Church Involvement

Creating a Culture of Involvement in Every Church – 2018 Church Involvement Conference January 19 & 20

Month: July 2016

Diamonds Right in Front of Us

Diamonds Right in Front of Us

In 1843, a man was born who was to have a profound effect upon the lives of millions of people. He name was Russell Herman Conwell. He became a lawyer, then a newspaper editor, and finally a minister. In his efforts to raise money to begin what is today Temple University, Dr. Conwell gave over 6,000 lectures and in each one of them, he told a story called “Acres of Diamonds.” It was a true story that had affected him very deeply, and it had the same effect on his audiences. The money he needed to build the college came pouring in.

The story was the account of an African farmer who had heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines.  These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. So he sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, the story goes, worn-out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or farm, in this case, the man who bought the farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream’s bottom. He bent down, picked up the stone – it was a good-sized stone – and, admiring it, later put it on his fireplace mantle, as an interesting curiosity.

Several weeks later, a visitor to his home picked up the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand – and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he had found. When the farmer said no, that he had thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had fund one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones – not as large, perhaps as the one on the mantel, but they were sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.

Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent. The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds, but he had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere.

The moral is clear: If only the first farmer had taken the time to study and prepare himself – to learn what diamonds look like in their rough state – and since he had already owned a piece of the African continent, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.

The fact is, each of us is, at this moment, standing in the middle of his or her own acre of diamonds in our local congregations. If only we will have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore our churches, we can find the riches that God has placed among us.  With some prayer, study and close examination, we will discover the diamonds among us.   Many members are just diamonds in the rough; they need to be discovered, developed and put to work.

This is what I do best: help churches and church leaders discover God’s diamonds.  God doesn’t make junk.  The church is full of potential that has to be discovered.     Please contact me so I train you to discover God’s riches among you.

Travis Irwin

423 920 3060

FAQs

Q1FAQ’s

What is the nature of your ministry and why do you have a website?   Most church leaders are interested in the spiritual and numerical growth of their congregations.   Some of those leaders are discovering that Christian service is a part of discipleship and spiritual growth, and those same leaders want the members under their care to be true disciples.   They are realizing that ‘spectator’ or ‘sitting’ members should be ‘serving members.’    This is a healthy trend in the church.    My ministry exists for such church leaders and churches.   From my experience as an involvement minister I have learned what works best in  getting members from the ‘sitting’ position to the ‘serving’ position and I want to share this experience and wisdom with church leaders.    My website exists to assist churches in involvement, but it also exists for church leaders to blog or communicate with me.   Bottom line:   I am interested in getting the word out about church involvement.

Why are you in the involvement ministry?

In 2003 I experienced burn out from full time preaching. By 2008 I had retrained myself in several areas of ministry—one was involvement.   I was offered my present job in late 2008 and have loved it ever since.   I am one of a very few full time involvement ministers.   If you spend five minutes communicating with me, you will hear the passion in my voice for this ministry.

What is the ideal size congregation for starting an involvement ministry?   Larger congregations need more organization and more folks in order to make an involvement ministry possible.   Larger churches may need a full time staffer as well.   Smaller congregations of 200 to 300 are ideal in the sense that they usually have a good number of folks who will make an involvement ministry work well without hiring extra full time staff.   The key is a supportive leadership which includes elders, deacons and ministry leaders.  Any size church can have a successful/fruitful involvement ministry using my tools.

How much does it cost to hire you as a consultant?     The most profitable thing I can for you is to ‘listen’ to you.   This is my first responsibility and I will listen to you without charge.  As I listen and learn about your congregation (and her leadership), I will know if you need my services or not.   The best thing I can do is coach and consult and share ideas (that work) with you.  The cost will differ from congregation to congregation because of size, the number of contacts and the scale of the project.   My consulting guarantees that the process is successful.  There is nothing more embarrassing and disheartening than failure.   My services pay for themselves.   What I am finding is that my brethren are very smart and they are very excited about what I do.   This simply means that they are motivated to take over the process once I help them get it started.

Do any of our Christian colleges provide training in involvement ministry?   None that I know of.   I am open to assist colleges in this area if they wish.   I am open to training anyone to become an involvement minister.

What are the obstacles in starting an involvement ministry?   I don’t like to use that word “obstacle.”   If church leadership does the work necessary, they will have a very fruitful/successful involvement ministry.    Church leadership must educate the brethren slowly and thoroughly first.   Experience tells me if we help the church understand the biblical basis of what we are attempting to do, there will be few if any problems.   The opposite is true:  don’t properly prepare the brethren and you are doomed for failure.   Romans 10:17 applies here.   The only possible obstacle could be close-mindedness.   When church leadership is open-minded, the Lord will work through us for His glory and for the edification of the church.

What books would you recommend for us to read as leaders as we prepare for starting an involvement ministry?   I have a list these on my website under “Books.”  I also think all the articles on this website are most helpful.  I am also rewriting two books that I will soon make available to churches; one on bearing fruit and one on developing one’s spiritual gifts.    The I Serve U Inventories will be released soon.

Why do you suggest getting more information from our members than just their spiritual gifts?   The I Serve U Inventories seek six pieces of priceless information about each member.  I am familiar with other involvement individuals and organizations who seek to only discover the members’ spiritual gifts; that alone does not give a complete picture of each Christian.  In fact, the other five pieces of information (that my inventories request) are just as important as the spiritual gifts. Every bit of this information makes for a comprehensive involvement ministry.

What lessons do our members need to hear in order to prepare the church to start an involvement ministry?   Any and everything that has to do with service, spiritual gifts, purpose and the priesthood of believers. I cannot begin to list all of them here.  However a solid preacher will do the necessary work.    This is NOT a quick fix thing; a good preacher will preach on this for at least a year (your congregation may decide to have a specific congregational focus for a year in preparation for kicking off an involvement ministry). I will counsel with your pulpit minister if you wish.    Also look at the “Books” list on this website.

Why should we work with you?   Most folks and organizations that (attempt to) do what I do (1)  are not as thorough as I am, (2)  are not members of the church and (3)  are very expensive.     My approach is to show you how God has designed your members and your congregation for local service in the local church and community.   God does not make mistakes.   We need to work together because I will train members to be actual coaches which in turn will perpetuate what we’ve started together.   I want your involvement ministry to grow and continue until the Lord returns.   I will also consult with you years into the future if you want me to.

What makes the I Serve U Inventories superior to other inventories?    They  seek to discover six priceless pieces of information about each member; there are no other inventories like them. None!   These six priceless pieces of information will be given to the church leadership, deacons and ministry leaders for their use in putting members into ministry for which they are best suited.   This information can be used for other purposes.  It becomes your information.   It is some of the most helpful information you will ever have of your members—even more valuable than their birthday dates and mailing addresses.

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