Archive for September, 2011

Encourage

Encouragement

This is a note of encouragement.  We are doing well growing as a church. If there is “metrics” for church growth, we can say that we are right on track.  Most church starters I know are not as far along as we are at this point in the life of their new church.

Let’s remember what we are doing.  We are the children of God on a daily, interactive life-changing journey with Jesus.  As such, we are on a journey, discovering Jesus and becoming more like Him.  Your day-to-day activity should be centered around this journey.  I know you are going to work and taking care of the daily grind of life, but on your way, you are reading the Bible, praying, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and obeying God.  As I said earlier in the week, here is a list of what this looks like, sort of.

What do you need to do this week?

1)      Continue your spiritual growth in Christ.  Pray and read the Bible.

2)      Contact people who have visited sojourn or have shown interest and reinvite them.

3)      Take every opportunity to minister to people.

  1. Pray for them (our prayer worship station Sunday was really great)
  2. Be a warm, accepting and loving face for them to talk
  3. Help someone.
  4. Talk about Jesus with someone.

This journey also involves inviting others to join us along the way.  God brings you in contact with people each day who He is working on and drawing to Himself.  Listen to the Spirit’s leading and engage these people in a conversation.  Invite them to join us.

Now, in practical behavior, let me tell you that any church plant is successful when people meet together for worship, prayer and Bible study.  We want to meet together often.  In our eyes we see growth and “success” in that we are meeting together with new people joining us.

So, make it a point to meet with the body of Christ on Sunday mornings at 10.30 and on Wednesday evenings at 7.30.  Make an attempt often to bring new people to these gathering times.  This is the hard part of a church plant; the gathering and meeting. It is work and often filled with disappointment.  Let’s work through it as we are doing God’s work and living in obedience.  Just keep on.  Don’t give up doing good.

Bottom line:  Church Plant, personal journey with Jesus, invite others along with you, meet together often at sojourn.

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Quality chek'd ice cream

Ice Cream

There is much fear related to sharing the Gospel.  We all struggle with the fear of rejection.  We also fear we’ll blow the opportunity.  We fear being embarrassed.  The receiver (person hearing the Gospel) fears that someone is trying to scam them, sell them something, push something, manipulate, or embarrass them.

An environment to hear the Gospel.  How do we negate all these fears and share freely?  Let’s first, remember a major social rule in the USA.  Don’t shove your religion down my throat!  This means don’t talk to me about religion unless I want to talk about religion.  Most people will throw up the “walls” as soon as you bring up the subject, however, if they bring up the subject they will let you talk with them all day.  So the secret obviously is to create an environment where they can bring up the subject.

We built “Ice Cream and Answers.”  A real ice cream kiosk in the Mall of the Bluffs (we’ve since closed it down and made a mobile version).  We’ll call it ICA in this blog.  We gave away free ice cream and answered questions.  Now, this was quite a curiosity for people since nothing is truly free.  We gave away the ice cream with no strings attached at all.  This caused people to be curious and ask questions.  A typcial encounter went like this.  Them: “What are the answers?”  Us:  “What are your questions?”  Us:  “we know stuff” “We are really good at relationship issues; how to raise children, how to understand teenagers, how to fix your marriage, etc”  This usually sparked something that was on their mind and they would ask a question.  “What do I do if my wife doesn’t trust me?”  “How do I potty train my child?”  We would talk (I really do know  a lot of stuff) and I would simply answer their questions.  Sometimes I would ask probing questions to clarify their question.

Where is the evangelism in this?  Since most of our problems are generated from our sin nature (or someone else’s sin) then it is natural for the topic of spiritual things to come up.  I would just let this happen.  When they brought up religion or anything spiritual I was free to discuss Jesus.  More on this later.

Now, remember, you must create an environment where people can feel free, welcomed, accepted, and not pushed.  If you let the Spirit of God do they work inside the person and just wait, they will bring up the issue and you’ll be free to speak.  Patience is important.  We never brought up church, Jesus, God, religion or anything spiritual until they did.  Even when they asked who funded ICA, we would say “A few national organizations, local groups, a couple of churches and several rich friends.”  More on this later.