Keeping 180 year old Calvary United Methodist Church vibrant takes more than one person – pastor Todd Outcalt says it takes a caring community that will uphold an atmosphere of hospitality and welcoming. This Brownsburg, Indiana congregation has moved 5 times in its history, and under Todd’s leadership, has seen Sunday attendance double.
I first read about Todd when the Foundation for Evangelism did a profile on his work at Calvary and knew I had to interview him. Todd says a big reason for their growth is the hiring of a Director of Outreach who pays close attention to caring for every visitor. You may be inspired to do the same, I am.
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Playing to a congregation’s strengths is a key to growth, says Todd Outcalt, who observed the caring atmosphere at Calvary. So he encouraged it and turned it loose through inspiring worship and a serious commitment to hospitality. Here are my notes from the interview:
Hire an Outreach Director
Even if it’s just for a few hours a week, Todd says this was the best staff addition he made. His Outreach Director organizes greeters as well as guests, making sure they are met in the parking lot and cared for with the best they’ve got.
Staff Ministry Tables After Each Service
Todd says getting people involved is easier when there are well-prepared outreach volunteers waiting in the lobby after each service, eager to recruit and explain the many ministries Calvary offers.
Take Prayer Seriously
Todd says the church’s prayer ministry is so comprehensive each member is prayed for, by name, regularly. In addition to taking prayer requests over the Internet, the prayer team provides a backbone of spiritual vitality that is essential in building a healthy community.
About Todd Outcalt
Todd Outcalt has been a United Methodist pastor for 30 years and enjoys helping people find faith and discover a path of God-connected service. He is the author of twenty-two books, including The Best Things in Life Are Free, The Healing Touch, Before You Say “I Do”, and The $5 Youth Ministry. He has also written essays, stories, and poems for many national magazines of such variety as The Christian Century, American Fitness, CURE, Together, Rev!, Group, and Newsweek. He and his wife Becky live in Brownsburg, Indiana and have two children. Todd also enjoys hiking, kayaking, weight lifting, and reading.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Church Post – If you are looking to improve your church’s communications you’ve got to check out this great email platform. I’ve found it easy-to-use, reliable, and John, Debra and Kim are great to work with.
Wistia - If you’re still hosting your videos at YouTube or another ‘free’ video sharing site you know the drawbacks. Wistia helps me put out great looking videos and see who’s watching for how long. The Wistia staff is easy to work with and very professional.
The Grow My Church Store – Everything from mugs to pens to fridge magnets, this is a promotional products store aimed at helping churches become closer communities, more hospitable, and welcoming. I started this store and shop there often because I couldn’t find anywhere else to go for these products.