Is bigger always better?  When it comes to your coffee mug?  How about your church?  We are getting ready to host another Open House Sunday at North Pointe this fall-this is a special day in which we invite the 115,000 plus residents of our county to a day filled with special gifts, fellowship, video, Bible study, warm meal, and family games. While big days are often some of our favorites to promote, they can also be extremely confusing and deflating upon arrival.  Why is that?  Too often we invest so much on the preparation front and then have a hollow let down on the day of the very event we have been so talking up to our church and community.  If you are like me, you know “big days” are important but tend to miss what is important in measuring the success of a big day.

May I give you goals to strive for and by which to measure “the win” of your church’s big day:

  1. To provide that “extra reason” each church member feel inclined to offer when inviting someone to visit the church for the first time.  (Sorry pastor, but your amazing preaching is usually not enough to sell it.)
  2. To provide a watershed moment where each church member must choose whether to be bold and assertive in their witness or be apathetic and disengaged.  (Don’t look for perfection but increasing progress on this front.)
  3. To open for the first time ongoing conversations with potential converts and disciples that may not yield fruit until a subsequent big day or a random, even-obscure church service or event in which they finally attend.  (We regularly have people visit after being graciously and yet tenaciously invited for several big days.  It truly should be enough that they got thoroughly invited…God can work with that!)
  4. To demonstrate with a specific event and measurable hospitality that our church really does plan for and long for people to not only visit but feel welcome to stay.  (There is something about our county seeing us invest resources and time to actually prepare a special day now and then throughout the year.  We do two really big days on Easter Sunday in the spring and Open House after our fall county fair.  We also often do a slightly-downsized day at the beginning or middle of summer season.)
  5. To motivate the ministry leaders-starting with our pastor-to sharpen and expand areas of ministry that otherwise cannot properly steward a larger influx of people in their respective areas.  (We try to channel this sense of urgent anticipation into upgrading our technology, music, hospitality, preaching, or youth programs in a significant manner.)
  6. To see our church develop a broader and more effective evangelistic fervor and system.  (We gauge our success less upon how many come, or even how many are invited.  It is all about getting more people doing the inviting.  If we can get every church family to invite five households, that is THE win!  This requires an increase in prayer, boldness, compassion, and even creativity-all good things for the future vitality of your local church.  By this way, this is often just as incremental as with those who are repeatedly invited before they respond.)
  7. And the most important is…to demonstrate to the Lord the we truly long for more souls to be saved through our ministry and that we will steward them with careful, assertive compassion. (To get God’s much fruit requires us to be faithful with the littler version with which He has already blessed.)

While numbers are important, the goal of your next big day cannot be how full the building is.  How many visitors.  How big of an offering.  Or whatever other physically oriented standard that you can see, feel, or say.  If it is all about how big your church can be, you will always be either disappointed or distracted by the results.   There has to be more, something higher to aim for with our promotional events.  All of the above listed components may provide measurable points of reference, but ultimately it is about the spiritual kingdom of Jesus being expanded and elevated!  It’s SPIRITUAL.  It’s all about God’s kingdom/house being filled, not your church house!  What’s bigger than that?!  (The sobering reality is that our big days often expose our fleshly oriented ministries with our subsequent disillusionment or pride.  Don’t fall for that.)  Forget the gimmicks.  We are not selling Big Macs; we are on a big mission from God Himself! 

Luk 14:16-24

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Don’t worry about the excuse-makers.  The nay-sayers.  Do what servants always do-listen to the Master.  The King who want His house full and His kingdom glorified by your part in the next big day on the local church calendar.  That’s Who and what make every day truly and eternally BIG!

If you would like more specifics on the philosophy and practical components that have influenced our strategy (not a perfect resource but extremely thorough), check out Nelson Searcy’s book Ignite.