Have you ever thought that reaching out to others was an impossible task? Well, for most Christians in America, it is. One recent study found that 80 percent of respondents who were attending an evangelical church (like Central) thought it was important to share their faith with others, yet of those who thought it was important, most hadn’t done so in the previous six months. In fact, less than 25 percent of the respondents had EVER shared Jesus with someone else. Over 50 percent, when asked how many unchurched people they had invited to church in the past six months said, “ZERO.” It is a weakness that we must take steps to change. That’s what this series of messages is all about, it’s titled Reach Out.
Vacation Bible School is here! From 6:30- to 8:30 PM each night this week we will be leading children on a great adventure, showing them that they can conquer challenges using God’s mighty power.
Grandview Day of Prayer will be celebrated on Sunday, August 16th starting at 4:00 PM. We will meet at the large outdoor shelter at The View in Grandview. Bring non-refrigerated desserts to share, enough water for your family, and lawn chairs for seating!
Advisory Board Meeting on Monday, August 17th starting at 6:30 PM
The Deacons will meet on Sunday, August 23rd following the morning worship service.
France and Spain: Many Europeans vacation extensively during the months of July and/or August. Ask God to encourage missionaries and pastors as they see low attendance week after week. Pray church members will return energized and enthusiastic about participation in church activities and ministries.
Bulgaria: Pray for Trif and Vanya Trifonov and their three children as they hold services, meet supporters, and raise funds for ministry in Bulgaria. Pray their ministry will strengthen the partnerships between these churches and the Bulgaria team.
Panama: Lázaro and Ariadna Riesgo participated in an all-day orientation in the Mission’s office on July 28th. Ask God to prepare the way before them as they jump through all the legal hoops necessary to set up housekeeping in the States. Pray for their cultural adjustment, English language acquisition, and preparation for ministry.
India: Carlisle Hanna has a visa appointment on August 4th. Pray for favor and safety of travel. Also pray for his safety as the heat index soars and fans do not give relief. Many people are dying from the intense heat and the continuing onslaught of snakes. A hostel boy felt something in his pants and found a young cobra. So many people still need to hear the gospel and are entering eternity without the message of salvation.
Spain: The Alpedrete church’s vacation Bible school drew 44 children, 18 of them unchurched, to learn about relying on Christ and God’s Word. Children presented a closing program on Sunday, July 26th, with many unsaved family members attending. Pray God’s Word will not return void in each of the lives impacted during this VBS.
The Hanna Project: Jenny received TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification this month. Praise God for this step and the opportunities she will have for meaningful conversations.
Regional Directors: Pray for Jeff Turnbough as he recovers from a “perfect storm” of three separate neck issues that created excruciating pain during the National Association and following. He has arthritis, bone spurs on several neck vertebrae, and calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle. Praise God, nerve endings have not been damaged and a treatment plan is in place.
Uruguay: Jaimie and Tammy Lancaster have tickets to return to Uruguay on August 19th. Praise God for the healing He has performed in Tammy’s body. Pray for her to continue to gain strength, energy, and stamina.
Bulgaria: Praise God for the seven English Club children (and some of their parents/grandparents) who attended a Christian camp with the Svishtov New Life FWB Church. Ask God to deeply root the seeds of truth into their hearts. Praise Him for the work only the Holy Spirit can accomplish.
India: Ask God to work in hearts at the Calvary FWB Church in South India. Following the recent death of their godly pastor, a man has elevated himself and seeks to take over the church. Pray for a resolution that honors God and does not pit Christians against one another.
The Hanna Project: Pray for our team in France as they have many opportunities to answer questions about Jesus and the gospel. Pray especially for S* as he and an Algerian man began studying the Bible together on July 30th. Ask God to open the eyes of the man’s heart, revealing truth in amazing ways.
