Send people out of your church to teach the Gospel to others. Keep in mind that a true Christian disciple is called to be taught and taught to be sent. So once you’ve developed strong disciples in your church, send them out into the world to teach others about the Gospel.

Value biblical preaching. Make sure that the preaching at your church is marked by: God’s divine appointment, a sense of mission and enthusiasm, an appeal to the Bible, the centrality of Jesus as God’s Son, the message of humankind’s sinful condition, the forgiveness that Jesus offers, and urging about the ultimate importance and eternal consequences of making a decision to trust Jesus.

Help people connect with God through living worship. Design your worship services with these principles in mind: living worship is not about a prop, but about a person (Jesus Himself); living worship takes place in the context of real-life events, which happen under God’s direction; living worship requires a living faith (when people aren’t just going through the motions, but instead are yielding their lives to Jesus and seeking His will rather than their own), living worship must be grounded in the living Word of God (the Bible), and living worship leads to a living Lord by helping people connect with Jesus.

Make your church a place of loving fellowship. Welcome people to your church and give them a place to belong. Make your church a haven of hospitality. Meet people where they are and help them grow from there. Help people receive courage and strength from God at your church, and then encourage them to celebrate that through thanksgiving and praise.

Help meet the world’s needs through compassionate outreach. Encourage and equip the people in your church to become the hands and hearts of God for a world in need by showing others the love and grace of Jesus in tangible ways. Look for the specific opportunities that God is presenting to your church to show people in need that you care. Pray for the discernment you need to sense which opportunities God is calling your church to take action on, and how He is leading you all to proceed.

Have a strong prayer ministry. Make prayer a top priority at your church. Talk about its importance during sermons. Schedule regular times for your church’s leaders to pray together, and encourage the people in your congregation to pray with and for each other whenever they can. Develop a church prayer ministry that: recognizes that people need Jesus to be a mediator and intercessor for them, directs people to a Jesus to receive the gift of salvation, is taken seriously, leads people to expect the best from God, ushers God’s power into the lives of people in need, and transforms the lives of those who are praying.

Adapted from Finding a Vision for Your Church: Assembly Required, copyright 2012 by Michael A. Milton. Published by P&R Publishing, Philipsburg, NJ, www.prpbooks.com.

Michael A. Milton and his family live in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the host of the national Bible-teaching television program Faith for Living, a songwriter and recording artist, and the author of numerous books and articles. Previously, he was the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee and is currently Chancellor and CEO elect of Reformed Theological Seminary and the James M. Baird Jr. Professor of Pastoral Theology there. Visit his website at: michaelmilton.org.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels@aboutguide.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: January 16, 2013