“The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.”
~ Dr. Timothy Keller ~
There are many differences between Jesus’ ministry and my own, but one really stands out to me. Jesus had an uncanny ability to attract the outcasts, outsiders whom the mainstream of society rejected. He loved them and they loved him.
Wayne Dyer, a well known author said, “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
One of the most valuable foundational breakthroughs for me as a Senior Pastor occurred the day I realized that I am responsible for the environment of my church. I couldn’t blame the community I was in, the people I inherited, or the money (or lack thereof) in the bank account. I couldn’t be frustrated with my people any longer for not inviting the unchurched. I was responsible.
Lou Holtz, the famous Head Football Coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, said, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.”
Pastors, what if I could give you a secret that would increase the income in your church by 416%? What if I could guarantee a way to increase your parishioners sharing their faith with others by 228%? What if the same secret would be a key to increasing the discipleship in your church by 231%? Would you be interested? Do I have your attention, yet?
These numbers are taken from a study conducted by the Center for Bible Engagement released in August 2012. It was a survey conducted on the Key to Spiritual Growth. You can find the survey at www.centerforbibleengagement.org. The secret? These astounding numbers were caused by simply increasing the number of times individuals read the Bible in a week. The results showed a dramatic climb in spiritual growth and just as dramatic decreases in struggles and bad habits if an individual would engage in the Bible 4 times a week or more!
This begs a question be asked. If simply increasing the number of times a week an individual reads the Bible can have such a dramatic effect on their lives and on the life of a church, how do we encourage our parishioners to engage more in the Word?
I am excited to invite you to the Victory World Conference in Lethbridge, AB Canada July 13-17, 2015. This conference has notable international speakers such as Dr. George Hill, Dr. Hazel Hill, Dr. Jeyaseelan, Dr. Al Purvis and Pastor Will Graham.
“Ninety-six percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if they are invited.” Dr. Thomas Rainer made this claim in his article Ten Surprises About the Unchurched – Understanding their Hearts and Minds posted 7/11/2007.
The next obvious question is: Are Christians inviting non-Christians to church? The heartbreaking answer is “no.” Rainer claims that only 21 percent of active churchgoers invite anyone to church in the course of a year. But only 2 percent of the church members invited an unchurched person to church. That’s sad! Why do you think this is? A simple invite can go a long way.