Craig Groeschel tells churches how to 'Get It and Keep It'

|PIC1|Already in its second print run, the latest book by innovative pastor Craig Groeschel is quickly becoming a must-read for church leaders who really want to have 'It'.

After seeing his church grow from a two-car garage worship experience to services at 13 different campuses across six states in the US, a TV ministry, and international book sales, Groeschel talks about a transformational agent he calls 'It' in his new book It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It .

"We didn't have a nice building. We didn't have our own office. We didn't have a church phone number ... What did we have? We had a few people ... We had enough Bibles to go around. And we had 'It'," Groeschel writes in the first chapter of his book, on the humble beginnings of his church 12 years ago.

You can name today the churches that have 'It', churches that had 'It' but lost 'It', and some that do not have 'It', the LifeChurch pastor said at a recent leadership summit.

So what is 'It'?

"The answer is 'don't know'," Groeschel said as he addressed thousands of leaders at Willow Creek Community Church. "Honestly, I'm not totally sure."

'It' has a lot to do with the Holy Spirit, Groeschel believes, but that is not everything.

What he does know is that organisations that do have 'It' possess seven qualities. They include a "laser focus", the ability to see opportunity where others see obstacles, having a willingness to fail, being led by people who have 'It', and having unmistakable camaraderie.

Moreover, 'It' is not a system or model, nor is 'It' something that can be created, copied or manufactured, he says. God makes 'It' happen.

And when churches have 'It', they see transformed lives but at the same time, those churches with 'It' attract critics, many of whom misunderstand what they are all about.

When LifeChurch was expanding to different locations and incorporating satellite video teaching into the services, the church drew its share of critics, some of whom felt video sites created distance between the churchgoer and pastor or that video venues directed all the attention to one pastor (on screen).

Still, while LifeChurch was growing, not every campus had 'It'.

"All of our campuses were under the same leadership. The buildings were similar. The worship pastors were unique but had consistent styles. The kids' curriculum never varied from campus to campus. All were experiencing exactly the same weekend teaching. But some campuses had it. And some didn't," writes Groeschel, although 'It' is still a growing idea, he adds.

He illustrates this by showing that there was phenomenal growth at every LifeChurch campus except the one where Groeschel taught at live, in person.

He realised, "If you don't have 'It', you can get 'It'. If you have 'It', you can lose 'It'."

During the biggest periods of growth at LifeChurch, Groeschel had lost 'It', he says.

"When you do start growing, it really is easy to lose 'It'," he says. "It's so easy ... to start focusing on numbers and start looking at the big picture rather than focusing on some of the individual stories and neglecting your individual relationship with God.

"Make sure you don't fall so in love with success [that] you fall out of love with Jesus," Groeschel warns church leaders.

Today, he says he has 'It'.

But it wasn't a "one-point process" to get 'It' back. Over a period of a year, he stopped listening to other pastors' messages and books and sought out God's Word; and he saw starvation in another country and death, he explained.

"Some of you, it's time to let God break your heart again," Groeschel told leaders. "I pray you don't sleep until you get 'It' and fall in love with Jesus again."