Part of what I do as pastor involves trying to keep up with what's going on with Christianity across America and the world. There's a lot of good and bad to be found as I survey reports, statistics, movements, trends, etc. There's just such so much information out there that it becomes rather overwhelming at times. One minute I'm encouraged by what I encounter and the next I'm discouraged. I also find that many are trying to use this information to sell their product, to market their idea, to promote the next big thing that will guarantee revival, to solicit support for their particular church strategies. So after thorough research, careful consideration, and specific application to Community's unique situation I propose the following new strategy to guarantee CPC's future health and growth:
- we will no longer have conferences; larger meetings will be a "Summit" - we want to make our gatherings seem more important
- we will now refer to the sanctuary side of Oak Blvd as our South Campus and the gym side as our North Campus - the trend is toward decentralization of facilities
- we will no longer call our worship a "service"; rather it should be referred to as an "experience" - we need to give people what they want
- every ministry activity will have it's own unique name and cool acronym to identify it - fellowship time will be called EPIC (Every Person In Church); missions will be called WHAM (World Harvest And Mission); youth will be called RADICAL (Reaching And Discipling Into Communities And Lives); children's ministry will be called POWER (Powerful Opportunities With Every Relationship) - we need to be relevant and catch the attention of the eyes and ears of people
I do trust you know I'm not serious!! But the temptation is very real for churches to fall into such traps and seek to utilize sociological trends and catchy ideas to stimulate church health and growth. However, I would contend it's best to rely upon the age old strategy that the Word of God gives us!
This past Sunday night I taught through 1 Thessalonians 1 & 2 with the youth group. The verse we focused on was 2:8 - "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us." Here Paul tells the church in Thessalonica that his strategy consisted of two things: (1) proclaiming to them the clear Gospel and (2) sharing their own lives with them. Nothing fancy, nothing trendy, no deception, nothing seeking to garner attention to themselves (read 2:3-6), rather just the simple proclamation of the Gospel and authentic, transparent relationships.
Before any of us get prideful over the fact that we've not embraced such a trendy approach and strategy to ministry and that we do agree with Paul's methods, we need to ask ourselves an important question: Are we actually employing Paul's strategy of proclaiming the Gospel and entering into real relationships? Unfortunately the answer for most of us is, "no, we're not." It's a proven strategy that works ... it's old and perhaps not very hip, but proclaiming Christ in the context of relationships produces much fruit over the long haul. Let's make this old approach our new strategy for this Christmas season and the coming new year! Let's start talking about Jesus to others, let's invite others to attend church with us, let's open our homes to others, let's get involved in relationships.