1) Connections Ministry Mission


What is Connections Ministry Mission?


 

 

The Connections Ministry’s mission is to bring together lifelong members and newcomers,
and to connect people who are seeking for God with College Park Church!


 Connections Ministry provides the structure to connect you with others

 
  • Connections is a way of life
  • For lifelong members
  • Ministries, Small Groups
  • New transferred members
  • Newly Baptized
  • New friends of the church

    Get involved today

Contact us: connections@collegeparkchurch.ca

2) Connections Ministry Chart

3) Why Connections Ministry?

  Because…

           

  • We need a well structured nurturing congregation to make evangelism succeed
  • Evangelism calls for discipleship
  • Discipleship is a process, not an event
  • We need to make disciples of the newcomers
 

   
 Research Results
  What causes people to drift away?
 
What attract newcomers to a congregation?

  •     Friendly people and variety programs and activities
What keep new members involved?

  •     Friendship and fellowship opportunities
  •     Quality programs
  
  • Indifference by church members
  • The feeling of not being cared for
  • Clicks
  • Not having friends in the congregation
  • Difficulty to cross social barriers

Why newly converts leave the church?

Where to go from here? 
  • No friends
  • No network of relationships
  • No sense of belonging
  •  We are building a household of faith
  • We are agents of change
  • Every member of the church family has a role to play in welcoming visitors
  • Use your God-given talents to enrich the life of others through outreach,  fellowship and prayer

 

Get Involved

  • Use your God-given talents to enrich the life of others through outreach,  fellowship and prayer

  • Join Connections today!

connections@collegeparkchurch.ca
 
4) Preparing our church for the future

Preparing  the College Park  Church for the Change in paradigm


 As a Church, how are we to prepare for the future change in paradigm?


 A Picture of the Population of Great Toronto Area (GTA)

 

  • By 2020 the GTA’s population will have ballooned to 6.9 million

  • It is expected to reach 7,6 million by 2031

  • Who are these people?

–Young families
–Seniors
–Singles and newcomers to Toronto

–Visible minorities will account for 47.9 to 53.4 per cent of the GTA

 

The National Park Worldview Analogy  (The church in the past)

 

  • In a National Park….
–Rules are clear
–The place is safe
–We know what to expect
–Signs direct paths
–Protection barriers for safeguards

 

–Community, relationships, intergenerational communication


 On The Jungle Worldview (Our society today)

 

There are:

    • No rules
    • No clear paths
    • No Community for support. You are on your own
    • Surrounded by danger



5) How to create Connections ministry in your church

If you have come to this page it is because you believe in connecting with people. You may have been touched by Jesus’ calling to receive His sheep with love and care. Or, perhaps you believe in the “greeter” and “hospitality” ministries and want to make them better.

Jim Cress, a former pastor and evangelist, states, “Every church must do something different and better than we have done previously”. At the Marietta church in the US where he implemented an intentional seeking and integrating newcomers, Cress has proven that it is possible to grow the membership of our churches by the way in which we connect and make friends with people. It yields better results than traditional methods such as regular evangelistic meetings and door-to-door literature distribution. It was Jim’s book, You Can Keep Them if You Care that inspired the creation of the Connections Ministry at College Park Church. The book covers the entire process of welcoming and integrating new believers and visitors into the church and we strongly recommend that you read it. You will have success as did the MariettaChurch which implemented this program very successfully.

The most important requirement to run a great Connections Ministry is a motivated leader who is willing to read and use the tools that are available (see a list of essentials below). A leader should have experience in recruiting people to work with him/her. If you pray, God will send you the people He chose to be part of your team. Like Moses leading the people of Israel, you will need patience and perseverance. You may have to sensitize the church leadership and invest time and money in this ministry, but you will reap the rewards. You are answering God’s call. Do not let it go unheeded, this is your opportunity.

 

Here’s where you can find help topics to start your Connections Ministry:

·         Where to start
·         Welcome Desk
·         Training
·         Going beyond the traditional “Hello”
·         Establishing a Visitor’s Sabbath School Class
·         Informing the newcomer
·         Dedication Service
·         Resources  

 

 

Where to start

 

Nobody can start a ministry alone. You, as leader, is chosen by God and possess the talentnecessary to inspire other members with the importance of receiving visitors. In the resources listed below you will find interesting ideas on how to recruit volunteers. Start with your team. It may be composed only of 2-3 volunteers, but it is a start! College Park Church started with a core group of 5 and now we have more than 65 active volunteers. We invite all newcomers to become involved in the Connections Ministry after the Dedication Service (see below).

Training

 

Volunteers must be trained and there are many resources available, including videos and articles from which you can choose the best for your team. (see “Resources” below). Commitment and dependability are essential qualities in our volunteers. Welcoming people is work-intensive and it has been our experience that those with the desire and the necessary qualities are very BUSY people who have other responsibilities in the church. That’s why we ask that our volunteers to commit to being “on duty” only three time a year, to participate in the training and the Service of Dedication.


Fall Training Session

Social Media Committee

   

The Welcome Desk

 

Almost all churches have people in the lobby greeting members and distributing church bulletins, but Connections goes beyond that. At the information center/Welcome Desk in our church lobby, volunteers have more time to spend with visitors, directing them to the Visitor’s Sabbath School class. Volunteers also accompany guests to a fellowship lunch after the service, and perform other duties as per the job description.



