My Third Year Vision: Going After New People
by Dee Dowdy
I was born in late 1959 (yes, that means I hit the big 6-0 this year)! Back when I was growing up things were much different than they are today, even in the church. In the 60s until even the mid-1980s, the church was flourishing. In fact it was the “happening place,” because everything was closed on Sunday and everybody “went to church.”
But then things began to change, stores are now open and even yard service people work on Sundays. Also, many people in our community do not even care about coming to church because they do not know why they should. They have never heard anything about God or his Son Jesus. Thus, our nation and community is decreasingly Christian and increasingly worldly.
Meanwhile, the church has continued to live with what is known as the “Attractional Model” of ministry. This paradigm says that the church is supposed to do everything it can to convince people to come to meet with them, to like what the church likes, to act the way church people act. This model also heralds the idea, “They know where we are, if they want to come to us, we will be here.” Well guess what? They are not coming to the church like they did years ago! (In fact even in our own church. most of the growth we have enjoyed has come from transfer of membership rather than new professions of faith!)
We know that the world desperately needs to hear that there is forgiveness, grace and love in the name of Jesus Christ. We also are reminded of Paul’s words, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.” This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) But you may be asking “If unbelievers and unchurched people are not coming to hear the message like they used to, so what should we do?” The simple answer is “WE go to them!” In fact, Jesus said to us “GO and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19)
So, one of the ways I want our church to do that is to build a new bridge between our church and the apartment complex just up the hill from the church. I have already talked with the manager and she will allow us to host a short Thursday night worship service in their meeting room. I would like to hold this service on Thursday evenings (except for Recovery ministry night).
I also want to be deliberate about “going after” the children and youth from that facility to be connected with our church. This may involve having volunteers to drive the van to go and get them on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. After we have built a strong relationship with that complex, we could then find another complex or community to begin the same process.
What I would like to know is who among you are willing to help with this? Will a few of you be willing to spare thirty minutes to an hour on a Thursday Night to worship in a new space in order to build new bridges between us and our neighbors and between our neighbors and God? Are some of you willing to drive the van to go after new children and youth? Are more of you willing to help out on Wednesday nights with children and youth should our group grow? Are you willing to go or would you just prefer to expect the lost world to come to us? Just asking!!!!
Love to you all!
May 31, 2019
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