Your primer for the IBSA Annual Meeting #IBSA15

Lisa Sergent —  November 9, 2015

God uses healthy congregations to build his kingdom in Illinois. But what makes a church healthy so that it grows by making disciples? Studies show these five commitments are the building blocks for kingdom growth.

IBSA Annual Meeting1. Can I get a witness?

Numbers to think about:

  • 73% of born again Christians say they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others.
  • 52% have actually done so in the past year, according to Barna research.

If we believe hope in Jesus Christ is the greatest news a person could receive, why do 31% of adults never evangelize? For many people the answer is they don’t know how. And they lack confidence.

When churches focus on intentionally training believers to effectively share their faith, members start to gain confidence in becoming active disciple-makers.

2. Welcoming newcomers, discipling new believers

Christ-followers need Christian community. “We often fail to realize the importance of new groups in light of a church’s discipleship emphasis,” said Eric Geiger of LifeWay. They “generate excitement…provide a fresh point of focus for the church family.”

Studies show that believers actively involved in a group actually pray, serve, give, and read their Bible more than those not plugged in to regular community.

The Millennial generation, especially, places a high value on relationships­­­–most citing group activities as main reasons they stay connected to the church.

3. Prayer is over all we do

More than 95% of those who pray to accept Jesus have been regularly prayed for by someone else for a significant amount of time, according to the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. Without effective prayer, a church cannot be effective in evangelism. As author and pastor Richard Krejcir said, “Prayer is our key to God’s door. It is…essential in our witnessing. It is the work of Christ through the work of the Spirit that saves.”

When churches put an emphasis on the power of witnessing through prayer, the body experiences great growth individually as well as corporately.

4. Start with the kids!

Vacation Bible School is the single most effective evangelistic tool churches have. LifeWay VBS specialist Jerry Wooley reports nearly 3 million people participated in Vacation Bible School in 2014, and 80,000 children made professions of faith.

In addition, 1 million unchurched individuals were identified.

Young people are most likely to accept Jesus Christ as Savior:

  • 43% of Americans come to Christ before age 13, and
  • 64% do so before their 18th birthday.

So why not bring the biggest need (salvation) together with the best opportunity (VBS)?

Last year, 432 IBSA churches didn’t hold a Vacation Bible School. For them, faithful old VBS is new territory!

And for all churches, there are opportunities and resources to expand VBS to weekends and weeknights, Winter VBS, and joint VBS with other churches in parks, backyards, and apartment complexes.

5. Events connect churches and communities

The call to reach the whole world with the gospel starts right here, right in the community around your church. That’s your Jerusalem.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all outreach event for every congregation, churches with successful community involvement do have one thing in common: they make outreach the priority.

  • Add an additional worship service
  • Send members into the community to meet needs
  • Host a bake sale, volunteer at a 5k, serve at a homeless shelter.

Whatever outreach looks like for your community, do it! Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Does your church need to make a fresh commitment to any of these areas?

Prioritize these building blocks for your church and visit the Church Resources Team at the IBSA Annual Meeting. They’ll give you resources to take back to your church.

Be sure to attend the evening session at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, November 11 to learn more even more. Or contact the Church Resources Team for assistance with your fresh commitments to effective ministry.

Each building block has potential in God’s hands to build up your church—and His Kingdom!

Visit www.IBSA.org/IBSA2015 to learn more about the Nov. 11-12 IBSA Annual Meeting and the Nov. 10-11 Pastors’ Conference at Marion FBC. #IBSA15

Lisa Sergent

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Lisa is IBSA Director of Communications. A Missouri native, she moved to Illinois 22 years ago and arrived at IBSA a few years later. Lisa and her husband, Chris, have been married 19 years.

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    […] on a giant map of Illinois and investing in one or more of five commitments for kingdom growth. (The “commitments” are detailed HERE, and will be featured in the Nov. 23 issue of the Illinois Baptist newspaper and in Nate Adams’ […]

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