"We have to face reality," I announced to the congregation one bright October Sunday morning. "We are not bringing people to Christ."

Before me, seated on stacking chairs in a grade-school gym, were our fifty adults and a few children, appearing as civilized as landed gentry (toddlers excluded).

"The Great Commission is our mission," I continued. "We have to do whatever it takes to become a church that leads people to Christ."

Our church was nine years old, and I had now been the pastor for two years. We had grown from 35 to 80 on a bang-up Sunday, but I wasn't satisfied: it was transfer growth. We weren't reaching unchurched people.

I took responsibility and resolved to do something about it. I blocked out time in my schedule, prayed intensely about the problem, and birthed an idea-a seven-step strategy for breaking out of our shell.

Confidently and with great expectations, I handed the congregation my baby.

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