Bible Reading Challenge: Acts 2:14-4
Bible Memorization Challenge: Acts 2:39 (ESV)…”For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
First, let me say, “Thank you” to Joel McGill for filling the pulpit for me these past two weeks. It was a tremendous blessing to Sharon and I to be able to get away.
Second, let me tell you about the National Convention that was held from July 19th through the 22nd. I have to say that this year’s convention was the least contentious I have ever witnessed. The spirit of unity was evident. The opportunities to reach out were numerous. Sharon and I connected with two young ladies in our hotel, our housekeeper and her supervisor. We have committed to praying for both of them. I have their pictures on my phone along with their names to remind me to pray for them. We never have to look very far to find someone who needs us to reach out to them.
Which brings me to my third main topic, reaching out. As a church, we are generally weak in this area. I’m not saying that no one is reaching out, it’s just that we’re somewhat disconnected and disorganized in our attempts to reach out. I am working with our new Outreach and Evangelism Coordinator (Luis Guzman) to help address this. Also, along this avenue, let me encourage each one of you to take ownership of Central and its mission.
Central Church seeks to glorify God by bringing others to faith in Jesus Christ and seeing lives changed by teaching and living God’s truth.
I included our mission statement for you…that’s what we have adopted to remind us of what we’re supposed to be doing. Now, I encouraged you to take ownership for a reason. Some of the things I have experienced in the past few weeks tell me that we may have a general lack of ownership for Central and its mission. Let me illustrate, please, before you just pass over this as not being applicable. This morning, prior to VBS, I removed all of the guest cards from the seats in the sanctuary. I know that children, being children, will pull them out and draw on them if I don’t remove them. It happens every year! However, when I removed them I was amazed at how many empty spots there were. I have to admit, I have never had anyone ask me about replacing those visitor cards. Yet each week we tend to sit in the same seat, and so some of you have seen those empty slots for the visitor card in front of you. We all need to take a critical look at how we do things, and speak up about getting them right. Researchers say that we have a window of 7-10 minutes to make a first impression with a first-time visitor. The fact that those visitor card slots sit empty for long periods of time tell me that no one is really paying attention to them, including myself. If we don’t pay attention to these things, what will our visitors think? Let me give you a second illustration. I can’t give you an exact number of times that this has happened, but it happens quite often to me. Someone who has attended Central longer than I have will refer to the church as if I owned it. They’ll call it, “Your church,” instead of, “Our church.” So, let me encourage you, exhort you, beg you…take ownership of OUR facility and ministries. Take ownership of Central’s mission. Make it a personal responsibility to make a change in how you view Central and your role within this body.
Finally, I was greatly encouraged by yesterday’s business meeting. It was clear that everyone in attendance believes we should move forward with the process of calling a youth pastor/family ministry pastor. The need for this is self-evident. Our young people have no one on staff here that is solely dedicated to seeing them grow in their relationship to Christ. I intend to push forward with this as God allows. You will start seeing pledge cards in the bulletin beginning this next Sunday. In order to pay for a new position, everyone is going to have to be willing to sacrifice. In order not to cut other ministries, other salaries, or dip into savings we need 10 (ten) families to commit to giving an additional $35 per week, or 20 (twenty) families that will commit to giving an additional $17.50 per week. This will be a two-year commitment. The other alternatives to funding this position; cutting other salaries, cutting other ministries, and dipping into savings will only be used to the extent necessary to make up the shortfall from the pledges. The pledge cards will also have places where you can commit to volunteering to fill in in places where we have cut other salaried positions. I hope to have a finalized job description ready in a few weeks, and we will then come back to the congregation for final approval to start the process of calling a youth/family ministry pastor.
You have a lot to pray about. Pray for God’s leading in the process of adding staff to Central. Pray for a stronger desire and willingness to take ownership of Central and its mission. Pray for clarity and unity as the Advisory Board and I deal with the weaknesses we have identified within Central. Pray for our Sunday School and for our services…the list goes on. Thank you all for your support and willingness to work and pray for God’s glory.
I hope to see you in church soon!