift in what happens on Sunday morning – and how it happens.

Guest: be prepared for the future but don’t for go the NOW! You are a church in the now. Don’t expect people to come in on a Sunday if you make the building more accessible. You need to get out there. God bless.

Simply by making newcomers feel welcome and making a special effort with them. Then gradually introducing to them the various groups: oasis, playtime, etc. “Make them feel like they are part of the family”.

Discipleship. One-to-one sessions with a leader that you are accountable to for every individual in the church.

Promote the home group network. Looking around the church I see many new faces. I would like to see (1) home groups listed on the notice sheet, (2) people spoken to and actually asked and encouraged to join one.

Bible Study!

We should have more clubs and activities for adults as well as children. It’s great that there is so much support for children, to help them grow in faith, if only it was the same for adults. There are such activities but often just for the “in crowd”. We need to reach out to everyone.

Groups growing and working together, becoming united.

We get the children under 10 but often lose them in mid teens. So something catering for the youth through the week evenings and weekends.

Sunday as a mega celebration to build up the faithful and draw people in. Buildings that can reach out to everyone, but not to be the focus.

People need to come forward to support and help so those leading don’t burn out. Simple things like having purpose built space would help. Not so much setting up!!

Give everyone the opportunity to have a “personal conversation” with the vision team / clergy about their own personal gifts / needs.

Nourishing people already within the church – active growth groups that meet weekly. Also encourage involvement at events such as “New Day”

Can a centre be erected at te fronto fthe church? It would be visible to all who pass, so they may be tempted to look inside… who knows what they may decide then.

OK – 5 years to go – we have to live in the church centre meanwhile – how about a lick of paint? So far – is it only the men who have vision? Keep our fellowsip strong in care and love for each other right now.

Carry on as we are. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Sharing testimonies in services / part of services for people who would like to encourage others. Quieter areas to pray after services (in particular after 9:15 service)

Try to get possession of the building in the church yard that is on the High Street for use as coffee centre etc.

Involve people from the whole church community in everything that needs doing. Run studies/worship to identify people’s gifts and then the church should provide the framework for them to be used.

By challenging people to depart from their comfort zones and awake their potential. Reminding us being Christian doesn’t just mean going to church! That’s the easy part.

We need a place where: Te music groups and AV team can practice. Where young people can feel comfortable both informally and in celebration

Build on home groups and get more bible based discipleship going – in small groups and one-on-one.

More group sessions / prayer meetings for children especially teens – according to age groups so that they can express their concerns openly and pray about them.

By encouraging everyone to get involved in the new vision for doing things for the community of Egham.

Listen again to Craig’s sermon 1 Cor 1:1-9

The Church should seek to involve all the congregation. We need to provide opportunity for all to serve God in a way which is appropriate to their spiritual gifts, strengths and the resources of the Church.

More access to the church building or new buildings throughout the day. (i.e. somewhere available for quieter times etc.) and informal contact with Christians.

How about buying the rotten square building and turning it into a coffee-house / bookshop?

Prayer partners – make sure when new people join they are assigned a “buddy” to pray with them each week? Facilities: More comfy places to sit in Church centre etc On a different note, maybe even having a big screen outside sharing what’s going on inside!

More worship and prayer Church open more of the time – like a drop in centre

Hold an assembly by our Elders / Members in secondary schools three to four months a year with permission from the relevant authorities

Football on either Sunday after church or maybe Saturday would encourage fellowship between many male (and some female) members of the Church. A Church bus service

Encourage people to go to home groups etc

Materials available on topics we address in sermons for those who want to look into these topics in more detail. This would also be used for home groups. More links to information about other Christian events, organisations and institutions. Perhaps on the website so people can just browse through.

Weekly social activities for students to find fellowship with other Christians. Drop-in Friday pm or Saturday pm Worship time in song followed by social activities her or close by.

Keep off the graveyard and treat it with respect

Toddler groups / General activities to bring the people of Egham into St Johns. Hopefully they will like what they see and stay

Provide a variety of facilities where many types of people would feel comfortable

We do need a larger church centre and car parking but we need to be careful in losing all the churchyard to building and concrete. We need a place were people can sit and reflect outside as well. Football needs to be a school field and in the sports ground – not in church

Teach people how to pray Give regular space for retreats Give space to more women & youth to minister “at the front”

The church’s childrens ministry has probably been it’s greatest triumph, so facilities should be developed to encourage and expand that. Does Alpha need extra facilities?

To continue with the many activities in the church

A few years ago, we had a brief glimpse of being a church with passion, emotion and enthusiasm. Whilst we lacked other things, we had a full downstairs and half-full balcony. Let us find out what we briefly glimpsed, find out how we’ve lost it, and then glimpse again – this time for longer.

A Centre of Ministry in South East. Lots of opportunity for ministry We have the space and could have the facilities to hold courses, conferences that other local church communities could access. To build up the Body of Christ – to walk in freedom.

Better advertisement to the town of the activities in the Church, the services themselves and how to become involved.

Through expanding our small groups ministry. Lent course across the groups.

