Dave Stone is the senior minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., a 2011 Outreach 100 Church (No. 4 Largest, No. 57 Fastest-Growing)
CONNECTION TO OUTREACH: Dave Stone is one of the featured pastors in the article, “The Transparent Leader,” in the 2011 Outreach 100.
I realized we were really touching our community when I invited a waitress to visit our church and she said, “Southeast Christian” … and paused. I braced myself for what she’d say next, but then she continued, “That’s the church that’s always doing something for people in the community!”
The biggest disappointment for me is that I can become more fixated on attendance numbers than I am on my own personal walk with Christ. I’m embarrassed when I realize that God may not read the top 100 issue of Outreach magazine because He has a list of churches and ministers who are true heroes of the faith yet leading in obscurity!
Take a personal interest in everyone you meet. People will visit your church if they sense that you sincerely care about them.
One of the most memorable worship services for me was when I preached about how the next generation really isn’t the church of the future—but the church of today. During the worship songs, we had teens, one by one, come out and trade places with the band members and the worship leader while the song was going on. As I was wrapping things up, a young man came out and pushed me aside and preached for a few minutes and led into an invitation. It became a powerful experience for our church. Since then, our teens are now up front serving quite regularly.
The hardest sermon I’ve preached is the next one. It’s always the next one, because for me, writing them is a painstaking process.
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