While speaking with Rick Dobrowolski, Founder and Lead Pastor of Allentown Bible Church, I was able to learn about the footprint his small church makes in the community. I also got the inside scoop on their technology use as well as his helpful advice to others who are getting ready to start their own church.
How does your church utilize technology?
We utilize technology for communication, presentations, and collaboration. Our leadership team regularly uses Slack, Google Docs, and Aplos to facilitate ministry in an efficient and thorough manner. Our website is built on WordPress. Our weekly updates are sent out through MailChimp. We utilize Facebook & Twitter for social media. I guess all these ways we utilize technology are the new normal for churches in today’s world. Since we do not have a physical office location, we probably utilize technology more than most.
Do you collaborate with any other churches in your area to help out in the community?
We collaborate with many churches in our area to assist the community. We have participated in food banks, clothing closets, cleanup efforts, sexual trafficking awareness, mentoring programs, warming shelters for the homeless, as well as other efforts. Being in an urban area provides us with many opportunities to be involved. A difficulty is figuring out what we can realistically do with the resources that we have.
How do you reach out to the various age groups with your weekly sermon?
Once a month, we keep every person that is older than an infant in for the sermon time. This has been challenging to me as a speaker, but through collaboration with others we have strategized different ways to target our various age groups. I have utilized presentation tools to show pictures and verses, had kids act out parts of my sermon, brought in objects to use to communicate a point, as well as asking kids questions to keep them involved. In my demeanor, I have tried to stay upbeat with my energy and move throughout the audience instead of staying in one place.
Thankfully, we have a children’s program that runs most weeks. However, I still try to use a lot of those tools with older audiences as well to keep them engaged.
What advice would you share with other church plants that are just getting started?
Have a plan, but allow it to change over time as you get to know the community and your church family. Be real with your expectations, both of yourself and others. Invest in your relationship with Christ, and you will overflow with help to others.
What are some of the joys that come with running a church?
There are great joys found in running a church if you take the long look. The slow, steady work of bringing God’s grace and truth into someone’s life as they follow Jesus is the most rewarding work in the world. It has its challenges, especially when I as a pastor get self-focused, but, with a proper mindset, the work is highly encouraging. People are the greatest blessing and the greatest hardship. But God is always at work, and seeing Him change lives, provide resources, and make things happen in the community is a great joy.