Get to know people in our community well. Talk to our non-Christian friends about Christ. Invite them to Church and have facilities that celebrate the importance of Christ in our and their lives.

More approachable and specific rooms manned for prayer / fellowship at all times.

Have time before Church on a Sunday for home groups to meet and worship as well as in the evening homes. As well as home groups maybe have 1:1’s scheduled in with those that would like it in the congregation. This would allow more private time with a Church leader to discuss their faith / growth and activity in the Church.

Have more pastoral care for families because sometimes you can feel left out and not cared for. A “hello” and a “how are you” on a Sunday morning is not sufficient.

Yes we need spaces for the children’s and young people’s work, but we also need spaces for adults to come together as large and small groups, and for the local community to “meet” with the church eg coffee shop, community hall.

Not always talking about money.

Home groups and Bible study. Individual contact and communication. Don’t see people as a mass, plan to reach individuals!

More accessible home groups and more of them. Teaching from outside speakers (ie day on prayer, healing, ministry) etc. Specific spaces for children’s groups & then a different one for coffee and meetings – not using the same space. Fun area for children (ie snooker, table tennis, air hockey etec) for after church

UNITY The Church community can still feel quite separate, in all our different groups. We need to be more aware of each other and how we can work together to serve our community in Egham and surrounding areas, as one, rather than us all having separate little projects. How can we use the church more during the week?

Several thoughts: 1) Re-establish small groups and their value. Provide support and development to leaders / allow groups of all sorts of types to develop and grow. 2) provide better/easier to use/appropriate facilities for our children’s work – a huge way to grow our children and their parents.

Children’s groups – space to work in is a key issue. Thinking about how homegroups and main church meetings relate to one another and work together. Student work – More involvement of church families / homes for lunch and support.

More chances to do things as a whole church – get rid of the divisiveness of the 9:15ers and 11 O’clockers – more in the age groups and not gender divisions.

Encourage daily prayer. Encourage daily bible reading Really promote family, do lots of things together like picnics/holidays/sports.

By reaching out to people in the community and showing them love and care letting people know that we are there for them.

Get alongside them and encourage them in the gospel.

Structured Bible study over a year – Old Testament – New Testament The Bible in a year GUIDED : 1 night per week

Use the website to reach out more (put videos in there).

Building relationships Facilities for informal, relaxed social gatherings – “coffee shop” style – comfy chairs and space to chat and really get to KNOW each other.

Have ore activities that could encourage non-believers to join. This will help make people come to church and hopefully get more interaction with Christians.

There needs to be a balance. We need more room for children but at the same time we shouldn’t lose too much of our garden and space.

By being church as a body. Programs etc for all fall flat unless individually and collectively there is a vision that is all ABOUT and all FOR Jesus.

By being the number one provider of nursery care in Egham in terms of staff, facilities and most importantly, warmth of welcome and love of the children. Lets be the nursery that most people long for their children to go to.

Provide a welcoming space for people to come and learn more, pray and have fellowship together. Provide a space dedicated to children’s work, that they can make their own.

By encouraging them to chat – have a meeting place that is “non-threatening” – say a coffee centre.

Provide facilities for people to listen to problems, etc. Opportunities to come together internally for coffee – discussion and fellowship during the day time.

So many! Involve more in leadership. Greater range of worship styles. More use of audio visuals – for all ages – youth, worship meditation and reflection. Facilities for hospitality and catering.

Help people identify their gifts and give them opportunities to see for themselves how amazing it is to use them and feel God’s blessings.

Dedicated inviting space for children, youth and students Better use of website to create community & connections Outside space seems to be focused on memorials to the dead – need some space for the living

A vibrant all-embracing ministry sensitive to the needs of all particularly to those whose worshiping lives began when the buildings and services were VERY different.

A more active MINISTRY team. I would love to see God working each Sunday in people’s lives – encouraging people to be prayed for and hands laid on them after the service at the front on the dais – responding to a call of God (NOT just a prayer team at the side of the church. A time of faith sharing in the service Dwelling on what God is doing in people’s lives. Maybe call it a “Barnabas” spot or an “Encouraging” spot to share what God is doing amongst us.

Better co-ordination of small group activities – currently things move very slowly. Try to ensure that no constituency of people is left out – all should be able to commit in some way with the Body of Christ. Is anything done that focuses on the elderly? People who aren’t in family groups? 20% of UK households are single-occupancy and excessive family friendliness can be off-putting for such people.

More activities during the week on importance of home groups and meetings Rotas for talks / sermons and leading service so that everyone gets the chance for their giftings

Explain who Satan really is as opposed to who Milton and now the “church” thinks he is.

We cannot make disciples, we can only make friends. The Holy Spirit makes disciples. By befriending, encouraging and supporting those outside the faith community we can lead them to a growing knowledge of Jesus’ love.

Emphasis on praying together – prayer partners. To grow we have to be challenged. make sure we have people to be accountable to -> home groups, mentors.

Lots of passion and enthusiasm for worshiping and coming before God on Sunday mornings. Opportunities (rooms / times during week) for prayer together / on own. Continue doing Alpha course.

