Archive for November, 2010

The Automobiles of 1929

Between 1896 and the Great Depression, there were over 1800 Automobile manufacturers in the United States. In the old car hobby, these car companies that have gone out of business are referred to as orphans. In 1929, the used car buyer would have had a large selection of used cars to choose from, considering all the orphans. General Motors started buying up some of the used cars and destroying them, or shipping them to Canada to keep the new car market open in major cities. When the Canadian auto market was flooded by U.S. built cars, they outlawed shipping cars into Canada. GM purchased factories and founded GM of Canada to get cars into the country. A lot of French printed literature for 1929 GM cars is available for that reason. That is also one reason you cannot ship cars out of the U.S. very easy today. The photo above is a load of new 1929 Chevrolet models coming into the Chevy dealership.

In 1929 when my Pontiac was new, there were still over 60 Automobile makes built in the United States. I wanted to share with you a list and photos of the vehicles that were available for the new car buyer to choose from in 1929. Most of the cars on this list also became orphans. I have used real vintage photographs when I had them in my collection because I think they are more fun.

Life expectancy of an automobile in 1929 was 50,000 miles, but also due partially to the bodies built with an armored wood frame construction, few examples survived this early era of closed body production. GM used this method of construction until 1935.  The photo on the bottom is of the Chevrolet assembly plant. I will post examples of the wood frame of the 1929 Pontiac from my fisher Body manual and photos of the Fisher Body plant.

You will also note in my descriptions, many of the manufactures purchased parts from other companies and assembled them. Fisher Body built bodies for many automobile companies, including Ford, until GM purchased Fisher to assure they would have all the bodies supplied to them they would need. The Continental Motors Company produced engines for various independent manufacturers of automobiles from 1905 through the 1960s. Ford purchased his early engines from Dodge Brothers. Henry Ford was a master at cutting cost to keep the price of his car down. He designed the shipping crates and required them not to be damaged in shipping because he would use the shipping crates for the wood parts to build his cars.

I will continue to post The Automobiles of 1929 (and a few trucks) until I get them all posted. This is a hobby, not my job, so thanks for being patient.

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5 Reasons To Use Church Growth Associates

With 20 plus years of church growth experience focused on the Word of God, you will receive a personal partnership with Church Growth Associates, bringing you the results you need with exceptional value.


Rarely if ever does one factor cause church growth or decline. Church Growth takes place when successful combinations of factors are in place. This combination of factors is called your church growth mix. Church Growth Associates has the experience to help you adjust your church growth mix to be successful. You have probably found many of the hundreds of books we have collected and read on the subject of church growth, but have not been able to transfer the ideas in the books into reality. We have been helping churches of all sizes grow through using the tools and methods we have developed and proven since 1989.


The best book ever written on church growth is the Bible, and the best consultant is Jesus Christ. In only one sentence, here are four important things Jesus said we should know about church growth.

1. Jesus owns the church

2. Jesus will build the church

3. Satan will fight against the church

4. Jesus will bring victory for the church

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

The main focus of church growth must be centered on Jesus Christ. We will always focus on Biblical solutions for growth above paradigms or experience alone.


Results are always the bottom line when it comes to implementing church growth plans. Churches of all sizes, in large cities and small towns alike have seen results using our services. Rural churches, such as one that had 12 members, but now has over 120 in worship in the small country church. We have helped other churches that were going to give up because they could not afford the rent for their building.

Tell us your story, and let’s discuss how we can get results for you.


Church Growth Associates gives you personalized progress and response to get the results you are looking for. The personalized touch doesn’t stop with the analysis and leadership for church growth, but we are also available when you need a friend, or have questions. We have a network of prayer partners that are praying for the churches and people we work with. You can send prayer request 24/7 on our website. You can also e-mail or call with questions at any time. Be part of Rick Robinson’s circle of friends on Facebook, ( read devotional thoughts, or follow the restoration of his 1929 Pontiac on the blog. (Life is not all work.)

We know being the wife of a pastor is a demanding call. Ladies can read Victoria Robinson’s daily devotionals on the Girlfriend’s Oasis on our site. There are a lot of free resources available on our website, even if you are not a member of our church growth plan. Get more information about us at


All this ads up to exceptional value for your church. We have onsite Consultations and church growth workshops to choose from. ( You can save even more of God’s money when you get help through the Internet, using our innovative iConsulltations. ( Every church can afford help using our iConsultation. We also have a scholarship program for qualifying churches.

