Benny Ferguson on the Balance of Culture & Systems in Growing Churches
Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re happy to have you here with us today as we talk with Benny Ferguson, the executive pastor of LifePoint Church in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Benny is with us today to talk about how LifePoint has developed its culture and systems in order to build a healthy, growing church.
- The culture and system “zipper”. // Most evangelical Christian churches have the same mission, vision and purpose. What separates your church from others around the country is a healthy culture and healthy systems. Culture is all about: how do people feel?, while systems are: how do people move? Benny thinks of these two aspects of ministry as two sides of a zipper that come together, working hand-in-hand. God is both creative and orderly – in scripture we see there was a culture around Jesus and how He made people feel, and a system of how to move: “Come, follow me.” How your church feels determines if people will come to your church in the first place, and how you move the people who come determines if they will stay and get plugged in. Both are measures of church health.
- Comfortable and connected. // When we prepare for guests at home we tidy things up, create a welcoming environment and even make things smell nice. LifePoint does the same within their church to make people feel at home and comfortable. Hospitality is a big deal. Your preaching should also make people feel welcome as well as encouraged. Worship should make them feel connected to God. Is there a culture of connection and belonging within your church? Even on your social media, examine what emotions it communicates and how it makes people feel when they check out your church. Does social media show other human faces, or are they images of a building and other things that might cause disconnect?
- Take it slow. // Newcomers to your church can feel overwhelmed by all the activity and how to grow on their faith journey. LifePoint is intentional about directing everyone through Growth Track to take their one, simple next step. A system around moving people is important because without it people will feel disconnected and you’ll lose them. But throwing too much at them at once can cause you to lose them as well.
- Go deeper. // Within Growth Track the purpose is to get people serving on a team and attending a life group. But at LifePoint they want people to go even deeper. They are currently kicking around the idea of doing something similar to Rooted, by the Mariners Church in California, which is a ten-week discipleship process that helps people go deeper in their faith for the purpose of personal transformation.
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Helpful Tech Tools // Slack, Wunderlist
Ministries Following // Church of the Highlands, Church on the Move, River Valley Church
Influential Book // Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life by Craig Groeschel, Broken Escalators: Funny & Frightful Lessons about Moth Eating and Moving to the Next Level by Peter Haas and Chris Hodges, Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg
Inspiring Leader // Mike Matheny, Joe Torre
What you do for fun // Baseball, Real Estate