By Jerry Harris
I hope you enjoyed the new look, feel, and content of last month”s Christian Standard. The first issue under new ownership and leadership was placed on the chairs at the NACC and sent to all of our former subscribers (more than 12,000 of them) as well as all of our college presidents and campus-ministry directors. The goal of this new approach is to pull our movement together, being reminded of the great legacy we stand on, while focusing on new and innovative ways to make the greatest impact in our world for Jesus.
Because of these new initiatives, our print run went from 14,500 to 40,000 for July! While that”s incredible for the magazine, the magazine is not what I really care about. My heart”s desire is for this movement to leverage the incredible power that comes from our unity, and I believe that this magazine can be a tool for that purpose.
Many of us may not know that of the 5,300 churches in our movement, only slightly more than 300 report a weekly attendance over 250. That means 94.3 percent of independent Christian churches average less than that. Instead of wondering how megachurches break the 2,000, 5,000, or 10,000 mark, I want to help empower 1,000 churches to break the 100, 200, 500, or 1,000 barrier. What are the best ideas and practices to help us get there? If 1,000 of those smaller churches of 100 grew to 200, the movement would grow by 100,000! Fresh, realistic ideas to make that happen are all around us””we just need a network to share them, start conversations, and build relationships.
Now you”re holding the second issue. As a pastor like many of you, I”m thinking about how to gear up for the fall. On my desk right now are ideas for an upcoming capital campaign to reduce debt and to reach out further than ever before, a monthly elders report in which I”m casting vision, four thank-you cards to fill out, a book I”m using for the present sermon series, my Bible, and a cup of coffee to keep me awake and alert. Sound familiar? There are people to visit, calls to make, sermons to prepare, staff to manage, bills to pay, a family to raise, and a marriage to cherish. It can get overwhelming, and it”s easy for the well to run dry.
I want to read a story that inspires me, that gives me hope, that puts the smell of fresh bread in the air. I want to be introduced to innovative ideas I can relate to, I can afford, and the elders of my church can get excited about. I want to have access to those ministries so I can drill down deeper and learn more. I wonder how Scott Taube would have moved forward without a relationship with Dave Dummitt or Doug Crozier. What are the relationships that I need to move forward? How do I align my church around core values instead of my own personality? What are the best models I can use to take new ground at my church by investing in a future leader?
You can probably see what I”m driving at, so here”s the question: Can Christian Standard deliver that on a regular basis, or is it a one-hit wonder? My pledge to you is to do my best for Christian Standard to continue to provide the very best in innovative ideas, inspirational stories, rock-solid spiritual truth, accessible relationships, and just plain hope as you battle it out in the trenches of ministry. Thanks for putting your trust in us!
Jerry Harris is publisher of Christian Standard and senior pastor at The Crossing, a multisite church located in three states across the Midwest.