How Bill Hybels Advises Church Leaders to Approach the Weekend Service

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“Imagine if I could give you a newsflash, that the person you’ve been trying to invite to church for the last 3 years is coming this Sunday.”

With those opening words, Willow Creek Community Church senior pastor Bill Hybels grabbed the attention of the 1000 leaders gathered at the Church Leadership Conference in Riga, Latvia.

But Bill would then ask, and answer, a question that every church leader must come to terms with:

 “What are you hoping will happen to that woman or that man during that one hour church service?”

Here’s how he answered that question.

“I think all of us would hope and pray that at some point during that church service, that your friend would in some way be supernaturally touched by God…That heaven would breakthrough and somehow touch the heart of that person you invited. If they’re totally non-Christian that a seed of faith would be planted in their heart that day.

If they came with a heavy heart, that maybe that day a burden would be lifted.

If they came with a broken heart, that maybe that day some mending would occur.

If they came as a cynic, that maybe that day a little bit of faith would be instilled.

If they came discouraged, that maybe that day God would give them a little hope.

But wouldn’t you want to be able, after church, to sit down at a restaurant and have that person say to you, “I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t have language for it, excuse me if I’m not using the right words, but something happened in there. It felt like something, or someone, touched my life during that church service.”

I think that’s what all of us would hope and pray for.

That’s what gives us that sense of nervous anticipation when a friend comes to church with us for the first time.

“They might just be touched by God.”

Many church services flounder because they haven’t figured out what they hope will happen in the life of a person who actually attends the service.

So take time with your leadership team and wrestle with Bill’s question.

How you answer it will have a huge impact on what happens next weekend.

How would you answer that question today?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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