Building Contagious Churches

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Overview

Discover A Proven Approach to Raising Your Church's Evangelistic Temperature

Evangelism. It's one of the highest values in the church. So why do so few churches put real time, money, and effort into it? Maybe it's because we don't understand the evangelistic potential of the church well enough to get excited about it.

Building a Contagious Church will change that.

This provocative book dispels outdated ...

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Overview

Discover A Proven Approach to Raising Your Church's Evangelistic Temperature

Evangelism. It's one of the highest values in the church. So why do so few churches put real time, money, and effort into it? Maybe it's because we don't understand the evangelistic potential of the church well enough to get excited about it.

Building a Contagious Church will change that.

This provocative book dispels outdated preconceptions and reveals evangelism as it really can be, radiant with the color and potential of the body of Christ and pulsing with the power of God. What's more, it walks you through a 6-Stage Process for taking your church beyond mere talk to infectious energy, action, and lasting commitment. Think it can't happen? Get ready for the surprise of your life! You and your church are about to become contagious!

Most church leaders would agree there's nothing more important than evangelism—after all, eternities hang in the balance! Yet eighty-six percent of pastors admit that their church falls far short when it comes to actually doing something about it. Perhaps your church is like that, but you're unsure of what to do.

That's about to change. If you long to infect your church with Great Commission fever, then challenge every member of your leadership team to read this book! Building a Contagious Church will help you customize an evangelistic strategy that really works—not just for a while, but for the long haul.

Developed by one of today's foremost leaders, educators, and practitioners of evangelism—the principal author of the highly effective Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum—this book's revolutionary insights have proved themselves time and again in all kinds of settings. So dare to get excited! This dynamic, highly adaptable approach is created to work not for some other church, but for your church.

If you're ready for your leaders, members, and ministries to become fervent about reaching lost people for Christ and effective at doing so, Mark Mittelberg describes in detail how you can tailor-make:

A Contagious Plan—Define the what, why, and how of your church's outreach to people in the neighborhoods all around you.
A Contagious Change Process—Follow a 6-Stage Process that will help you raise the evangelistic temperature of your church, starting with the hearts of the leaders Contagious Diversity—Learn to maximize outreach to all kinds of non-Christians by developing ministries and events around the six different evangelism styles.
Contagious Ministry—Find out how to unleash the kind of genuine, empowered ministry in your church that will impact your community—and your world.

'It doesn't matter whether your church is large or small, old or new, urban or suburban, upscale or downscale, high church or low church,' says Mittelberg. 'Regardless of where you're starting from, I'm confident that in the power of the Holy Spirit, you can take significant steps toward making your ministry more outwardly focused and evangelistically fruitful.'

Get ready for a revolution in how your people view and do evangelism. And prepare for the joyous adventure of aligning yourselves with God's agenda of reaching and transforming human hearts.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mark Mittelberg (MA, Trinity Evangelical Theological School) is an author, speaker, and evangelism strategist. He is coauthor with Bill Hybels of Becoming a Contagious Christian and coauthor with Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel of the Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum. He previously served as evangelism leader for the Willow Creek Association. Mark Mittelberbg es autor, conferencista y estratega de evangelismo. Es coautor con Bill Hybels de Conviertase en un cristiano contagioso y con Lee Strobel de Aventura Inesperada. Junto a Bill Hybels y Lee Strobel es coautor del programa de estudio Conviertase en un cristiano contagioso. Anteriormente sirvio como lider de evangelismo para Willow Creek Association.

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Axiom, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. Hybels received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and one grandson, Henry. Bill Hybels es el fundador y pastor principal de la Iglesia Comunitaria de Willow Creek en South Barrington, Illinois., y presidente de la junta de la Asociacion Willow Creek. Es autor de mas de veinte libros exitosos, entre los que se encuentran Axioma, Divina Insatisfaccion, Simplemente acercate a ellos, La revolucion de los voluntarios, Liderazgo audaz, y clasicos como Muy ocupados para no orar y Como ser un cristiano contagioso. Bill Hybels es reconocido mundialmente por capacitar a lideres cristianos en cursos de entrenamiento que buscan transformar a los individuos y sus comunidades mediante la iglesia local. Tiene un titulo en Estudios Biblicos y un doctorado honorario de Estudios Teologicos de Trinity College de Deerfield, Illinois. el y su esposa, Lynne, tienen dos hijos adultos y un nieto.

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Read an Excerpt

Evangelism against the Odds

What Are We Trying to Do?

Listen, I've taken my questions to a pastor, a priest, and a rabbi. Not one of them was able to give me any good reasons to believe in God. In fact, they've just congratulated me for thinking it through so carefully. One of them even told me I'd given him some things to think about! I've spent a lot of time and energy on this, so don't think you're going to easily sway me into believing that your ideas are right."

