When A Church Has Horsepower

Do you remember those scenes in old Western movies in which a stagecoach raced across the American plain?



While we are grateful for the modern system of interstate highways, the stagecoach’s image is nevertheless one of romance, energy, and alignment.  All that beauty and speed captured in all those animals — and they were all headed in the same direction at the same time.

You may consider me a slow learner, but I only recently discovered that the horsepower advertised in today’s cars is based on a formula derived from . . . you guessed it . . . horse power.

And there are times when churches have horsepower as well.

Times when churches harness all their energy and all their muscle and head in the same direction with intentionality and alignment.

For some churches, it happens during a capital campaign.

For others it’s during a Fifty Day Spiritual Adventure.

For still others it’s during an emphasis like Forty Days Of Purpose, Forty Days Of Prayer, or Forty Days of Love.

At Good Shepherd, we often call these special seasons our Radical Impact Projects which you can read about here and here.

How does such programming happen and such horsepower emerge from within the life of a church?

This:  when sermons, small groups, students, and children are all digging into the same Scripture and the same subject matter.  In lessons and activities developed on an age appropriate basis, whole congregations become propulsive with power when all their sub-groupings are headed in the same direction at the same time.

One of the earliest times we “caught” this truth was on our first ever “Grace” Sunday in 2012.  We offered a grace-based salvation message at all three worship gatherings, in our student ministries, and in our children’s ministry settings.  The results were truly breathtaking, as over 100 people across all environments made saving decisions for Jesus Christ.

Community Christian Church in suburban Chicago has summarized its approach in The Big Idea.

While Good Shepherd gives more latitude to its LifeGroup and family ministries most of the year, there is a level of unparalleled excitement when we harness all our horses to head precisely in the same direction.  That’s one of the reasons our current Preventology series has the buzz that it does: the entire congregation is reading the same Scripture each day (in this case, a chapter from Proverbs per day) and praying the same prayers.  That focused devotion and harnessed energy is vital to increasing a church’s horsepower.

All that is why I’m so excited about Solve, recently released by Abingdon Press.  We were able to turn a sermon series on Nehemiah into much more than a series of sermons.  It instead became a Radical Impact Project in which people moved on what they were moved by, and fed the city of Charlotte with a record-setting outpouring of food.

I believe Solve can be an ideal church-wide project in the months to come.  You can order your copies here.

And then watch as all the horsepower of your church gets directed not to pointing out problems but to pinpointing solutions.

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