It's Time to Invite Someone New To Church
Summer is over and it's time to get to work! How are you letting your neighborhood know that your church is a welcoming place? Take time to consider who in your community might be looking for a new home. How can you make your church ready to receive them?
To invite people into a loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God means we must take the first step and step outside our church.
Do we know our neighborhood? The following are resources that can help you and your parish learn more about the neighbors that await that invitation and the gift of Jesus.
Neighborhood prayer walks: It’s not just walking around. It’s not just praying. It’s walking through your neighborhood or “parish” praying with your eyes and your heart wide open. It’s noticing signs of hope and signs of need, and how God calls you to be present to both. So get a group. Take a walk. Listen closely. Pay attention. Offer prayer. Take pictures. Maybe even video. Notice what God is up to. Then re-imagine how your ministry could join God and join your neighbors.
One-to-one relational meetings: The one-to-one relational meeting is an intentional, well-framed conversation between two people. It is the basic building block of all relational (or community) organizing, a potent tool for community formation and movement building. It connects head and heart, motivation (why we act), and strategy (how we act), and requires us to meet The Other with open ears and hearts, sharing and receiving stories of what matters most.
Church demographics: In order to know who you are, you need to examine where you are and where you have been. Looking at the social and demographic characteristics of the local community sheds light on the people to which we hope to minister. Looking at trends in membership, average worship attendance, and financial giving sheds light on congregational strength and shows whether current patterns indicate growth, decline, or stability.
Go Speak: Go Speak is a program that helps to give voice to the quiet, ordinary places we meet and feel God’s divine presence and to create deeper levels of community within congregations. The people who have participated in Go Speak have found it to be valuable, not only because they were able to tell their own stories, but also because they were able to hear others’ stories of faith. Evangelism at its best!
At the End of the Day
Imagine what would happen if the clergy and laity of the Episcopal Church lived into the idea that we are a part of salvation history and God’s mission in the world. Imagine if we overcame our fear of invitation, if we obeyed Jesus’ gospel mandate to see and welcome the stranger into our midst, and if we cultivated the sacred act of listening. Compelling stories emerge from congregations around our diocese that take these imaginings seriously, and one by one they experience transformation. http://www.ecfvp.org/vestry-papers/article/261/at-the-end-of-the-day
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