As the Great Plains Conference is formed, the issue of church vitality remains throughout Kansas and Nebraska.
Participating in Guest Quest can help congregations become more vital and reshape their ministries based on the Vital Congregations initiative of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Guest Quest is an evangelistic tool created to help churches of all sizes in all geographic locations with diverse populations or with a static population.
When fully utilized, Guest Quest can increase a church’s Sunday morning attendance by more than 50 percent. Doing all the follow-up and follow-through suggestions, churches can expect a tangible difference in their long-term worship attendance and attracting new people to become involved in the church. When shortcuts are made, when the inventories are not taken, or not taken seriously, then the results will be less than ideal.
Guest Quest combines several components into four tutorial sessions, each one focusing on a different aspect of disciple-making. Each session combines online training that relates to materials printed in the Guest Quest workbook.
Congregations may work as fast as they like or as slow as needed. The key is for congregational ownership in the process. There are several inventories that are asked of the congregation to do at various points along the journey, which are indicated in the timelines in the workbook and explained in the video sessions.
Watch this video introduction to the program by Great Plains Area Bishop Scott Jones.
Each video is approximately 60 minutes with multiple opportunities for group discussion, taking as much time as needed to talk about the issues raised in the video.
The goals at the completion of each of the four sessions are:
Session 1: Participants should be able to understand the present reality of The United Methodist Church, and to begin the process of reversing the trend through vision, purpose and focus.
Session 2: Participants should be able to understand their community and local-church demographics as a way to identify population groups within your church’s mission field to invite into a relationship with Christ through the church and to begin empowering the Guest Quest Task Force for success.
Session 3: Participants should be able to put together a detailed plan with time-specific dates for executing Guest Quest in the local church.
Session 4: Participants should be able to develop two or three different ways to continue engaging the target audience for on-going faith development in the local church.
To participate in Guest Quest, email Rev. Patrick Broz at email@example.com.
Sowing Seeds Devotional
A four-part devotional guide, Sowing Seeds, uses the Parable of the Sower as the centering scripture for all four devotional sessions.
The workbook begins with the theological centering and general information to know before beginning Guest Quest. Then, timelines have been established for congregations to follow, along with agendas for each small focus group to work through as you prepare for Guest Quest Sunday. Three different inventories have been included: healthy church, facilities inventory and mystery guest audit. These should not be neglected. Each one serves as a discernment tool and practical guide to see the church through the lens of a nominally religious person.
Guest Quest Success Grants
The Great Plains Annual Conference is committed to helping churches become more vital through the use of Guest Quest. As such, congregations may request a grant up to $500 to assist with implementing Guest Quest. There is no form to apply; simply write a narrative about how your church will use the grant money to implement Guest Quest. The pastor should email the grant request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of Guest Quest
In 2009, the Kansas West Conference Board of Discipleship began a journey to make facilitate the conference more vital. Through prayer, discernment and listening to congregations, the board began experimenting with an evangelism tool first written in the 1970s in part by Bishop Scott Jones and used extensively by the North Texas Conference, who retains ownership rights over the original program, Bring a Friend Sunday. The board updated Bring a Friend Sunday, experimented in the Salina District throughout 2011, revised again and then brought it to the Annual Conference in 2012.