Side Doors of the Church

Leadership / The Church / May 19, 2009

Side door entry into your church community might be one of the most effective evangelism tools in your box. (coming into the church through missional communities or small group involvement) Typically, we expect our new comers to begin their journey with us on Sunday mornings, but that’s not always the case.

Recently, our small group leaders wrestled with the side door question.

QUESTION: What do we think about “lateral entry” in the small group model? (groups initially starting without church members with the hope of them eventually coming to our church)

DAVE’S ANSWER: Here are my thoughts…


CONVERSION GROWTH – (Growth resulting from new conversions.) Kinetic is after Conversion Growth! And we are far more likely to experience this kind of growth as a result of the side-door entry from small groups to our Sunday morning worship service. If our small groups are becoming a true side-door for conversion growth, I celebrate and encourage it.

TRANSFER GROWTH – (Growth resulting from the transferred membership from another church.) I’m not a huge fan of transfer growth. That is not our agenda. If our groups have hopes of enticing the members of other churches to attend Kinetic on Sunday morning through small groups, I think we have missed the point all together. This would be a terrible kingdom minded strategy.

I’m a fan of side-door entry as a strategy for conversion growth, (in fact, I think it is the best strategy) but am opposed to side-door entry for transfer growth.

Here is a quote from David Yonggi Cho, the founding pastor of the largest local congregation in the history of Christendom about the strategy of side-door entry for conversion growth: (700,000 people in 1993)

“We have 50,000 cell groups, and we expect each group to love two people to Christ with the next year. They select someone who’s not a Christian, who they can pray for, love, and serve. They bring meals, help sweep out the person’s store – whatever it takes to show they really care for them.”

When the person asks, ‘Why are you treating me so well?’ our people answer, ‘Jesus told us that we’re supposed to do good to all men, and we want you to know that we love you, and so does Jesus.’ After three or four months of such love, the hardest soul softens up and surrenders to Christ.’

Cho is not talking about two “decision cards” per group. Rather, his people win a person to the group, to the Lord, and then to the specific tenets of the faith.

When asked, “Suppose somebody doesn’t win two souls to Christ in a year?” Cho responded, “Not do that?” virtually coming out of his seat. “We put them under church discipline! Then, I say to them, ‘you have disobeyed the Lord Jesus and your pastor. You must either fast and pray or repent of this evil until you get your heart right with God and have the blessing of those two converts.’”

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Dave Milam
Dave Milam is a pastor, communicator and the founder of One Life Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a a gifted communicator Dave's right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect and remember God's truth in a uniquely visual way. Connect with Dave on Google+

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on May 20, 2009

I’m glad you’re blogging again!! I never comment on anything, but I always read your posts & I’ve missed them!

on May 20, 2009

Thanks! I really appreciate the encouragement!

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