Got back late last night from a meeting in Portland. It was for all of us who lead classes throughout our conference called “Congregational Leadership Development”. We host these classes here at our church. Last year Caldwell, Middleton, and Wilder UMC’s participated. This year it will be Vale and Emmett UMC’s so far. Could be others. Margie Frasier prepares our meals. She always gets rave reviews.
Part of our Oregon-Idaho Conference is something called the “Vital Church Project”. This is part of the realization that our conference exists to serve churches, not the other way around, and that the most critical area where churches need to be served is in figuring out how to become vital churches. Lots of our churches are shrinking and focused more on survival issues than on being faithful churches. “Congregational Leadership Development” was created to address this.
Here’s just one simple insight that is huge: Churches with an inward focus shrivel and die. Churches with an outward focus prosper and grow. Part of that outward focus is connecting with people in our community who don’t have a church home. One problem many churches have is most of their people don’t know anyone who doesn’t go to church. That’s a big problem! As Christians, we need to be meeting people, getting to know them, showing them the love we have experienced through Christ. No need to be pushy or aggressive. That just repels people. But did you know many, many people who don’t go to any church would be receptive to an invitation from you? Many people want to go to church or to go back to church but without you, they very well might never do so.
Does someone come to mind? Start with praying for that person. I have a feeling God will answer that prayer by helping you reach out to that person in a way Jesus would want you to.