Transition Thoughts - Integration is a Team Sport

If I can be truly honest... and since it's my blog I figure I can be... I wish I could have changed my title here at the church. Why? Because the title of Pastor Integration & Discipleship gives a false sense of what my role was...

Let me explain.

Integration is a Team Sport!

Plain and simple. It is absolutely impossible for one lone person to integrate new guests into the life and ministry of a church by him or herself. In a little church, sure, one key volunteer or one staff member will be able to meet every new person. But after a church reaches a certain size it is just flat out impossible to meet every single new guest who shows up. And most of the time, you never even hear of them until long after they've stopped attending...

I think the problem with having a pastor with the title of "integration" is that the congregation assumes that he is integrating everyone. Truth be told, I have been incredibly ineffective at connecting new people to the church! Now, some reading this will say that I'm being too hard on myself... they'll say that lots of new people are totally connected here.

But the numbers I look at tell me the true story. Strong Christians who move to the area or come here from another church easily get connected here. Why? Because they know how to connect themselves. They know how to play the church game and get plugged into the ministries that they know that they need to grow spiritually. People new to church or just checking out Christianity... well... those people don't connect. In fact, I wouldn't even know they ever set foot in our building. And since I'm being honest those are the people that are the most important to me! I don't really care if a Christian family decided to leave their church and come here because they liked our kids program better or whatever... I already know where they are going to spend their eternity. But that family who might have been struggling and hurting and hoping that the church could give some kind of answer as to why life is the way it is... the family who doesn't know Jesus as Lord and Saviour... and they leave because they were not able to make any connections... AAARRGGGHH! I'd cut off my legs to get them to come back!

My role shouldn't be the lone guy integrating everyone... but the coach and the cheerleader of a much larger team with a passion to see people connected!

Being a church who truly integrates guest into fully devoted disciples of Jesus takes an intentional effort from every single ministry and every single person in the congregation. Greeters, ushers, children's and youth ministry, preaching and worship... all of these things are part of the connecting process and help guests to feel like they belong.

In the past 6 months we have been making really great steps forward in this type of thinking. My prayer is that this will continue long after I'm gone and the church will grow and become much more effective at connecting spiritual seekers and drawing them closer and closer to Jesus!

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