Archive for April, 2011
Summer 2011 should be a fun and unique season for our church, and I wanted to let you know some of what’s coming and invite you to join with us!
COMMUNITY GROUPS BREAK
The spring semester winds down the week of May 16, and this summer we will not be starting a new semester. Since the summer semester is so short, we thought we’d try some summer events (see below) as a change. If you’d still like to gather as a group during the summer, that’s up to you. Groups will re-launch in late August with a new name: Redemption Communities.
Over the summer we’ll be doing at least 4 outward-focused serving events (probably with House of Refuge and/or some door-to-door evangelism and inviting) and 4 fun community-building events (pool party, adults-only 80’s night, CD release party for Kristie Braselton, and a good ol’ fashion church potluck). Almost all of these events will be family friendly, will be accessible for your unchurched friends, and will be a great way for our whole church to have fun while serving Jesus.
We’ll be offering training for new and existing group leaders as well as some other practical training in other areas of ministry. If you would like to go through the group leader training, please contact John Kronwald (johnkronwald[at]redemptionaz[dot]com). All of these training experiences will help us prepare for a great fall together.
STUDENT SUMMER CAMP
The Gateway students are doing summer camp in Big Bear, CA from June 12-18. They’ll serve, have fun, learn, go to Six Flags, and build some wonderful memories. Cost: $350/student, due May 29.
SERMON SERIES: DOCTRINE
Beginning June 5th, we’ll do a 13-week summer series on Doctrine. We’re still working on the official title, but the gist will be a run-through of the key biblical beliefs we should hold as followers of Jesus.
A few years ago I read a shocking paragraph in Thom Rainer’s book, The Unchurched Next Door:
82 percent of the unchurched are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to attend church if they are invited. Perhaps we need to pause on this response. Perhaps we need to restate it: More than eight out of ten of the unchurched said they would come to church if they were invited.
This seemed astonishlingy high, yet also encouraging for those of us who would like to see our friends, families, and neighbors discover a relationship with God. Is it really true?
Well, a few years later, the research has shown Rainer’s estimations are slipping. Nonetheless, recent statistics are encouraging. A recent survey discovered that 63% of people are somewhat or very willing to receive information about a church from a family member and 56% are somewhat or very willing to receive information from a friend or neighbor.
Additionally, 38% (almost 4 out of 10) have said they are more open to considering matters of faith during the Easter holiday season.
None of this is really too surprising. But it does mean that if there was ever a time to invite a friend or family member to church, this would be it. Click here for information about Second Mile’s Easter Celebration, and pass it on to someone you love.
We’re sharing some ideas on how everybody can make a difference to guests and non-Christians that join us on Sundays. For the context of our discussion, check out the recent posts, The Sermon Starts in The Parking Lot, The Sunday Mind-Shift, Show Up Early, and Take a Genuine Interest.
Over a year ago, I had an “exit interview” with a man who was leaving our church. He was a single man in his 40s and had been going through a tough time. After years away from church, God used the death of his mom, unemployment and a couple of other trials to bring him back. Our church was one of the first he visited.
I distinctly remember him saying was something like this:
“On my first Sunday I spent about 15 minutes pouring out my heart to somebody that I just met. It probably wasn’t the wisest thing on my part, but I was emotional and things were tough. At the end of the conversation, the guy I was talking to said something like, ‘Well, here’s my number, let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.’ I thought, Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you? Seriously? I just poured out my heart and told you all my problems. Clearly there is something you could do for me. It felt like I just got blown off.”
This is admittedly a tough situation. I’m sure many of us would not be exactly sure what to do if we had a total stranger spilling his or her guts on us. But there’s an important lesson here. We should come to church ready to do ministry.
The Sunday gathering is not merely a place to be ministered to, but a place to get in the game and participate. If we can’t do it on Sunday when we’re on our home turf, what chance do we have during the week out in the world?
In the end, this mostly comes down to mindset. And each of us needs to have a mindset ready to care for people, pray for people, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
Are you ready?
We’re sharing some ideas on how everybody can make a difference to guests and non-Christians that join us on Sundays. For the context of our discussion, check out the recent posts, The Sermon Starts in The Parking Lot, The Sunday Mind-Shift, and Show Up Early.
Have you ever wondered how somebody like Bill Clinton–with his political polarization and personal immorality–can remain so enchanting to so many people? As you listen to those who have met him, one reason comes sharply into focus. They all say something like, “When you meet Bill Clinton, it feels like you’re the only person in the room.”
In other words, despite all his faults, Clinton takes a genuine interest in people. He’s not busy looking over their shoulder or glancing at his watch. He truly cares.
If a politician will do that, how much more should God’s people do that? Isn’t it simply the essence of Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself”?
If you want to make a real difference in somebody’s life, take a genuine interest in them. Ask them sincere questions. Listen rather than thinking of what to say next. And slow down.
I have to admit that this is personally tough for me — especially on Sundays when I’m trying to meet lots of new people, care for those in our church family, and think through the elements of my sermon and the service. It’s tough. But I’m trying.
I’d love it if we had 300 other people trying as well. I think the love of Jesus like that would turn our church upside down.