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“3 Common Pain Points of the church” – Pastor Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen – 2/11/20


    God uses the church. Plain. And. Simple. The Bible promises that the church will prevail. It’s called the Bride of Christ. The New Testament Church has been around for over 2,000 years… and it’s not going away. But, if we face the brutal facts in the United States, the average church is in decline. Many are in serious decline. There are several statistics out there, but many say that around 80% – 85% of churches are plateaued or shrinking. As I talk to pastors around the country here are 3 common pain points that the church has in 2019; They are not reaching many new people, They can’t get enough people to serve (20% do 80% of all the serving), and They are struggling to reach millennials. Our church has found a way that helps address all 3 of those areas… lean in… Three words… 

Love. Our. City!


  1. Love Our City has helped us reach thousands of new people in our community. We’re not just handing them a track and asking them if they need prayer (that’s not bad)… but in our culture today, it can be weird or awkward if that is the first thing you do when you try to build with someone you have no relationship with. There are so many people trying to sell something to someone. In addition there are many different religions knocking on people’s doors (Think Jehovah Witnesses)… so the door to door evangelism doesn’t work nearly as well as it did at one time. What we’ve done is decided to SERVE people first. It breaks the ice with community service projects where we do random acts of kindness, pay it forward and give appreciation lunches and gift bags. These simple acts of kindness have changed the negative narrative about the church for many in our community. Everyone is invited to the Love Our City party (which is church on Sunday) and we’ve seen hundreds actually show up and start a relationship with Jesus and get baptized! We’ve seen real results and so have dozens of other churches that have done Love Our City! 
  2. Love Our City has helped us get people off the bench and into the game of SERVING! Instead of having 20% do 80% of the serving… we’ve flipped it with Love Our City. We’ve created lots of different options with projects and project times for people to get involved and we’ve had over 80% of our church get involved! Many of these people have never served before at our church, but once they get a taste and see its good, many get regularly involved on Sundays or serve at other outreach events. It’s been amazing to see over a thousand people get involved in serving in one week! When the church is mobilized on mission it is a powerful force to be reckoned with!
  3.  Love Our City has helped us engage millennials in our church and in our community. Most churches are struggling to reach or keep millennials. Stats show that 59% have left the church. Whoa! Why is this? There are many reasons, but one thing about millennials is that they love activism, social justice, causes and serving in the community. Unfortunately, many churches are not regularly involved in their communities and they lose interest and go and serve somewhere else. The average age of Crossover Church is someone that is in their early thirties. Our majority is the exact demographic most churches are trying to reach. People regularly ask… how do you do that? There are several reasons with music, culture, etc… but a major area is our community engagement. We Love Our City and millennials love that and want to be a part of it. In 2019 the Sunday after our serve week we had hundreds of guests at church and 105 of them responded to start a relationship with Christ or rededicate their lives to Christ. We had them fill out a card out and exchanged it for a Free Book (Next Steps on your spiritual journey – An interesting thing we noticed was the majority of the cards filled out were from people born in the 90’s and they were first time guests. Many of them were actually touched at a Love Our City project and they were so impressed that they made comments like, “This is what the church should be about”, “This is the kind of church I would go to”, and “I’ve got to come and check this church out – this is amazing.”


If your church needs to get better at addressing these 3 common pain points – Love Our City can help! Check out to see the Leaders Kit that has all the nuts and bolts to help you do it in your city. There is also an upcoming live webinar where we share details about Love Our City and have a Q and A. You can also sign up at the website. Praying for you to reach new people, get people off the bench and into the game and to engage more millennials! 


“HOW CAN YOU GET PEOPLE TO TAKE THEIR NEXT STEPS?” – Pastor Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen – 8/19/19


     Can you believe that Fall is upon us? Depending on what part of the country you live in – school has already started or it’s starting soon. Schedules are changing and new rhythms are forming. This is a reality of this season. 

     What are you doing at your church to help people take their NEXT STEPS in their spiritual journey this fall? This is the time to ASK for new commitments and to push/encourage people to START doing something new or start doing something AGAIN. Lots of people got out of the routine of regularly coming to church, serving, giving or leading during the summer months. Many people don’t automatically get back on track without some people encouraging them and holding them accountable.

     School just started last week, so this past Sunday we did a big challenge – inviting people to make some new commitments this fall. We brainstormed in our staff meeting and went back and forth with what the ask would be. It was an INCREDIBLE response… here are 7 things we did…


Everything costs something. Taking next steps will take time, energy and resources. Why should I take these next steps? I preached a message about “The Results” of when you are abiding in God’s presence and you are living it out. I shared the benefits and all the great things that happen when you are consistent and faithful. You can watch it at (Hearing From God – Part 3 – The Results).


I shared 4 stories of people’s lives that have been changed at our church. We had a picture up on the screen as I talked about where they came from and where they are today and people celebrated and clapped for each person. 


We had everyone that has completed our 3D Growth Track (Our Membership Class) to stand up. We explained the benefits of the class and stressed that these people are the core of our church and we want to continue to grow the core of our church. We blessed them and celebrated them.


If you lead a diverse church and there are new people in the mix (I know that describes you if you are reading this)… then everyone’s next step is not the same. 


