What’s Happening @ Central
I am so glad we were able to have in-person services again. While the church restoration is going slowly (actually, not progressing at all currently) we will make it through, eventually. However, until we get to the end, we will need to allow for the inconvenience of a single restroom. While not ideal, it seems to be a workable solution, for now. I know it isn’t what any of us wanted, especially as we look forward to Easter, but it is what we must deal with.
Normally, I would be pushing for a “big day” on Easter. However, I am not sure that we can truly have a day like that until we get the church back together. While “big days” are important to church growth, we will need to make sure we can physically make that comfortable. Until we are fully restored, I feel like it will be mostly church family for the foreseeable future. Again, this is not ideal, but it is probably the best, for now.
Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you some things I learned at the Minister’s Retreat at the beginning of March. Our keynote speaker is an author who has spent around 15+ years studying church growth. While there is no secret ingredient to church growth, there are some consistent principles that growing churches seem to be employing. One of the most prominent principles is that growing churches are inviting churches. The basis for this is simple, about 80 percent of un-churched people state that if they were invited to attend a church service by a friend, they would go. The problem with this principle is also simple, only about 2 percent of Christians actually invite friends to attend their church.
If we won’t invite our un-churched friends to attend what we proclaim to be the most important hour in our week (at least, I think we proclaim it to be the most important…) why should they feel any desire to seek out what we are offering?
One other thing that is apparently beginning to trend in our society is the desire of more people to have a smaller, neighborhood church to attend rather than the mega-church sites. In other words, people are expressing a desire to have smaller venues to attend for worship. With the pandemic starting to recede, and hopefully continuing to do so in the coming months, people are still a little leery of larger gatherings. How do we attract people to our church as an option for this trend? One way is to do a prayer walk in local neighborhoods. It would take 2-5 people to walk through a neighborhood, stopping to pray in front of each house, and then putting a door-hanger on the front door. The cost would be minimal, the main investment would be the time and effort of praying for the homes in a neighborhood. I hope to organize a couple of these over the next few months as we get Central restored.
Thought for the Day
Political differences have become something that are not just a matter of discussion. The left and right are vilifying one another. Differences of opinion over the pandemic requirements have led to angry, even violent, confrontations. Of course, differences within the religious community have always been difficult to deal with, and have led to people being put to death. Oh, it still results in people being put to death, even today.
Aren’t we, as Christians, supposed to be above such things? Aren’t we supposed to be the peacemakers who strive for unity and harmony? Well, of course we are. Aren’t we?
Unity and harmony among fellow Christians is absolutely supposed to be the rule. However, if we are going to be true to the mission that Jesus left for us to accomplish, we should expect it to cause division. How do I know this? Because, Jesus caused division among the people of His day!
John 7:43 declares that there was a division among the people because of what Jesus was telling them, and because of what Jesus was doing among them. Some wanted to have Him arrested, and some wanted to have Him declared to be the Messiah. If this were the only occasion for a division to rise up as a result of Jesus’ words and actions, I would possibly be guilty of overstating the case. However, at least two more times, John declares that there was a division among the people due to the things Jesus was saying and doing.
In the same way, as we seek to bring the message of the gospel to people who don’t know the message yet, we should expect a division to arise as a result of our words and actions. Some people will want to accept the message and will believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Other people will point to us and accuse us of all manner of vile things. Jesus told us this would be the case.
While I don’t want to be hated, I also don’t want to fail to do what Jesus has commanded us to do. I don’t want to be part of a church that doesn’t do what Jesus commanded us to do. That doesn’t mean we have free license to speak hateful words to people. Remember, we are to speak truth in love! However, the very fact that we speak truth will result in some people hating us. If I am speaking truth, and trying to do so in a loving manner, then I am alright with being hated by some. It tells me I am doing what Jesus told me to do. A final warning, this does not give you permission to be a hateful person! Before you speak, make sure that it is love that is motivating you.