Starting Well in a New District – Ministry Models

New pastorJoin us Wednesday June 7, 2017 at 1pm Central Time as we discuss Starting Well in a New District on our Ministry Models Teleconference. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.

You’re headed to a new district. How will you start well? What can you do to make an eternal difference while there? How can you avoid getting bogged down with all the details of moving – housing, address updates, school for the kids, packing, etc. – and keep your eyes on what the Lord has in store for you and the people you will help develop in ministry and mission?

Here are 3 Ministry Models that can help. Remember that a good MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light.

  1. Ask yourself then your team(s) the big questions. Think big. Dream big. Ask big questions of yourself then of your Elders, Church Board members and other leaders. For example:
    • 20 Year Vision. If the Lord delayed His return, what should Adventist work look like in this district in 20 years? How many congregations, small groups, schools, etc. should we have long after the current pastor and lay leaders are gone? Where should we start new Adventist work over the next two years?
    • Total Member Involvement. How can we find ways to mobilize every believer as a missionary for Jesus?
    • Disciple-Making Process. If the Lord sent us fifty new people this year who were eager to share the Adventist message and disciple others to do the same, how would we encourage and mentor them and supply them with resources? How can we develop simple processes that potentially develop a new believer into a church planter over a two year period?
    • Personal Change. What am I willing to give up so the church(es) can show more evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and look more like the church described in Acts 2:41-47?
  2. Add at least one simple, non-confrontational initiative in each of these areas – Upreach, Inreach, Outreach – in the first 3 months. This will help you start building momentum toward the vision discovered and developed above. Introduce non-confrontational initiatives so you don’t get distracted early from your mission. Here are some sample ideas. Other ideas can be found in the Transforming Your Church video clips, at this blog post and on the Texas Evangelism YouTube channel.
    • Upreach. 
      • Give your Church Board members the Ten Minutes More Challenge.
      • Set up a preaching schedule for the next 6 to 12 months in consultation with your elders. Preach your first sermon series on one of these areas – the Gospel Commission, the lost sheep, coin and son of Luke 15, the Book of Acts, etc.
      • Encourage Family Worship from the pulpit. Give personal examples. Interview families that have regular Family Worship.
    •  Inreach
      • Pursue a Visitation Plan. Set aside 1-3 nights and one afternoon per week for home, hospital and jail visitation, but never make visits alone! By taking a male elder, deacon, church board member, young person, or new believer with you on a rotating basis you are developing them for stronger leadership when the day comes for you to move on. One of the highest priorities is to visit any in-town visitors to church by Monday evening. With member visitation (ask your clerk for a current list), consider getting into the homes of all attending members first, encouraging them in daily personal Bible study, family worship, and finding a ministry they enjoy. Visits can be brief – 20-40 minutes – but should give you an opportunity to learn about their family, borrow one of their Bibles to read a verse from, pray for any prayer requests they have and leave literature. They will tell relatives, friends and inactive members about your visit and maybe later go with you or others to see them. We need more in-home interaction among the body of Christ for it to function well, and you can help get it started through home visitation!
      • Introduce a Celebrating Changed Lives time in the Worship Service.
      • Offer House Blessings and have as many as you can.
      • Encourage lay-led short term (2-3 month) small groups of all kinds where members can enjoy fellowship and Bible study and learn to minister to each other rather than be dependent entirely on the pastor or elders. Each group needs a leader, an assistant and a host to get started. Groups can meet an hour a week any time of the day in homes, during lunch break, after school. Forget the fancy or coordinated curriculum. Just use chapters in the Bible or existing Bible study guides. Start an eight week small group as a follow-up to Weddings, Baby Dedications, Funerals, Anointing services, Baptisms, etc. etc. Small groups need to become a lifestyle, not just a program, of the church.
    • Outreach.
  3. Identify and start discipling willing current and future lay leaders. If the Lord’s work is ever going to grow exponentially in your district you will have to shift from being a hero to being a hero maker. Just as Jesus spent time in prayer (Luke 6:12-13) before picking some very unlikely future leaders, you must spend some time in fasting and prayer, asking the Lord to help you see potential leaders among youth, young adults, current leaders, members waiting to invited to participate in the harvest (Matthew 20:6-7), and even people you don’t know yet but will meet in the next few months or years. Don’t overlook current leaders (Elders, Church Board Members, Sabbath School Leaders) but also look for other potential leaders that need to be involved and developed as strong spiritual leaders. Begin finding ways to carry out ministry together with these people, 2×2 or in teams (visitation, house blessings, anointing services, team preaching, small group assistant leader then leader, etc.). A monthly mentoring huddle with this group (maybe over potluck) can help them learn from each other.

You are not alone as you take up your new assignment. The Lord has already been at work both in the church and the community. He will use you to His honor and glory. Dream big. Get momentum with simple initiatives of upreach, inreach and outreach. And keep developing current and future leaders who will take the message and ministry far beyond you!

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. We will post notes for each topic/teleconference.


  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Planning Your Church Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment


  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – Starting Well in a New District
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.


About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
This entry was posted in Ministry Models, Outreach, Pastoring, Small Groups, Soul Winning, Why Not Try This...? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Starting Well in a New District – Ministry Models

  1. Pingback: Pastoral Visitation Made Easier | Dan Serns

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