Ever since I started pastoring I have had this inner conflict. On one side there is the indisputable fact that the Church’s mission is to do all it can to reach people and introduce them to Christ. I fully concur with that fact in my spirit and am loathe to be associated with any ministry that isn’t actively trying to do just that. But I also have a real aversion to “gimmicks” … the use of trendy tactics just to attract people. That does not mean I’m against being creative in an effort to reach people, but I’m resistant to doing things that are out of character for the church since I think that is a lot like advertising one thing but actually selling another. I never want anyone to walk away from Christ or His Church because they felt they were “misled” because they felt the church advertised a Ferrari, but actually only handed out a Hot Wheel.
So why the confessional? I think some of you feel that Hope’s current 1-1-1 campaign is a gimmick. That it is just some tactic Hope’s trying to drag more people into the church. If you aren’t familiar with 1-1-1, it is a church-wide challenge for people to identify 1 friend who needs to take a step toward God, pray for them for 1 month, and invite them to 1 service…in this case our Fall Launch service on September 30. Personally, I don’t think it is the least bit gimmicky. In fact I think it is a great expression of who we are supposed to be. And here’s why:
1) It is built on sustained and hopefully fervent prayer. (If prayer is a problem area for you our current series on Prayer – How to talk to God like Jesus, might be really helpful).
2) It is fully consistent with biblical precedent: the personal invite. The Apostle Andrew and others personally invited others to “come and see” what Jesus was all about.
3) It builds on the heart of Hope Chapel’s core ministry principle: personal relationships. Our ministry revolves around the conviction that growing in Christ is a relational experience. And having friends invite friends is a healthy extension of that conviction into our evangelism.
4) On September 30th, we are just going to be ourselves. Sure, we are going to playfully seek to roll out the “red carpet” to show people we are excited they’re here and think they’re special. But we are going to worship God, welcome people, vocalize a few announcements, and explain and apply the Bible just like we do every other Sunday.
My suspicion is that you are just as loathe as I am to be a part of something that acts like “just us and no more” when it comes to sharing the Gospel and extending the Kingdom. If so, pick “your one”, start praying for them and personally invite them to church on 9/30. We will be starting a quick series on “How to Figure Out God’s Will” that day. I think all of us will be blessed by it.