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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Church that Refused to Stay Small

Therock_1This month's version of Vision Magazine features an article about The Rock Church in Monroe, WA.  In a town of 15,000, The Rock has seen tremendous growth and effectiveness in their community.  Here's just the intro of the article:

"Monroe, Washingston (pop. 15,480) is a small rural town at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, about 30 miles northeast of Seattle.  There are 32 churches in town, and only  a third of Washington's citizens go to church.  It sounds like a place where small churches stay small.

But  The Rock Church had big plans and even bigger ideas.  On E-day - Eruption Day - March 7, 2004, Monroe experienced an eruption unlike those from Mt. St. Helens 2 hours to the south.  The Rock held their first worship service in their new building amidgst an eruption of excitement about a new kind of church in town.  More than just a new building for a group of people to gather once a week, this church would become an anchor for the life of the community. 

Although The Rock church started in 1984, E-day was the day they moved into their new facility, the landmark of Senior Pastor Jeff Knight's vision to change the image of the church within the community.  "I didn't want them to think of us any longer as that church over on the street corner who are all into their own deal,"  Jeff says.  "I wanted them to think of life and giving."

The new building gave them a way to accomplish this mission.  It's opened up our facility to the community," says Executive Pastor Tim Gorman.  "We have the state-of-the-art facility within our community."

Well, that's just the start of the article.  You can download the full article at Vision-Mag.com (you'll have to sign-in as a guest then download the pdf file of the article).

DISCLAIMER:  We've had a lot of discussion on church growth in general the past couple of weeks here at the blog.  This is clearly another article on 'church growth' or 'how' a church has grown.  I know that there will be many that disagree even with the methods they used to achieve this growth, but that's not what I'd like to discuss here.  I encourage you all to download the article and read it in full.  Please remember that this is written in a publication that specializes in church media and technology, so it is heavily slanted to show how The Rock uses those areas in their new building, and how they believe this has helped spur their growth).  All that being said, here's today's discussion topic:

Has the addition of media and technology at your church helped you acheive your church's vision?  Has it directly helped in your church being effective in evangelism?  How much does 'creativity' play a factor in your weekend services?

OK... I think that's enough to chew on for today.  Have a great week!


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February 9, 2005 in Church Growth | Permalink

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I think one technology that Christians and Churches can make much more use of is cable access TV. The cost is virtually free, and they offer production equipment, air-time, editing equipment, etc. That's the core for my ministry. As an example for the Portland OR area, please see:


I used to attend Calvary Chapel in Aloha, OR., and I helped them start their TV ministry called "Answers for a Thirsty World," a live-call-in show. The biggest challenge is actually managing volunteers. They've been on the air for a number of years now. It's also very altruistic; the purpose is to share the Gospel; not create a mailing list, increase church members, etc. (not that that's bad...).


Posted by: bernie dehler | Feb 9, 2005 11:18:24 AM

In the article, I noticed 4 points that I thought were very important when advancing any type of innovation large or small, technological/media change or simply a new ministry.

1- The Pastor had a "vision" that had been in process for sometime. (years) IE, the assumption is that it was Spirit driven and not because "bigger" or "the hot new" churches are doing it. Innovation for the SAKE of "Innovation" and without sound Spiritual motivation is asking for MAJOR problems.

2- It seems the Pastor COMMUNICATED with the people and didn't overrun or ambush them with major change. (especially the Seniors!) He started with the TRUST of his congregation and worked to maintain & build on it as he "cast" the vision. GRANTED, his parents had started the church and he was asked to continue as the Pastor so he's starting from a much more positive position!
(someone "blogged" earlier about the scriptural example of inheriting the position.)
3- They did their research. Talked to those who had traveled this road and the research was not only on the technical side. According to the article, they researched their community! They took into consideration the various generational differences and an effort was/is being made to "tweek" the media and other communication elements to reach out to as many as possible.

4- The Pastor is a part of but not the controller of the creative process. In a worship service, the MESSAGE is "the thing" and being creative without a purpose or unified direction can quickly change a worship service into a worship SHOW. What matters is God's Word, the message He (God) has (hopefully) placed upon the a pastors heart. When you add that to the (hopefully) Spiritually inspired creative gifts of others and they have the "the tools," it can be very powerful.

I did "see" some dangerous points with the three "rules" of the media/creative process but this is enough for now.

Posted by: Ben E. | Feb 9, 2005 5:47:56 PM

The media and technology targets people who are more and more visual. The bible will not change but the methods to touch hearts has.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 30, 2005 11:26:00 AM

The media and technology targets people who are more and more visual. The bible will not change but the methods to touch hearts has.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 30, 2005 11:26:26 AM

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