Call or click and let’s talk about church growth for your church.


To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.


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Where Are You From?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

You probably have heard the old expression, “All roads lead to Rome” at some point in time. When you think of “The Roman Road” today, perhaps you think of sharing the gospel of Christ by using scripture from the book of Romans. The fact is, in Old Testament times, the Romans were the best road builders in the world. Roman roads were straight and level and were made of four layers. They would start with a layer of sand, followed by pieces of stone and rock in concrete, then crushed stone in concrete, and finally a paved surface. Proper drainage was also provided, and where the roads went into the cities, there were raised walkways for pedestrians. Sounds better than the United States roads before the automobile came on the scene, doesn’t it?

Don’t you like the mile markers we have on our interstate system today? Well, in Old Testament times, the Romans placed milestones along the advanced roads to show travelers how far it was to the destination and how far they had come. These stones served another purpose, since Roman law made it possible for a soldier to compel a civilian to carry his pack from one milestone to the next. Jesus had this in mind when he said that if anyone compels us to go one mile, we should be willing to go an extra mile.

Matthew 5: 38-43
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

That is a hard teaching to live by for most of us. Pride, and our sense of justice stand in the way of the “Roman road” to the gospel for us. I have a map of Florida from 1925, given away by Ford Motor Company. (No I am not that old.) None of the roads I use today are on that map. I remember when I was a boy, (in the 1960’s) you could walk in almost any service station and get a free road map. Being able to plan a trip is not something that took place after the first automobiles. Fifty thousand miles of roads were built with this advanced paving throughout the Roman Empire. In the shops in Rome during those days, road maps were even available for purchase. God also wants us to be able to make plans for our life journey, so He gave us a road map we call the Bible.
People did not like traveling in those days for several reasons. Travelers were in danger from bandits.

Luke 10:30-36
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

Today, if you look at things from God’s perspective, there are people who have been robbed all around us. You may have been robbed as well, and not realize it.

John 10: 7-10
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Has Satan been robbing you? Has he stolen your joy…Your peace? How much have you lost, and how much more will he get? Jesus came to give us life to the full, but the enemy lurks on our journey in life to devour us. He doesn’t really need your stuff, he just wants your joy, and your peace, and your relationship with Christ.

1 Peter 5: 8-11
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

God knows when you are hurting. He will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast, even if it does not seem that is possible right now. Don’t feed the lions!

Travelers were completely at the mercy of the local people in that day. Staging posts for the ordinary traveler developed. The inn was built around a central courtyard. Stabling for animals was provided at courtyard level, and other accommodation was above. It was the ancient equivalent of a motel. In theory, the staging posts provided free accommodation, food, and other services were paid for. It was a feature of most of the inns that prostitution was part of the system. Jesus told his disciples to seek accommodations elsewhere. That is one reason it was so important for first century Christians to practice hospitality.

Matthew 10:11
“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.

Romans 12:13
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

another problem with a journey in that day was that taxes had to be paid on goods, wheels, axles, and persons as one passed through successive tax districts. (Toll roads apparently aren’t our idea either.) Your journey in life may seem quite “taxing” at times. Do you feel like one more thing to go wrong and you will break down in despair? Maybe your journey is just there at this time. Maybe the despair has become the lion who devoured your hope and your joy. Is your hope in your ability to navigate through the trouble you face along this journey, or in the one who called you to it? Is not the destination of your journey, and those around you much more important than where you came from?

Greetings on a journey took time. It was not considered polite simply to pass the time of day. It was necessary to ask and receive answers to questions such as “Where are you going? Where are you from? What is your name? How many children have you?” and so on. (Today it would be considered profiling by many.) Jesus gave practical instruction when it came to all these issues.

Luke 10:3-7
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

While you are on this journey in life, you will greet many people. Remember where you came from. There are others around you going through things you have experienced, and they may need help. Will you be that Samaritan on the road of mercy? Your life experiences may bring the encouragement someone needs. Remember where your journey in this life will end. Will you use the “Roman road” of the gospel to provide a map for those who are lost? Jesus knows we are like sheep among wolves, but the peace of God has no limitations except the ones we ourselves place upon it. The journey of life is often inconvenient, dangerous, and taxing, but there are many others going through the same thing you have already seen on your journey. I pray God gives you some encouragement through these words that your journey will be a little less burdensome. We are all in this together, and that includes Jesus.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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1929 The New Pontiac Big Six

I think one of the most significant impacts General Motors has made to the automobile industry was to change the way cars look every year. Only after creating a problem with dealerships by the timing of the changes, did they decide to change the vehicles in August, to give dealers a chance to move old body styles before the calendar year changed.

