Being Intentional as a Church

Over the Easter weekend and in the week following I have observed an interesting phenomenon among churches. Many of the newer church plants (w/in last 10 years) were extremely intentional about getting un-churched people into their Easter services while the older, more established churches seemed to rely on a "they know where we are" approach. The end result was that most of the "intentional" churches recorded large numbers of guests and, more importantly, recorded many professions of faith.
I love my church. I love the pastor, the staff and the people. However, on Easter we only had a slight attendance "bump" and no decisions for Christ. We really didn't plan for any increase in attendance, we did very little in the way of promotion, there was little different about the service except for a couple of extra musical numbers. The pastor preached a solid evangelistic message to a group of people who largely thought of themselves as already being believers. I'd say that those who could have responded to such a message made up less than 5% of the congregation. The pattern was no different than the other 51 weeks of the year. There was no intentional effort to reach the un-churched of our community. How sad!
Like it or not, we must compete for the attention and attendance of the lost if we hope to get them inside our buildings. We must recognize that we are in the people business. We have to realize that numbers do matter to God (He even has a book by that name in the Bible). There had to be a reason that the book of Acts recorded the number of baptisms that took place at Pentecost. It is time that we become intentional in tailoring our services, our approach and our message to reach the unreached. (A lot of people just checked out of reading this blog.)
Call it "purpose driven", "evangelistic" or whatever, if we don't get serious about "doing" church for the un-churched, we'll continue to shrink in number and effectiveness in carrying out the Great Commission. We can't keep "preaching to the choir" and hope to make a difference.
In subsequent blogs I'll look at some specific steps a church can take to become intentional in reaching their community for Christ. Stay tuned.

Comments

I agree we should be more "intentional" in our reaching the lost. Where I differ a little is that I believe we should be going outside the church to evangelize, and not luring them in by creating something inside that is no different than what they already live every day in the world. We rely on the church as an organization to do the evangelizing, instead of individuals evangelizing individuals and bringing them into the church to disciple them...not win them. Does that make sense? I love reading your blogs...and I can't wait for the book!
Ron Edmondson said…
I think the church is still to be a haven of rest for the weary, so I like creating welcoming environments where the unchurched want to come and seek forgiveness, hope and love. At the same time, church can happen in a school building (as in our case), a 200 year old cathedral or the local coffee shop. Reaching people with the Good News is our goal. Keep it up!

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