The Church: Savannah Christian Church, Savannah, Ga.
The Challenge: Help people connect with the mission of the church.
One Key Idea: Challenge people to one hour of worship, one hour of serving, and one hour of studying the Bible each week.
Outreach spoke to Evangelism Pastor Harrison Huxford, who says people want to be challenged.
How does a first-time visitor become engaged in Savannah Christian?
They may first check out our Starting Point classes. These are offered after each service, and they give people a quick site map of our ministry and a chance to get to know our lead pastor. Then, next is our Next Step courses—Believe, Grow and Discover—offered each first, second, and third week of the month.
What’s unique about these classes?
It’s where we tell people that we want to be more than just a Sunday morning kind of thing—that we anticipate and encourage everyone to worship an hour, serve an hour and study an hour every week. They’ll also hear it from the pulpit: If you think you can come in one hour a week and sit and be happy about it, then this is probably not the church for you. If you’re looking for a church that’s all about life change and you want to radically transform the city of Savannah, then this is the place for you! It’s a weird dynamic: People may say they don’t want to be told what to do, but they still want to be challenged.
In what practical ways does Savannah Christian help people rise to this three-hours-a-week challenge?
At each campus, we have two services on Saturday nights and two on Sunday mornings so that people can serve an hour and worship an hour. There’s also an education hour for people who want to get involved in a more Sunday-school-type setting instead of a small group at first. Then, we also have our Ministry Expo—every ministry has an exhibit, giving people the opportunity to hopefully discover what they were created to do.
Is it working?
We think it is. We’re not just saying one hour of worship, one hour of serving and one hour of studying just so that our numbers look good. We believe if you’re doing these things, you begin to achieve the life Jesus had in store for you. And we’re hearing the stories of life change all the time within our different ministries and small groups. … And those who experience life change will help others do the same.
Can you share a life-changing story about someone connected at Savannah Christian?
A couple came to our church probably two or three years ago after being invited by someone. They went through the whole process—Starting Point, Next Steps, and then the woman got connected with our women’s ministry. She ended up getting baptized, put her trust in Jesus, and next thing you know, she’s heading out on a short-term mission trip to Vegas—serving. Her husband is in the military, and about six months ago, they got transferred to Italy. But just a few weeks ago, they were given the option to move anywhere. Anywhere! They could have chosen to move closer to family; they could have stayed in Italy; but they chose to come back to Savannah because of our church.
MORE ABOUT SAVANNAH CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Weekend Attendance: 7,022
A 2012 Outreach 100 Church: No. 78 Largest and No. 93 Fastest-Growing
Key Connection Points: 13 services across four campuses; between 50 and 75 people in Starting Point classes each week; about 30 go on to participate in three Next Step courses each month
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Outreach magazine.