Expand the types of small groups for discussion – families over Sunday lunch, couples over dinner, etc. Encourage people to pray together.

Ppublic welcome for everyone during the day – bookshop / coffee shop? manned by people with time to talk, pray, offer help and support, communicate things going on they might be interested in.

Room readily available for people from outside to come and express problems – coffee bar? Hospitality groups – making people feel welcome.

Providing groups to encourage the community to become involved with our church. By prayer and worship.

Give people more opportunity to step out in faith through the church. e.g. healing ministry etc. “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat”!

Explain difficult concepts in terms we can understand and are relevant to our lives today. Link it all to God’s word – posters, banners for the community.

The importance of Home Groups.

By having a wide/wider variety of church groups which fit in with everyones needs/levels and requirements.

Provide appropriate facilities according to needs of particular age group at particular times. i.e. rooms/areas large and small that will accommodate groups. Give opportunities for people to meet together at different times, weekday as well as evening.

More small groups. Big advertising – can we use modern technology for this purpose? Extension of Christianity Explained.

Good teaching. Expand small groups. Training for leaders.

Expand/encourage home group network. Consider also Cell Church structure.

Later in life lessons, offer local people who are new to the church a pathway of simple lessons about following God and the ways of the local church.

We need multiple “classroom” spaces for groups of 10 to 20 to meet. We need to make these comfortable and accessible to outsiders – just getting people into our space and meeting Christians is a start. We need a “History of St John’s” museum corner that is open a lot and interesting to visit.

Have a visible centre (i.e. from High Street) that “welcomes” people in, and enables them to see the children/young people/old people/facilities offered by the church. Involve the police, social services, etc.

Relationships are so important – we need to have facilities to help people come together to share their questions, problems, issues in safe environment – people on hand who are trained.

More teaching More courses such as Alpha etc Encourage people to take part in Alpha, Bible study etc

By creating more opportunities for men to engage with Church in ways that they can relate to. By being more involved IN the community and not expecting the community always to come to us.

Home groups need to be aware of each others individual needs within each group and offer not only prayer support but meet peoples practical needs, particularly when many of our members live alone. Strong relationships in groups build up our faith and impact on others too.

Focus on trying to help people become humble so they can be open to God’s outpouring to the world through the humility of the people that make up God’s Church.

Discipleship – through various small group activities but not only “small groups”.

From the student perspective, it would be great to have lots of publicity on campus and in Egham so that the church is known about or “famous”, hopefully as famous as say the SU or Subway or Tescos! So that every student knows St John’s is here and what goes on.

Amalgamate with United Church on High Street. Have meetings during week in evenings. Build a house for youth pastor.

Organise groups of Pathfinders & CYFA to go to Soul Survivor / Spring Harvest – Youth Camp. Build a Youth Centre for use by the Church and the wider community. Launch a local radio station.

Encourage everyone to be part of a small(er) group. Perhaps pray in a triplet, join a home group – be part of a team within the church. Having a real sense of belonging to the church helps to encourage commitment to God – one supports the other

Encourage involvement by making projects accessible. Set up teams and working parties to maintain / garden / decorate our facilities. The result will be that those who are on the periphery may find a way to involvement and consequently going deeper spiritually.

By providing facilities to help people grow in their faith.

School of Theology – Please!

I think homegroups are essential – they offer an opportunity for growth, support, challenge and fellowship which is very difficult to achieve on a Sunday morning.

Large programme of Discipleship courses. Our own Bible school? – could be evenings or weekends if necessary.

Providing somewhere for young people in particular to meet in the evenings and at weekends – could be used in the day for young mums and senior citizens Space for community events – wedding receptions, birthday parties – pleasant but not extortionate.

Build up a community spirit in the church. Events to bring people together. Then can unite and spread the good news in Egham.

Cafe ministry – finding a cafe Sunday morning where you could have space to have chats with people about the gospel.

More food/communal dining. More sports together. Inter age groups.

Encourage every member to join a small group or lead a small group. Growing in faith comes from the word of God – hearing it and understanding it – this can be achieved through small groups.

By actively being involved in the life of our community reaching out to others. Good teaching, discussion groups. Don’t think controversial issues.

Growing in our faith happens through example and experience – something to rely on. Serious Bible study leads to expectation of God to act in our day. We can confine God to the pages of a book, or we can believe God resulting in action on His precepts (different from believing IN God). We need to see the difference between receiving a pre-digested version of the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word direct to our hearts. Testimony also promotes expection and rejoicing in God and could be an exciting part of our Sunday services.

Provision of facilities for sports and active church activities. Children need a place that is purpose built for their needs. Business standard facilities to provide needs of local business. Powerful teaching is key for growth.

Encourage everyone to be part of a home group.

1) love them. 2) spend time with them where they are. 3) invite them to God’s place at St John’s

Key question: What is God’s plan for the future growth of St Johns in Egham? Most of the answers to that are found in His Word. Perhaps we should get on board His train instead of telling Him where to go! Please Lord, start changing me.

More follow up courses / home groups for things like Alpha and Christianity Explored.