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Sticky Church Conference – Larry Osborne

sticky-churchLarry Osborne is the founding pastor of North Coast Community Church in the San Diego area.  He’s the author of several books including Sticky Church.  These are my notes, not his, and anything that isn’t clear is most likely my fault.

  • Don’t try to be us – be a better you
  • The “stickiest thing the church has to offer is close and tight personal relationships.  Retention is the measure of whether or not you have those relationships.
  • If we don’t hold on to people long enough, we cannot  fulfill the second half of the Great Commission.

Moving from leaky to sticky – 4 New Priorities

  1. Development of a healthy leadership team – get and keep everyone on the same page.  Develop the leaders you have in order to reach the people you want to reach in the future.
  2. Shepherd the flock you already have – if we don’t care well for them, why would God give us more people?  It’s hard to close the back door if you only love the charge-the-hill leaders.
  3. Become believer targeted/seeker sensitive.
    1. User friendly – Get rid of in-house jargon
    2. Seeker expectant – make it clear you’re expecting guests…
  4. Understanding the importance of fostering long term, Christ centered relationships. “My friends are there.” Relationship is the focus, then discipleship…

Lessons that I’ve Learned

  1. Stickiness starts with church health – Disunity repels, burnout is scary,  (in the Pony Express – the ponies are the most important, not the mail.) and lack of spiritual growth bores people.
  2. Stickiness has two important aspects
    1. Visitor retention- assimilation (Shortcoming of “special event” approach – people show up cold, because of the flyer, and not on the arm of a friend.)
    2. Long term retention – discipleship. Weak ties=fun, task specific, but have an end point. Strong ties = frequent long-term & vulnerable.  No stickiness in weak ties.  Connect people tightly and create new groups for new people – new people have lots of “connectors” open.
  3. A fancy front door can hide a leaky back door – as long as the front door is bigger than the back door, we will think we’re growing.  When the back door matches the size of the front door, growth stops.
  4. Most of our programs and ministries are designed for casual and/or short-term relationships (Weak ties)  Vast majority of small group ministry models in America are just flat broken. 
  5. We get what we measure and what we celebrate.  Retention seldom makes the list – but it is the best measure of true health.
  6. Increasingly difficult to reach and keep people with a one size fits all approach to ministry.  The future is ambience and subcultures.
  7. Spiritual growth is seldom linear – so why are most of our attempts at spiritual development?
  8. New small group relationships need easy on and off ramps – if you don’t have a easy, soon approaching off ramps, people will weasel out.  
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  1. April 12, 2009 at 12:46 am

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