”Ministry success for our church has become synonymous with effectively and strategically turning believers into disciples.”
Ministry success for our church has become synonymous with effectively and strategically turning believers into disciples. While it’s easy to celebrate large events and outreach ventures, we’ve also learned the value of true growth versus growth that models “swelling” or periods of inflation, which return back to normal after time. After being part of thousands of stories of those who have experienced life transformation through Christ, we’ve recognized the need to create, implement and track the process of assimilation to best meet the needs of our new converts.
Utilizing a matrix for our nine-month Covenant Classes allows us to create real-time connect points for baptisms, ministry involvement, small group mergence and mentor empowerment. When believers are able to move through a step-by-step maturation process from curb to conversion, they become more apt to make a covenant with the church, the pastors and the leaders. True ministerial success for us has been marked by sustainable growth that is both tangible and substantial in actual transformation that equates to foundational ministry growth. Inflation, or “swelling,” can appear to be success, but true success lies in the stories within our church that are still being written.
GETTING DOWN TO WORK
As our church has grown and the demand on our ministry has grown, the question I’m asked most is, “How do you do it, Pastor Sergio? How do you keep your energy, passion and drive after all these years?” For me, part of the answer has been protecting my bandwidth through daily and weekly non-negotiable work disciplines. Regardless of where I am in the country or the deadlines, phone calls and meetings, the first part of every morning is spent in prayer and devotional reading of the One Year Bible. My daily quiet time with God each morning is a non-negotiable for me, as it’s in those quiet moments with God where he releases vision, imparts clarity and confirms his word for my life and ministry.
This invaluable time has allowed me to slow down the internal speedometer within me to maintain the constant aptitude to be both the pastor with the heart for the people and the preacher with the vision and foresight from God to bring legitimate change to our cities through the local church. Sustaining both roles of pastor and preacher is made possible by both my morning quiet time and the fundamental practice of honoring a personal Sabbath day every week to rest, rejuvenate and regain momentum from week to week. In my early days of ministry, I didn’t always understand the core reality of giving myself a day of pause in the midst of growing a church, raising leaders and caring for families. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that these days of disconnect have allowed me to continue to lead our church and staff from both administrative and creative perspectives.
Many times, we as pastors tend to operate by default in our greatest strength. However, I’ve come to understand the need to be “both-and” in all respects: both administratively astute and creatively savvy; both grace-governed and justice-led; both local community-centered and nationally cognizant; both evangelically grounded and socially responsive. This intentional culture of “both-and” has created an organizational accountability to our values, standards and mission, all of which are contingent upon the habitual practice of creating an atmosphere within my staff and personal life that supports open and honest communication, time for personal relationships and opportunities to enjoy life and have fun.
CORNERSTONE CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO National City, Calif.
Growth in 2012: +1,100 (21%)