The 1929 Pontiac had three changes for that model year. The first 1929 Pontiac model was introduced in August of 1928, the Model 6-28 which introduced new chassis and mechanical features, but used the 1928 body. The artillery wood wheels went from 12 spoke to a stronger 10-spoke design. The Marvel Carburetor replaced the Carter unit, and several other mechanical changes were made to the drive train. 224,784 of the Model 6-28 were built before introducing the model 6-29A in November of 1928. This was a significant body change. The belt line now swept down at the point of the windshield. The radiator had a vertical chrome bar added down the middle of it, creating the trademark split grille design the company would become famous for. Adding horizontal louvers, which were changed back to the vertical vents after only a few months, emphasized the length of the hood. The rumor was that the horizontal vents were warping. Many car manufacturers used the horizontal vents during that time, so I don’t know if that rumor is true, or if it was some other reason that influenced the decision.

This new change in the hood louvers became the Model 6-29B, the model I own. The displacement of the engine was increased to 200.4 CID and horsepower was raised from 48 to 60. This is a split head in line six. Pontiacs were painted certain colors, according to body style until June of 1929. Starting in June, the full range of colors was available to any customer regardless of what body style was selected. The original color scheme of my Pontiac was Seminole Blue body and wheels, Powhatan Blue window reveals, Black fenders, with Tacoma Cream pinstripes. The interior was blue velour. At some point in the past, someone painted the entire vehicle black. They even painted over some of the chrome parts, which ended up preserving them. I will refinish this Pontiac in the original color scheme.

The only change in the 1930 Model 6-29A was the Convertible Cabriolet, and Landaulet Sedan was now discontinued. The 1930 Model 6-30B, shown above, (There was not a Model 6-30A) saw body changes with the belt line that swept down at the windshield for the previous model, now contined to the front of the car.

Life expectancy of an automobile in 1929 was 50,000 miles. Due partially to the bodies built with an armored wood frame construction, few examples have survived this early era of closed body production. GM used this method of construction until 1935. I will post examples of the wood frame of the 1929 Pontiac from my fisher Body manual.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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Spiritual ADD

By Rev. Rick Robinson

I sat over lunch one day and asked a pastor friend of mine, who he was intentionally, discipling. What if I asked you that same question? Did you know most of you are discipling people almost every day? I call this action of unintentional discipleship, Spiritual ADD, or Spiritual Accidental Discipling Disorder. Your actions and attitudes will either encourage people to find a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or it will lead them to neglect looking for God’s direction. Discipleship is much more than some program or academic procedure of Bible studies. Discipleship is a lifestyle, even when you are not aware of it.

When I was a young believer, God placed Al Hunt in my life to disciple me. Al was an intentional disciple; it was no accident when he was involved in my life. Al constantly was taking me to the word of God when I had questions or prayer request. This was true discipleship, even though the only program we used was life itself, and the curriculum was the Bible.

The great commission tells us we should be intentional disciple makers. If we are serious about being a true disciple of Jesus Christ, then we should take serious the traits of a disciple from the very words of Jesus. How do you think you are doing as an intentional disciple, in light of the words of Jesus?

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you can be free from any bondage to sin or bad habits. Are you continuously in the word, and trying to live accordingly?

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you will not only be free from your past, but you will be fruitful. Are you living in freedom from your past and being productive and fruitful?

John 15:5-8
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to put Jesus above everything in your life. You must be willing to give up any possessions in total surrender to Christ.

Luke 14:33
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to die to self. This is part of the discipline of becoming a true disciple.

Luke 14:27
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, your life will display genuine love.

John 13:35
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

I did not decide any of these traits of being a disciple–Jesus did. As a disciple of Jesus Christ you must consider the cost to follow his teaching. Do you have the discipline to pay the cost of following Jesus?

Luke 14:28
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

Churches grow by homogenous units, that is, like groups of people. Our churches will not experience growth through making disciples until we ourselves are willing to become disciples. Are you suffering from Spiritual ADD, or have you committed to having the discipline to be an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ?


Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant, working with churches with church growth strategies.

Click here to talk to one of our consultants to see if we can help your church grow.


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Mirage or Miracle?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

While driving your car, you most likely have seen a spot in the road ahead that looks as if it were flooded with water. The mirage you see is caused because the sun heats the pavement, which causes the air at the point just above the road to heat up. When the air temperature is increased more than two degrees per meter from the resting temperature of the atmosphere, light passes from cooler air across the boundary of warmer air causing the light rays to bounce and reflect. As the warmer air rises it mixes with the cooler air and does not continue to bounce the light. When pavement or sand heats up in the summer, it easily reaches a ten-degree per meter difference in the air just above it, creating the mirage of a body of water. This occurrence is not what it appears; your brain just interprets the information incorrectly. Your brain interprets this as water because your experience tells you it is a reasonable and common occurrence. Once you advance to the place you saw the water, you realize all you had was a mirage.

God may want to do something of a miracle in your life, but if you allow your brain to interpret what is going on around you, it may be discovered to be a mirage instead. It is because your common sense will effect you to give up when God wants you to continue ahead. We must continue to learn to live by our conviction of the truth and not by what we see with our natural senses.

2 Corinthians 5:7

We live by faith, not by sight.

When we go through problems in life that discourage us, we usually are looking at the mirage and not the miracle on the horizon. Our brain is interpreting failure and trouble, instead of a time of refinement to make us more effective. Satan has to ask permission to do anything bad to you. The story of Job is perhaps the clearest picture of that fact, but we also see this throughout the scriptures.

Luke 22:31-32

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

”From these words of Jesus, we can see Satan asked permission to sift Simon like wheat. Jesus did not say permission was denied, but instead told Simon he prayed for him that his faith would not fail. Permission was granted to allow things to take place in your life as well. Understand then, grain had to be purified by sifting. This process was called winnowing. Everything was put into large sieves that allowed the grain to pass through but left most of the rubbish behind. It was also necessary to remove any darnel grains at this stage because they are bitter and cause dizziness and sickness if eaten. Darnel was called “tares” or “weeds” in the New Testament. Darnel looks identical to wheat until the grain ripens and it turns black instead of yellow. When this part of the work was complete, the farmer normally stayed with the grain, camping out to ensure that the harvest was not stolen. Sifting will bring you to a place of strength if you will keep your trust in Christ. Notice Jesus finished his statement to Simon with the encouragement that he would then strengthen his brothers. Just as the farmer would stand guard over the wheat that had been sifted, so your Heavenly Father will stay with you through your trials to make certain you will be safe.

Deuteronomy 31:8

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

It may not seem that way right now because you are hurting, but your trials may be a time of purification and miracles. If you trust in your natural senses, it will cause you to turn away; then you will turn your miracle into a painful and disappointing mirage.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Hidden Signs

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Are you looking for simple church growth ideas that will be worth your time? Part of your church growth strategy should be an evaluation of hidden signs. What is a hidden sign? Most people would answer that perhaps by describing a sign that is hidden by the over growth of a bush. Yes, that is a hidden sign all right, but in church growth terms there are other types of hidden signs. A hidden sign is what we are communicating to others without trying or thinking about it. That is the problem with hidden signs, we don’t think about them.

A church I worked with a while back had one of those molded plastic lighted signs out front that someone had thrown a rock through. I asked, “What does the sign out front say?” Someone responded, “It says we are closed!” They got the point. The sign was in plain view, but yet it was a hidden sign. What does the sign say when a first time visitor arrives to worship only to find no designated parking for your guest? Designated guest parking area signs send the message, “You are welcome here, we were expecting you!” No designated parking communicates, “We found our parking, you find yours!” What does no handicap access to your church communicate to those with special needs? Is there an accessible ramp and reserved parking areas? Do you have signs placed around your church to show newcomers how to find the restrooms, pastors’ office and other important areas that may make them feel like a part of your church instead of an outsider? Is your facility clean and well kept? It doesn’t have to be modern or fancy, Just clean and organized.

Paul wrote about being wise when it comes to outsiders, and in his instructions to Timothy about selecting deacons, he gives a qualification that our church should uphold.


Colossians 4:5

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

1 Timothy 3:7

He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.


