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First Things First

There are some things that every church—to be a church—must do well.
—Howard Hendricks

Some time ago I visited a church that has an unusual strength in fellowship. I was so profoundly impressed I asked the pastor, "How in the world do you attract this many friendly couples to one church?"

He said, "It's very simple. You can't get in and out of this church without somebody inviting you to lunch." Even though it's massive, it's the friendliest church on planet Earth, with a fellowship virus that has spread to everyone. Objectively, I wouldn't say it was the greatest preaching center in the area, but it's developed this one strength to an inspiring level.

At the beginning of any new ministry year a church must evaluate its last performance. I would use three questions:

1. What are we doing well? What are our strengths? If you don't capitalize on your strengths, you tend to minister on a basis of weaknesses.

2. What are we doing that needs to be improved? You may be doing many things reasonably ...

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