We are continuing with our biweekly “huddles” with our group from Florida. Our leaders are from Wisconsin and pretty much everyone else is from Florida except us. The guys have their call in the morning and the wives/women meet in the evening. We encourage one another and discuss our success and things that don’t succeed. They are an amazing support for us as we continue to learn how to be missional in our ministry. We also are enjoying our local Community group that meets. This group is made up of members of St. Peter’s, Grace, and Memory Day by Day, as well as two from Zion. We meet to support each other in being missional and reaching the unchurched in our area. It is a wonderful group of people and we thank God for each and every one of them and the insight and willingness to serve they each bring.
We are enjoying using techniques and new ways of reaching people for Christ. We are in touch with so many people on a daily basis and learning to greet them with a smile, and hello is an opportunity to make a new friend. We will not be able to reach everyone, but one is a victory for Christ. They may not attend our church, but maybe they will begin to see that we are their friends and that will be an opportunity to lead them to attend a Christian church somewhere.
I’ve said before that we need to find new ways of reaching people. In our society today people don’t think they need church or God, mostly because they don’t know what we are about. We can’t expect them to “fit our mold” or “fit into our way of life” unless and until they understand we are their friends. This concept can be frustrating to some of us. We grew up in a churched society. We never thought about going to church, we went to church because it was what we were used to. Today’s people, for whatever reason have not been exposed to church; they’ve fallen away from church. The way we have been trying to encourage them to come to church, by asking them to come, is obviously not working. It hasn’t been working for some time. If it were working our churches would all be full and our society would be a churched society once again. We need to try the “old” method of meeting people and being their friends first, the way Jesus did. He went to them, He talked with them, He listened to them. We need to show them we care about them, the way Jesus cared about the people He met. Letting them know we don’t want to judge them, we just want to love them. We don’t want to cram it down their throats, that won’t work and it will only allow them to resent us more.
When I was a teenager, I had to eat a chocolate bar every day to bring my blood sugar up. As a result, I really don’t like chocolate, I don’t like the smell, and I really don’t like the taste. Although they were doing what was good for me, by forcing me to eat that chocolate every day mid morning the smell and memory of, especially Hershey’s bars is repulsive to me. We don’t want coming to church to be something that they are repulsed by. Once we become friends with them, we can introduce them to Christ in a way that they can see His love through us.
We won’t get everyone we meet to come to church and it may take a good deal of “loving” them where they are to get them to even consider walking through our doors, but as I said, the way we’ve “always done it” hasn’t worked in a long time and our churches are still empty. Maybe with God’s help we can find and initiate the “old” way of reaching the people He places in our lives, the way Jesus would do it. We need to earn their trust and receive permission to share our faith. God is patient with us, can we be patient with others, and care about them and be friends with them. Show them the Love of God, the God who sent HIS Son to save not just you and me, but all people. That is God’s desire that is what we are and will continue to be working toward.