Are you making the most of every opportunity? Look around your church and see how many hidden signs you find.  Many of the hidden signs you will find can be taken care of for little or no cost. This church growth idea will be an investment in your ministry to newcomers and the attitude of your congregation that will be well worth the time, effort, and money.

We can help you with church growth no matter what size your church is now. Click here to have one of our church growth consultants call you to see if we can help your church grow.

Check out some of our other free resources in our library.

See how we can help you with an iConsultation or an Onsite Consultation.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Ushers In The Isles?

We work with churches of all sizes, but this experience took place in a church with about 1000 in worship. This church scored 120 points out of possible 3320 points on our visitor welcome scale. Treatment of visitors is a very important part of the church growth mix of your church. Through our iConsultations and Onsite Consultations, we help churches improve the growth mix, and achieve 3320 points with every visitor they get. Can you identify things your church should or should not do from this example?

Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth Associates, Inc.


A candid look at church 1552


As we approach the grounds, the church is easily identified with the large sign at the road, and the name of the church on the side of the building. The entrance to the parking area has at least two options, we chose to take the second entrance today. This brings us to a drive around the back of the worship center. I could see what appeared to be parking lot attendants ministering out there, but where are those attendants? We seem to have the drop on them, and parking here without help is not easy. It is a large parking area to accommodate the 1000 or so people that will worship inside, and it is easier to find parking at the local shopping centers. The greeters are not wearing any type of identification, and since there are supposed to be parking attendants, there is no designated visitor parking area either.

Upon finding a space for the car, we make our way to the worship center. People are friendly if spoken to; otherwise they just pass you by. There is one youth passing out bulletins at the door as if it were a punishment for being late for Sunday School. We are presented a bulletin with no smile or eye contact. The building is a multipurpose structure that is now transformed into the worship center. As the auditorium fills with people, the ushers begin walking up and down the isles looking for available seating. Above the first floor is a walkway around the building leading to offices and education rooms. Additional ushers have positioned themselves there as “spotters” for the sanctuary ushers. I have seen many churches with this architecture, but this one almost has the feel of a prison.

The music begins and the worship service is underway. Lively praise music led by an enthusiastic worship leader, with a smile and an attitude that makes you glad you came today. The feeling of being in jail is diminishing. The Ushers are still doing their jobs in the isles and on the platforms.After a couple of worship songs the pastor greets the worshippers and asks the guest to stand and be welcomed. Nearby members greet the guest in their area while the ushers pass out registration cards and return to the center of the isles. During the sermon these ushers remain at “parade rest” in the center of the isles. Yes, they were standing in the isles during the entire service, and it is starting to feel like prison again. This makes me wonder what will happen should I decide to leave early.

The message is evangelistic and several people receive Christ during the time of commitment. Well, those ushers are still in the isles and now it’s time to go home. No, they didn’t try to stop us, and they didn’t ask us to return. No follow-up will be done with our registration. This is one of many churches that collect information and do nothing with it. Would you return to worship here again?

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates

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A Cross Carrying Church

The purpose of these summaries is to inspire church growth ideas and encourage others to look at how they do church, not to criticize or exalt any church. For this reason, the church name is always omitted from the summary, but they are all true stories. When we do church growth consultations, we use what we call a “Visitor Welcome Scale” to rate the church with a value of up to 3320 points. While most churches in the United States would score 20 points or less, this church scored 320 points on our scale. Churches that use our iConsultation services, or our Onsite Consultation service, benefit by learning to become a 3320 point visitor welcome church.

Rick Robinson
Church Growth Associates

A “Candid Look” at church 3115

How do those around us view our church? Are you known as the church that sells the Christmas trees or pumpkins every year? Almost every city has a church that does that. I am not criticizing anyone for raising money by selling trees that is between you and God. Wouldn’t Christ want us to be known as the church that reaches into the community meeting needs? A place the community can find people who care when they need help. More importantly, how do they view us as members?

This “Candid Look” is about a church that starts each Sunday morning off with a fellowship breakfast. We did not attend the breakfast because that would give the members an opportunity to find out who we are. Our visit is to be done in the main worship service where most first time visitors will attend your church.

The worship service was a blend of contemporary praise and hymns along with the traditional worship culture. One thing that really impressed me, was the way the pastor brought along the visitors with an explanation of what was taking place. People do not want to feel like outsiders, they want to know they can make friends here.

