I had someone pose a question to me not to long ago that has really caused me to have a different perspective on church. The question was actually very simple at face value. They simply asked, “If your church were to shut its’ doors today, would anyone outside of your church know it?” I have to admit that as I have rolled that question through my mind, it has a little bit of a sting to it. As far as on site ministry, it can seem like we’re having a lot of success with our people (which is important). But in addition to that I’ve started to look for ways to have success off site as well.
Scripture teaches us that we are to be the light of the world. If this is the case, then it should be noticable when a church closes its’ doors. It should at least be darker around us. If its’ not, we’re not really letting our light shine into the world around us. I have begun to be intentional in developing opportunities for our church to be ‘In’ the community. Below are just a few of the ways we have started to do this:
1. All of our small groups have at least one night each season set aside for Servant Evangelism. We give them suggestions to choose from as well as guidance on how to get the most out of it.
2. Churchwide, we have started planning ‘One Day’ events for the spring and fall of the year. These are designed to do simple projects throughout the community. These projects are things like FREE car washes, Prayerwalking & Neighborhood canvasing, block parties, kite day at a local park, host a car show, Handing out bottled water, yard work, Nursing Home projects, minor maintenance and more. Our goal is to involve as many people as possible from the church and others from outside the church as well.
3. Churchwide, we have at least 4 Big Days a year that we rally our people around to reach those who are out of church and/or in need of a Savior. Generally there is one each quarter. First quarter is great for Friend Days or a similar type event. Second quarter has Easter, which is a great opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Third quarter is good for Back to Church Sunday (check out outreach.com) or a Harvest Day. Fourth quarter has Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is a great opportunity because so many Holiday Believers will be looking for a place to go. All of these days are promoted in our commmunities using invite cards, postcard mailer, door hangers, radio (traffic spots work great), banners and other creative promotions.
4. We challenge our members and regular attenders to have invite cards in their wallets or purses at all times to be able to invite people to come with them to church on a daily basis.
It’s not enough to tell people to come to us. We realize that scripture actually has told us to ‘Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:18-20). It is our responsibility to “Go” into our communities and beyond. This is not dependant on some calling to foreign, national, state or other missions. God did not leave this as an optional area of service. He has told each and everyone of us that ‘as we are going’ through each day of our lives, we should be the light in this world and intentionally be the church where we are.
The question I ask myself often is ‘What will you do to be part of the mission to see people come to know Him personally?’ I follow that up with this question: ‘If you don’t, who will?’