“Faithfulness over a long period of time in the same direction is the best mode of operation.”
We asked pastors of some of the nation’s largest churches to share their thoughts on church growth, discipleship, outreach and faithful ministry.
Josh King, Lead Pastor
Second Baptist Conway
Second Baptist has a focus on the next generation and on campus small groups. This combination is embodied in our new mantra of being a church of/for the 2NDFAM. We are constantly inviting people to “Make 2ND Baptist their 2NDFAM.” This means that people of every generation will find a group of people to connect with, from the oldest to youngest, college students and empty nesters. The campus small group approach provides a distinction between us and other similarly cultured churches and lays a strong foundation on which to build gospel-centered relationships.
We gave away a record offering week, and we are still at a record level of giving year to date. We have seen an increased impact and reach of our children’s ministry on and off our campus. One of the top things that we’ve seen God do is the path he made for us to redeem a 75,000-square-foot property. Since the beginning of the year we have been able to leverage that space for ministry and mission. We now have two churches thriving in it, as well as a handful of other ministries. They are able to lease the space for a small fraction of what it would cost to be in downtown, and our church is able to maintain the property to benefit all involved.
We have become obsessed with the culture of the staff and leadership. We have distilled our values into principles we seek to live out daily and weekly. By adopting a culture focus, we are concerned primarily with developing the kind of people (disciples) we feel called to make instead of only focusing on programs and systems. While we have spent a great deal of time on the programs and systems, our primary effort is leveraged toward culture.
This is a long ball game. There are very few decisions or transitions that will derail the entire thing. Christ established the church a long time ago, and faithfulness over a long period of time in the same direction is the best mode of operation. Practically this looks like me not getting concerned or fearful or upset so easily. You play the cards you are dealt with grace and compassion. We like to think that the next hire or the event or program will either make us or break us, but usually it will not. So, calm down, lead forward and stay faithful to Christ and Scripture. As my mentor says, it will all come out in the wash.
A few circles of friends spur me on and keep me on track. These constant conversations celebrate wins, call out silly and challenge me to think differently. As we all collect wisdom from books and leaders, we pass it on and apply it to each other’s context. It is a lifelong, doctorate-level cohort that focuses on my church and my leadership.
People don’t actually want to be divisive. I mean, in our sin nature we enjoy it at times, but we don’t like it all the time. People gravitate toward the ones and the groups that will speak truth in love. To shine light in dark corners and bring people together. Being attractive is attractive. I have found that simply stating what the truth is and allowing for disagreement and even difference in preference allows for everyone to feel a valid place and sense of belonging. We don’t hide from the differences—we embrace them and see the beauty in that stained glass we call the church.