Stop Inviting People to Church

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Outreach/Evangelism | 0 comments

stopsignMy friend Tim Patrick, a Director of Missions here in Louisiana wrote the following article. Although the title of the article makes me shudder, Tim has a great point.

Would you please stop inviting people to church? What a surprising statement from a man who is supposed to build up the church. You would expect strategies, slogans and positive statements.

Why would I scream: “Stop inviting people to church?” There is a catch. The catch is the word “Unless.”The following explanations will help you understand the logic behind the statement.

Stop inviting people to church unless you are willing to love them. If the invitation to church is the only time you will speak to them, there is hypocrisy in such actions. Many people invite others to church for special activities, such as revivals, but never contact or speak to them any other time. This is hypocritical! Invitations to church have little impact unless motivated by love and grounded in a sound relationship.

Stop inviting people to church unless you are going to invite them into your world. A professor of evangelism, at one of our seminaries, once said: “Why would people want to go to our Heaven unless we want them in our living room?”

Stop inviting people to church unless you want to live Christ before them. People are looking for legitimizers of the gospel. They do not want to hear a sermon; they want to see a sermon.

Stop inviting people to church unless you put people before the institution. We often put “our” church before the people for whom Jesus died. Example: Church business meetings are notorious for discouraging people. We get caught up in maintaining the institution and fail to see how the institution is a stumbling block to people.

Stop inviting people to church unless you look at a person’s heart rather than outward appearance. I have known situations where church members frown at a person who wears flip flops, a baseball cap or what they perceive to be inappropriate clothing. We evaluate their outward appearance rather than the needs of their heart.

Stop inviting people to church unless you are willing to sit by them. Church guests are often anxious about visiting a church because they do not know anyone and might not know the rituals. A friendly supporter will alleviate these concerns.

Inviting people to church can be a vital part of a church’s outreach. However, if not supported by proper actions, the invitation can be a hindrance and a barrier.

_______________

Sean Keith

 

Sean Keith is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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Day 31-Leader Rewards

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Sunday School | 0 comments

'Leadereship' highlighted in greenMax De Pree wrote, “One becomes a leader by doing the work of a leader.” [“Leadership Jazz,” The Leader’s Companion] Jesus modeled leadership with the disciples. He provided an example for them to follow; he taught them about the mission of the church; and he challenged their presuppositions. Each disciple ultimately assumed a place of leadership in the early church based on his or her talents and strengths. Jesus’ example indicates that the greatest reward of effective leadership is watching followers become leaders.

When teachers accept the leader role, they begin to see their members as more than students. They understand that teaching is creating an experience in which a person changes in some lasting way his knowledge, understanding, attitudes, skills, and values. What a great reward! Lives are changed.

When shepherds accept the leader role, they see their members as more than friends and ministers. These leaders put others first, even above themselves. They overlook the wrinkles and the quirks of a person and love them just as they are. This love transforms their followers into a team of people who are willing to go outside the walls of the classroom to take a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. And people lives are changed and transformed. What a great reward!

Churches are desperate for teachers to accept their role as shepherds and leaders. These teaching-shepherd-leaders who follow Jesus’ example are focused on accomplishing the task through ready and able followers. These leaders understand that it lifts the organization when members are formed, conformed and transformed into a mighty army for the Lord. What a great reward!

David Francis and Ken Braddy, authors of 3 Roles of a Group Leader, conclude their book with the statement, “The reward is great for the one who guides a group well as a teaching-shepherd-leader.”

Lead in such a way that Jesus will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The greatest reward of all!

________________

Miller-Mark

 

 

Mark Miller is the Sunday School specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Mark is married, has three beautiful daughters and has been known to enjoy a round of golf occasionally.

Mark also has his own blog at drmmiller.org.

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Day 30-Leadership Requests

Posted by on Aug 30, 2014 in 31 Days of 3 Roles for Guiding Groups | 0 comments

prayer-room-symbol-braille-sign-sb-0358In the book 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, David Francis shares that, when he served as a church education director, his greatest tool used in identifying potential leaders was PRAYER.  He used to utilize a closet sized room on the third floor of his education building as a prayer/study room.  Contained in that room was simply a desk, chair, church directory, printout of all members, and stacks of index cards with cut-up photos of church members from old directories, newsletters, and new member photo shots.  These simple tools allowed David to take his leadership requests/needs to God and allow him to discern from these lists of names potential leaders whom God may be preparing, through his Holy Spirit, to be used in leadership.

Flash forward to 2014.  This same tool is available to us as leaders.  We serve the same God who still answers the prayers of leaders who seek His guidance in finding where He is working in the hearts and lives of your church members (and potential members).  Our methods have changed with technology advances, but prayer still works.  We may not have a stack of index cards with cutout photos, but we do have membership databases, Twitter™ streams, Facebook™ profiles, and “prayer rooms”.  We have the ability to gain near instant access to libraries of data on the likes and dislikes of nearly everyone who attends our church.  Without going as far as being cyber-stalkers, we can easily make a connection with members of our church and lift them up in prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to work His way into the heart of these potential leaders.

David shared how, when he asked God to reveal leaders to him, He did!  He ALWAYS did!  Were people always obedient?  Unfortunately no, and sometimes he didn’t discern His will perfectly, but the more time he spent praying, the better he got.

So if you are in a leadership vacuum needing more leaders, let the Holy Spirit know your need and allow Him to work in specific people whom you identify.  Always be open to add names to your prayer list when God brings them to your mind and when you meet them face to face.  God answers prayer, AND we need to be open to SEE those answers when they happen.  We still need to do the work, but our most powerful tool is still PRAYER.

_______________

JasonMcNair

 

Jason McNair
Strengthening Churches Missionary for Utah Idaho Southern Baptist Convention
@jason_mcnair
fb.me/jason.mcnair

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