So energized was the discussion between this young Jewish businessman and my pastor friend that a church usher actually stepped in to try to break up the "fight." But as soon as he did, both of them protested. "It's okay," my friend assured the usher, "we're both just very passionate about this."

"Not only that," added this intense seeker, "I can't tell you how refreshing it is to finally find a place like this where people seem to actually care about logic and truth. This is fantastic!" This man, like so many others today, was highly interested in discovering what is real in the spiritual realm, and he was eager to talk about it.

We see it all around us. From cover stories of national newsmagazines, to titles of best-selling books, to themes of television programs and movies, to songs on the music charts--people are hungry for information about God.

Spiritual interest is at a high level in our culture but so is bewilderment about what to believe and whom to trust. The good news is that although there is growing suspicion of organized religion, many men and women, like this Jewish businessman, are still willing to turn to an ordinary church like yours or like mine in the hope that they might--just might--find some answers there.

The question is, are we prepared to help them? Are we becoming the kind of people--and are we building the kind of churches--that will be able to assist them in embarking on spiritual journeys that will eventually bring them to Christ?

Evangelism. It's one of the highest values in the church--and one of the least practiced.

We all believe in it. I don't think I've ever met anyone who genuinely believed in the Bible but didn't believe in evangelism. When you embrace the truth of God's Word, it's pretty difficult to discount its call to reach lost people. It's on our bulletins, in our hymns, and throughout our creeds. It's posted on our marquees and peppered throughout our statements of faith. It's emphasized in our theology books, praised in our seminaries, and encouraged in our pulpits. Most Christian leaders list it as one of their ministry's top priorities. There is little ambiguity or doubt that evangelism is central to what we're supposed to be about.

The irony is that while many of us are in churches and denominations that have a rich heritage and strong reputation for evangelism, in many cases, precious little is actually happening. Let's be honest: in most ministries very few lost people are being reached for Christ.

Yet the words of Jesus in the Great Commission are seared in our minds: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28: 19-20). This mandate was given for all churches of all time, so it includes every one of us who is a part of those congregations.

Since we all agree that we are supposed to be carrying out the Great Commission, why aren't we doing more about it? Studies show that most Christians don't have very many--if any--friendships with non-Christians. The majority of church members can no longer quote the words in John 3: 16 about God's great love for the world, much less articulate a clear gospel illustration. A mere fourteen percent of pastors claim that their churches are heavily involved in evangelism. Only one out of three churches ever trains its people in evangelism.

We may talk a good game, but our actions speak louder than our words. Do we really care about lost people? Do we sincerely believe that knowing Christ is the best way to live and the only way to die? Are we convinced that everyone we know, without exception, needs to find the forgiveness, friendship, life, and leadership Jesus offers? Do we truly believe in hell, and that our friends and family members will end up there if they don't trust in Christ before they die? Do we really believe that? If so, are we willing to take risks to warn them? And are we willing to invest our time and energy in developing churches that will attract, challenge, and teach them to step across the line of faith?

Jesus has commissioned us to become persuasive communicators of his love and truth. That is, he asks us to become contagious Christians and to build contagious churches that will do everything necessary, through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, to bring more and more people to him. If you know and love Christ, I'm confident that your spirit is saying, "Yes, that's right. I long to become that kind of Christian and to be a part of that kind of church. I really want to impact people's lives and eternities!"

We were made to fulfill the Great Commission. I believe evangelizing is the primary reason God left us here on the planet. We can spend all of eternity worshiping God, learning from his Word, praying to him, and encouraging and edifying one another. But only here and now do we have the chance to reach lost people for Christ. What a privilege and what an adventure!

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents Foreword by Bill Hybels Introduction Part 1: A Contagious Plan
1.Evangelism against the Odds
2.Evangelistic Values in a Secular World
3.A Strategy for Reaching Secular People Part 2:A Contagious Change Process
4.Stage 1 Owning and Modeling Evangelistic Values
5.Stage 2 Instilling Evangelistic Values in the People around Us
6.Stage 3 Empowering an Evangelistic Point Person
7.Stage 4 Liberating and Equipping Every Believer
8.Stage 5 Developing a Diversified Evangelism Team
9.Stage 6 Innovating High-Impact Outreach Ministries and Events Part 3:Contagious Diversity
10.Maximizing Outreach around the Confrontational Style
11.Maximizing Outreach around the Intellectual Style
12.Maximizing Outreach around the Testimonial Style
13.Maximizing Outreach around the Interpersonal Style
14.Maximizing Outreach around the Invitational Style
15.Maximizing Outreach around the Serving Style Part 4:Contagious Ministry
16.Communicating the Gospel without Compromise
17.The Vision: Contagious Churches and a Contagious Epidemic Church and Ministry List Notes

