Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Sabbath was created for physical rest and for God's people to worship and focus on Him. Some people feel compelled to work seven days a week believing it is necessary to make ends meet. Some never take personal time or vacation time even when an employer provides it. Most jobs will take all the time that you give them and the work never goes away. It becomes necessary to learn to say no towards things we really don't have any more time for. Shutting down is necessary for personal renewal. Time alone to reflect, to pray, to read God's Word, and just to listen to what God wants us to hear is needed. The psalmist said it well, "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
This past vacation I was blessed to read three books--and I didn't finish any of them (I plan to finish them) but they refreshed my soul. They were the Bible, Understanding Biblical Theology, and a book called Deep Preaching. I allowed God's Spirit to breath life into me and to refresh me through His Word and the writings of others. My wife truly enjoyed being the focus of my time as well. Over the past four years I've truly enjoyed riding my motorcycle with my wife and even alone as a way to enjoy what God has created around me and to hear from Him. It gives me time to ponder and consider what God is teaching me in life. It also gives me time to reprioritize what the most important things are in this short life for God's glory.
When was the last time that you decided to shut down for a day or for a week?
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Here are some good ideas that I have rewritten in my own words (I heard them shared before from Tom Rainer). I believe that it would radically change the way that our guests return to our church.
- We need to get Uncomfortable. Most of us have our routines, our friends, and even our seats picked out each week. Please think about reaching out to faces you don't know for the sake of God's greater work. Most guests will not reach out to us and will leave quickly after the service.
- Choose to Sit by Guests. As much as we like to gravitate towards those we know and the comfortable--think about our guests who boldly came to our church this morning. They are alone and will remain alone unless someone chooses to sit by them. Lets be intentional.
- Reach Out to them While There. In other words, as a host take the next step and invite them to a Life Group following the service or invite them to the cafe and purchase them a drink and get to know them. This is truly taking the next step and it speaks volumes. You may not get a second chance.
- Invite them to the Welcome Center. As a church, we truly have valuable information for them about the ministries and a very nice gift that says we value your presence. This allows them to meet a pastor and other members of the church. This is significant.
- The Kid's experience means Everything. It is a bold move to take your family to a new church. It has been studied and proven true that when the kids love their time at church that it radically increases the chance that families return and become involved. We have much to celebrate about our kid's ministries (Safe area, Bible based curriculum, Exciting learning). One bad visit for a child or student and the likelihood of their return is slim to none.
- Standing and Greeting. As much as the church family enjoys one another, this is the most awkward 60 seconds in a guest's visit. To guests, this is very mechanical and artificial--especially if nobody has reached out to them before the service. Our guests need to be reached out to naturally each week without prompting the congregation to be friendly.
- Incredible Greeting Ministry. I cannot stress enough the powerful impact that a great greeting ministry can make. Layers of greeting upon a guests is powerful. It is more than saying hello but asking how we can help them or direct them when they arrive. This shouts, "we want you here" to our guests.