I got a note from Pastor Steven Gibbs at Stonecreek Church in Milton, Georgia a couple of weeks ago sharing this photo. My team at The Unstuck Group served their church last year, and we thought this story might encourage other pastors.
They called it the 365 Campaign. Every time someone accepted Christ in the last year, they lit up a light bulb on this giant 365 visible from their lobby area. Obviously, the visual has been powerful for the church. I asked Steven to give us the story:
What is the 365 campaign?
The 365 campaign is based on Scripture we see about the early church in Acts 2. Over the past year, we as a church have been praying for what we see in Acts 2:47 – “and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
We want to be a daily type of church – a church that moves church beyond Sunday and into the everyday lives of people. We want to mobilize people to create lasting change in the world, daily.
With the word daily in our minds, we decided the number 365 represented how many decisions to follow Jesus we wanted to see – at least one for each day in the year.
What prompted you to make the Light Wall?
With asking God “add to our number daily those who were being saved” as the focus for the upcoming year, we wanted to have a tangible goal and visible way to see that goal accomplished. The 365 campaign – prayer partners, intentional communication, a team of volunteers, and the follow up process – were all ways we could see and measure the goal being accomplished.
What did you do differently this past year to reach your goal?
Honestly, some of us were nervous that the number 365 seemed to be a fairly large goal for a congregation of our size. But the campaign put intentionality and focus behind seeing that number happen. We prayed about it and solicited every single Stonecreek volunteer to pray with us (almost 500 people). The whole staff team met together twice a week just to pray.
We also put a plan into action to have it on the forefront of our communication and a team of volunteers that helped with execution and follow up.
How did you communicate with the church about this?
By the time we felt like we had shared this idea 1,000 times, our church seemed to finally be catching on. I feel like this really showed us the importance of creative redundancy. We communicated individually to volunteers to ask for their help in praying. We communicated from the platform on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights, in e-mail to our congregation as a whole, and on the website.
We explained the principle behind it over and over in creative ways, such as sharing stories of people turning light bulbs, posting pictures on every network, tying giving to the life change that has happened through people coming to know Jesus, and having intentional invitations during messages.
You reached 365. How did you celebrate?
We had originally planned to start a new series immediately, but we decided to post-pone that and take the day to celebrate instead. We explained to the church that that’s what we were doing. We had balloons covering the inside of building – lobby, auditorium, stage, hallways. We announced that we had 39 people decide to follow Jesus on Easter and celebrated the wall being lit.
On this day of celebration, we gave a message about the importance of marking a moment, i.e remembering and celebrating certain times in our walk with God. We talked about how Abram built alters to remember God’s character, what God had done, and what He had said. We gave our people some tangible ways to mark moments and celebrate all that God had done in their lives. It was a great day!
On a side note – not only did we reach 365, but on Easter Sunday, we even had to drag out a backup plan because after the last bulb was lit, two more people decided to follow Jesus. Our congregation is really excited about what God is doing in the life of our church.