Going beyond the traditional “How are you”

 

Volunteers at the Welcome Desk have wonderful opportunities to interact with newcomers. The process at College Park is: 1. Newcomers fill out registration cards that provide more information about themselves. 2. A gift bag containing different books, videos, and DVDs is presented when the contact is made. 3. The volunteer contacts the newcomer during the week and searches for them during church activities. 4. The Pastors and Elders receive the information to make a visit, and “accompany” the newcomer on his/her integration journey.


   

Establishing a Visitor’s Sabbath School Class

 

The establishment of a SabbathSchool class is just a starting point in the journey of integration of a newcomer into the church life. Ours it is run by a core group of members who interact with newcomers and invite them to participate in activities outside the church setting, creating opportunities for new friendships. The teachers are facilitators able to change the tone and discussion of the lesson, taking into consideration the non-Adventist visitors and adapting the study to this context. Newcomers may attend this class for months, or until they have made enough friends within the congregation to feel comfortable to move on to other classes that are appealing to them. A committed core group is a must.

 

Providing Relevant Information to Newcomers

 

To inform newcomers of what your church can offer we use Social Media and a Promotional Video. Making a video of your church programs can be easily accomplished, depending on the level of technology you want to use. Ask around for professionals who may have the welcoming spirit in their hearts and you will get members who will donate their time and expertise. If you have amateurs that love technology they may also be able to assist or make a video for you. Pray about it and God will send people to help you. Our video has been uploaded to YouTube and we pray it is effective in reaching out to virtual church-seekers. We completed our video at almost zero cost. We paid only for a professional voice-over and a composer to insert the music. All other labour was donated for free. In this day of fast-changing technology, it is hard to keep up with social media but you canat least start with a page on Facebook.

Facebook: Facebook allows you to connect with your membership and newcomers and to inform them about church activities. Create a diverse committee of volunteers to ensure a high quality and variety of pictures and content. You will need a team of 4-5 photographers to cover church events and post photos to Face Book afterwards. The secret of a successful Facebook presence is constant interaction, having at least three posts per week.

In addition, when newly baptized and transferred members are received into the church, Connections photographers invite them to come for a photo op and video that will be posted on Facebook. Be sure to get signed approval from those in the pictures/videos before posting online.

Dedication Service and Love Feast

 

Once a year, all newly baptized and transferred members are invited to a Dedication service followed by a special luncheon where they can interact with each other and with lifelong members. Other friends of the church are also invited and at College ParkChurch the Love Feast is usually attended by an average of 200 members and friends of the church.

 

     

Integration of the newcomers

 

It is of the upmost importance to integrate the newcomers into the church. This in itself is a ministry. But the best way to do this is through service. Your church should be a place where they can use your gifts to enhance God's Kingdom. The Sabbath School is one venue which provides opportunities for individuals to do so.


There are many articles about the assimilation of newcomers. We would suggest that you consult the resources below for the article “Assimilating visitors into your church” from Building Church Leaders.


Your church should be a people oriented church. Visitors and recently-transferred members should feel they are part of the church body. Newcomers should be  invited to be part of the ministries of their choice and to participate in social and spiritual activities.  Once newcomers are part of a group, they will make friends and contribute to the  Kingdom of God.

Resources

 

1.      Checkout CPC promotional video at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_OrGO5AGmXW70-tgMFFYsQ

2.      Chris Walker, a consultant specializing in the ministries of greeting and evangelism has set up a website page for leaders like you, with a selection of videos and articles that will greatly facilitate the training of volunteers. Chris also recommends other reading material in his “Book List”, which are part of the 900+pages of his website.  Here is the link for the page he selected for us. http://www.evangelismcoach.org/resource-links-for-church-hospitality-committees/,

Books:There are many good books, but the following two are basic and can be purchased at the ABC Bookstore or Amazon.ca. They are:

We Can Keep them if we Care by Jim Cress (This book has all the tools necessary to enhance or start a Connections Ministry in your church.)

Prepare Your Church for the Future by Carl F. George (an excellent book if you have a church that is set in its ways and needs to be reinvigorated).

 

From Building Church Leaders

LeadershipJournal.net.This website offers practical advice and articles for church leaders.

Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap, Thom Rainer.How to move forward as a church by reinvigorating your leadership. (Zondervan, 2004; ISBN 031025745X)

Church of Irresistible Influence,edited by Robert Lewis and Rob Wilkins. A collection of case studies to help your church build bridges into its community. (Zondervan, 2003; ISBN 0310250153)

Finding Them, Keeping Them: Effective Strategies for Evangelism and Assimilation in the Local Church,Gary McIntosh and Glen Martin.Designed to help laypersons understand church growth and how to foster it in their congregations. (Broadman& Holman, 1992; ISBN 0805460519)

High Expectations: The Remarkable Secret for Keeping People in Your Church,Thom Rainer. Explains how involvement is the key to keeping members coming back to church. (Broadman& Holman, 1999; ISBN 0805412662)

How to Attract and Keep Active Church Members,Donald R.Smith.A study of church growth and retention based on surveys of a variety of congregations. (Westminster Press, 1992; ISBN 0664251404)

Membership Matters: Insights from Effective Churches on New Member Classes and Assimilation,Charles E. Lawless, Jr.How growing churches implement new member classes and motivate their members into ministry involvement. (Zondervan, 2005; ISBN 0310262860)

The Volunteer Revolution,Bill Hybels.Challenges churches to equip their congregations for outreach and service. (Zondervan, 2004; ISBN 0310252385)

 

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us at connections@collegeparkchurch.ca

Tannia Amorim