The top of the commitment card said: My next steps for “Spiritual Results” This Fall. The Personal Step was that they would commit to start spending a regular time with God daily (Praying and Reading the Bible). Then we had 2 options for their Step at Church – To attend our next 3D Growth Track classes that started in a few weeks, or if they weren’t ready to commit to the church yet… to at least commit to start attending Sunday services regularly every week and possibly even come on Wednesday Nights to our Growth Night Bible Study.


School just started in our city. Near the end of the message I talked about at the end of class and the beginning of class there is a BELL. I had two bells on my cafe table (podium) and I rang them several times. This represents a transition. I shared that we’re in a transitional season and transformation brings transition. When I told the stories about people’s lives who changed – I rang the bell and everyone clapped and celebrated. So… the action step AFTER they filled out their commitment cards was to bring it up front and lay it on the edge of the stage and RING THE BELL! Each time the bell rang – the crowd clapped and celebrated. We then prayed for them after the line of bell ringers was finished.


There were 110 people that RANG THE BELL yesterday at our services. We immediately imputed their information in our database system and within 24 hours they all received a text message congratulating them on ringing the bell and making a commitment. In the next two weeks we’ll continue to follow up with more text messages, email and even some phone calls to make sure they follow through with attending the class or regularly attending services. We’re excited about the Harvest that is at hand as the seasons are changing!

* If you’d like to learn more about systems, creativity and church growth – check out for the Masterclass on demand or the next Live Masterclass coming up! 






Have you ever done an outreach and touched a lot of people… but wondered what the impact really was?

We just had our 11th annual Back 2 School Jam and reached close to 2,000 people. We gave away close to 1,000 backpacks and school supplies, had free haircuts, free food, resources, a teen lounge, prayer rooms, sports zone, bouncy houses, arts and crafts and lots of Love. We gave everyone a taste of our church as we did 3 short services (less than 30 minutes) where had special music, some hip-hop, a video sharing what we do and a short engaging gospel message. 

It was amazing… we definitely connected with the crowd there, but the next day at church there were ONLY a handful of new people from the event. We’ve reached dozens of new families from outreaches that are now actively a part of the church… but… 

What did we learn? 


When you do a huge outreach and reach hundreds or even thousands of people, it doesn’t mean they are all going to come to church or even the next event you are inviting them to. In the moment everyone is having a great time and you might have tons of people tell you they are coming to your church… but TRUST ME… everyone that says they are coming back – don’t always come back. That doesn’t mean several won’t come eventually, but it they may not come back right away and you may NOT see a big attendance increase like you thought you would.


In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul said that he planted, Apollos watered… but God brought the increase. When you do outreach, you are planting seeds, you may be watering some seeds, and you may even see some harvest. Back to point number 1… have realistic expectations as it will mostly be planting seeds. For many of the people you are reaching it is the beginning of a relationship. More than half of the people that came to our Back 2 School Jam were there for the first time. It may take a few more touch points for them to come to an actual service.


Since you realize you may not get another opportunity to impact these people, take advantage of that moment to share the hope you have. When we do an event (like back 2 school) we find a creative, but compelling way to briefly share the story of Jesus. People didn’t come to hear this… they came to get the free stuff. So, you want to do it in a way that can touch their current circumstances and needs and please keep it SHORT and to the point. There is nothing worse than going to an outreach and they have to listen to someone preach for an hour before they get their stuff. That is a huge turn off. We tie this into our program and do it in less than 10 minutes. The creative element is tied in with story (Jesus was great at that), music… and this year one of the kids leaders actually chopped me into 3 pieces in this zig zag box and I did a short message about how Jesus puts the pieces of our lives back together. Everyone was engaged, had a great time and we had hundreds of people respond to pray. 


Have a prayer area and offer free Bibles and devotional books. We prayed with close to 50 families and gave away a few hundred Bibles and my latest book “Next Steps On Your Spiritual Journey” devotional books (You can get a case of them for your next outreach in our store for less than $4 each! ). 


Don’t think people will just organically come to what is next. You need to INVITE them and put something in their hand describing it. We invited adults to our new series “How to hear from God” (Almost everyone wants to learn how to better do that) and we put some pictures of guest artists on there that are coming and some info. about our kids ministry. We invited Kids back to kids church and gave them a “Golden Ticket” to get a free prize and be entered into a raffle for a grand prize at Kidz Church. We invited teens to come back to the youth service where they would get a Free T-Shirt and be entered into a raffle for a Finish Line gift card. Be creative and create some incentives and if possible show a video of what your church is normally like so they can visualize it and hear your vision.


We didn’t do follow up on them that day (it was Saturday), but the following week we added them to a group and texted them and emailed them inviting them back to church. We especially reached out to the people that came to the prayer rooms with a phone call. Follow up is super important! Those people were all added to our regular email list going forward. Pray for all those that were touched. Many of the people we reached were going through some rough seasons of their life. We pray the seeds that were planted will draw them to God and if it’s his will, draw them to our church. We’ve seen dozens of people come after we followed up.


Big outreach days can be a huge boost for your volunteers. It engages your church and gives them purpose and hands on opportunity to make a difference and use their gifts. Find ways to appreciate them, celebrate them and recognize them during and after the event. 

If you’d like to learn more about outreach and growing your church, go to and check out the ways we can help you take your next steps to reach new people in your city. If you’d like to learn more about Love Our City, go to and check out the incredible Leaders Kit Resource.