Back in the 1992 elections, Bill Clinton’s political machine used the phrase, “It’s about the economy, stupid!” to remind themselves of their priority. If they were going to run a successful campaign, they had to keep the message focused on the economy.
In church world in the 90s, you may have heard leaders use the phrase, “It’s all about the weekend, stupid!” The philosophy was if the weekend services aren’t great, it impacts the growth of every area of the ministry.
Since we do ministry in America in the middle of a very consumer-driven culture, I still believe our weekend services are critical to sharing the Gospel. People who don’t know Christ are consumers before they are convicted and committed Christ-followers. If the weekend service experience isn’t intentional, people who are still consumers will not stay engaged. We can present the Gospel, but they won’t be there to hear it. We can challenge people to become fully-devoted followers of Christ, but they won’t be there to hear that challenge.
That said, there’s a danger if we assume the weekend service is the only component of a discipleship strategy. Primarily, that’s an issue because it’s not God’s design for spiritual growth. Corporate worship and teaching is one component, but it’s not the only component.
At West Ridge, our focus is instead on leading people on a journey of life change. In other words, it’s not about the weekend–it’s about the life change. With that in mind, we’re both intentional about what happens on Sunday, but we’re also very intentional and focused in how we offer next steps.
This current series is the perfect example. The services in “The Naked Truth” series have been very compelling. We’ve given great amounts of prayer and attention to every detail of the teaching, worship, graphics, media, stories, etc. But, we’ve also been very intentional about the next steps we are offering people to embrace the journey of life change.
For example, here are some of the specific next steps we’ve encouraged people to take:
- Online Assessments – We’re offering check-up assessments for couples who are dating, engaged or married. This assessment ultimately offers recommendations for further conversation and action steps. It may encourage couples to pursue counseling as needed. We’re also offering a separate assessment for single adults.
- Daily Devotionals – We’re writing and delivering daily devotionals through email to encourage couples to talk, pray and study the Bible together.
- Group Connections – We’ve challenged everyone to connect in a short-term group based on their life stage and location. These groups are engaging in further conversation and Bible study based on the topics of each week’s message.
- Life Care Support – Where folks need additional support beyond the assessments, devotionals and groups, we also have support groups and counseling available. We have over 100 volunteers helping people in support groups that provide care for folks wrestling with divorce, substance abuse, sexual addiction, financial challenges and more. We also work with local, professional counselors to refer people to counseling when it’s helpful.
To our knowledge, we’ve seen a couple thousand “next steps” in recent weeks including almost 100 people who have accepted Christ and begun their life change journey. That’s what our ministry is all about. We celebrate the people who show up for services on Sunday because we know it leads to thousands of people taking next steps and experiencing life change.
It’s about the life change, stupid!