At a certain place during the service the pastor asked an interesting question, “Who has carried the cross this week?” Two members stood up, each holding a wooden cross about six inches tall. The pastor explained that one way they share faith in Christ, is for members to carry the wooden cross in visible sight during the week. Not in a pocket or a purse, but right out in the open, praying for someone to ask, “Why are you carrying that cross around with you everywhere?” As I listened to the moving testimonies of how the week went for each person who carried the cross, I saw the Lord had used this tool to allow for conversation about Christ and the church. Next on the agenda, was finding members willing to carry the cross during the upcoming week. As the pastor asked, “Who will carry the cross during the upcoming week?” I am moved almost to tears, as people across the sanctuary stand raising their hands, so excited about the opportunity and not ashamed or frightened. One lady who had the cross in her hand pleaded for the opportunity to carry the cross yet another week. The pastor asked a man selected to carry the cross, “Will that be okay for you to wait another week?” I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How many churches would respond that way? How would I respond if I were a member here? I’m now thinking, wow, this is great!

The message the pastor delivered that Sunday was down to earth and relevant to today’s living, but the message I received from the congregation was one I will never forget. The excitement and attitude of these people, who would some three months later attend our workshop, was refreshing.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates

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The Letter

By Rick Robinson

Lying back on the bed, I think back on the busy day I’ve had–very productive indeed. The grass is all cut and trimmed, the walkways have been pressure washed, and I ran all those little errands that needed to be done like running to the store, and going to the post office. The post office… suddenly I’m not feeling so good! Did I put a stamp on that letter that was to go out? How about the zip code, did I use the zip code or not? Yes, I’m certain as I think about it, I’ve done all I can do. Perhaps I can get some sleep now. Wait a minute … what about the post office? What is going to happen to that letter on that end? Will they be able to find the address out in that remote area? Those rural route box numbers can be complicated. As I think about it, it’s such a small letter, what if they lose it before it gets there? There are so many possibilities for something to go wrong. What was I thinking by trusting those people–what am I going to do?

Laying awake through the night worrying about that mail, I decided to give the Postmaster a call. He assured me each of the seven times I called; the letter will arrive at its destination on schedule. If only I could be as certain as he is! He’s not answering the phone anymore; perhaps he is following up on my suspicions. Even the letter carrier that comes by our house seemed confident when I flagged her down to ask about it. I got the feeling she thought I was silly to worry about such a thing. She explained about the bulk of mail the Postal Service handles every day–but that’s just it. They have so much to do, are they going to be able to give my letter the attention it needs? It is so easy to be calm, when it doesn’t personally effect them. I can’t expect them to understand–they have never been through something like this.

Maybe I should give the person I mailed the letter to a call and see if they received it. No, that won’t work–I just mailed it last night. Well, the Postmaster gave me his word the letter will get there. If only I sent that letter registered with a return receipt. That way I would have his written word on it, and what would be more certain than that? Does this story sound ridiculous to you? Sure it does, unless you change the story a little.

What if the letter was a prayer request and the postal service was God? The Postmaster and letter carrier could be a pastor or a friend we consult about our fears. If you get sick with worry every time you mail a letter, you may need professional help. If you get sick with worry every time you ask God for help, you need to know you have His written word on it. (At no extra charge.)

Matthew 6:31-33

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

What if we trusted God as naturally as we trust the postal service? That is what God wants us to do–pray about the situation and trust Him to take care of things. All those prayer request he handles every day, yet not one of them get lost. Each one gets the attention it needs. This illustration uses the post office only for a contrast in trust. There is nothing evil about the post office; the problem is where are you placing your trust?

Job 31:24-28

“If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

When I was a young boy, I used to love to collect and read comic books. In the back of those comic books, there were ads for all sorts of things. I ordered things from the back of those comic books, and even though the offer clearly stated “Allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery”, I never believed that. I got excited every time I saw the brown delivery truck come down our street, only to be disappointed when it passed by. Each day I would try to remember how long it was since I placed the order, but I didn’t stop believing the package would arrive. I waited for that truck faithfully every day. It’s normal to be disappointed when you are not delivered through a problem by a certain time, but do you still have hope? God’s word does not state a certain time for delivery, it only promises results. God’s written word says He will not allow more on us than He gives grace and strength to handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Don’t give up, keep praying–for soon that truck will roll up in front of your house, and you will become like the Postmaster–full of peace and confidence that God will deliver as promised.

1 John 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates

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