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First Chapter

Evangelism against the Odds What Are We Trying to Do?
Listen, I've taken my questions to a pastor, a priest, and a rabbi. Not one of them was able to give me any good reasons to believe in God. In fact, they've just congratulated me for thinking it through so carefully. One of them even told me I'd given him some things to think about! I've spent a lot of time and energy on this, so don't think you're going to easily sway me into believing that your ideas are right.'
So energized was the discussion between this young Jewish businessman and my pastor friend that a church usher actually stepped in to try to break up the 'fight.' But as soon as he did, both of them protested. 'It's okay,' my friend assured the usher, 'we're both just very passionate about this.'
'Not only that,' added this intense seeker, 'I can't tell you how refreshing it is to finally find a place like this where people seem to actually care about logic and truth. This is fantastic!' This man, like so many others today, was highly interested in discovering what is real in the spiritual realm, and he was eager to talk about it.
We see it all around us. From cover stories of national newsmagazines, to titles of best-selling books, to themes of television programs and movies, to songs on the music charts—people are hungry for information about God.
Spiritual interest is at a high level in our culture but so is bewilderment about what to believe and whom to trust. The good news is that although there is growing suspicion of organized religion, many men and women, like this Jewish businessman, are still willing to turn to an ordinary church like yours or like mine in the hope that they might—just might—find some answers there.
The question is, are we prepared to help them? Are we becoming the kind of people—and are we building the kind of churches—that will be able to assist them in embarking on spiritual journeys that will eventually bring them to Christ?
Evangelism. It's one of the highest values in the church—and one of the least practiced.
We all believe in it. I don't think I've ever met anyone who genuinely believed in the Bible but didn't believe in evangelism. When you embrace the truth of God's Word, it's pretty difficult to discount its call to reach lost people. It's on our bulletins, in our hymns, and throughout our creeds. It's posted on our marquees and peppered throughout our statements of faith. It's emphasized in our theology books, praised in our seminaries, and encouraged in our pulpits. Most Christian leaders list it as one of their ministry's top priorities. There is little ambiguity or doubt that evangelism is central to what we're supposed to be about.
The irony is that while many of us are in churches and denominations that have a rich heritage and strong reputation for evangelism, in many cases, precious little is actually happening. Let's be honest: in most ministries very few lost people are being reached for Christ.
Yet the words of Jesus in the Great Commission are seared in our minds: 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age' (Matthew 28:19—20). This mandate was given for all churches of all time, so it includes every one of us who is a part of those congregations.
Since we all agree that we are supposed to be carrying out the Great Commission, why aren't we doing more about it? Studies show that most Christians don't have very many—if any—friendships with non-Christians. The majority of church members can no longer quote the words in John 3:16 about God's great love for the world, much less articulate a clear gospel illustration. A mere fourteen percent of pastors claim that their churches are heavily involved in evangelism. Only one out of three churches ever trains its people in evangelism.1
We may talk a good game, but our actions speak louder than our words. Do we really care about lost people? Do we sincerely believe that knowing Christ is the best way to live and the only way to die? Are we convinced that everyone we know, without exception, needs to find the forgiveness, friendship, life, and leadership Jesus offers? Do we truly believe in hell, and that our friends and family members will end up there if they don't trust in Christ before they die? Do we really believe that? If so, are we willing to take risks to warn them? And are we willing to invest our time and energy in developing churches that will attract, challenge, and teach them to step across the line of faith?
Jesus has commissioned us to become persuasive communicators of his love and truth. That is, he asks us to become contagious Christians and to build contagious churches that will do everything necessary, through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, to bring more and more people to him. If you know and love Christ, I'm confident that your spirit is saying, 'Yes, that's right. I long to become that kind of Christian and to be a part of that kind of church. I really want to impact people's lives and eternities!'
We were made to fulfill the Great Commission. I believe evangelizing is the primary reason God left us here on the planet. We can spend all of eternity worshiping God, learning from his Word, praying to him, and encouraging and edifying one another. But only here and now do we have the chance to reach lost people for Christ. What a privilege and what an adventure!

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2002

    LEADERSHIP FRIENDLY

    Pastors if you are looking for a book for your leaders to study this is it. Good sound contagious princples that will last a lifetime.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2001

    Get a copy for every leader and work through it together!

    Some books are optional--books you would like to read sometime and perhaps have your leaders read as well. Other books move immediately to the top of the priority list--where there's no time to wait--this is that book! I've been involved in intensive ministry situations for almost 15 years and wish that I had had this book available BEFORE I started. This will be a defining resource for every leadership team in every church and ministry around the world to read and process. Too many Churches are purposeless and going through the motions without making the life-changing eternal impact that they really desire. Mittelberg's book provides clarifies the values, provides transferrable principles, includes helpful diagrams and provides a resource appendix which network the reader and ministries with one another in a way that is unprecedented. A quick scan of the four pages of endorsements by such leaders as: Luis Palau, Rick Warren, Joe Stowell, Robert Coleman, John Maxwell, Becky Pippert, Paul Cedar and others is an indicator that for every person who attends a church--this book is...not an option--it's a requirement!

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