Mike and I had the opportunity to spend part of this past week at the Congress on Evangelism. We came away very thankful for the ideas that have come to fruition from the Congress on Evangelism 2009 and with a burden on our heearts to take it further.
Arlington is not our church, it is not Matt's church, and it is not the people's church; IT IS GOD"S CHURCH. We have learned in these past three years how to welcome people who do not look like us or act like us. I am so proud of how far the people of our church have come in welcoming all people. BUT, that is not enough! God planted Arlington in the center of a very ripe field and we need to begin harvesting it, "For the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." We need to put on our overalls and get busy bringing in the harvest and allowing God to transform lives in the miraculous way that He does it. We need to assume a posture that this church is not about us, but about the people God wants to reach. It is a radical, old way, of being about God's business and not just maintaining a church.
Let's begin with some even more radical hospitality than we have now. Let's make our church all about visitors and not about members. Let's greet people in the parking lot, at the door, in the commons, and in the sanctuary. They come to us scared and unsure about this whole thing called church, let's put them at ease.
Let's take the worst parking spots so they can park close to the building. Let's move to the center of the pews so they can slip into the seats at the end of the aisle and not have to crawl over us. Let's even the playing field so even visitors in our church, see our church as we see it. Always introduce yourself so everyone knows your name, not just other members. Let's practice the three minute rule and the ten foot rule. That means you spend the first three minutes after the service talking to strangers before you talk to your friends and that you greet everyone within ten feet of you, in front of you, behind you and on each side. Take time to introduce them to others and include them in your conversations.
We will be beginning a new service in the not to distant future, this is to reach the unchurched. We are not going to mess with your service so don't get upset. We also hope to begin adding a new program called Alpha for new people coming into the church; for God to transform new believers lives, like He has transformed our lives. We ask you to begin praying over these new ministries so they come to fruition with the covering and power of prayer.
Let us go forth and be harvesters!