below are my notes from teaching at abundant faith last week...
- remove the blinders - many people belive their church is 'the most friendliest' - perhaps its friendly ONLY to you - because you have friends. for the first time guest, quite often, they don't have friends - it's a sea of strangers...an ocean of obscurity. we must remove the blinders, begin to see how things REALLY are. questions to ask: are we able to identify our first, second and return guests? are we so focused on talking with "so-and-so" that we bypass the new person sitting on our row or in our section? are we blinded to feelings of a first time guest?
- accept the mindset - the mindset is this: consumerism! fact is, that's the society we live in. Jesus dealt with this in john 6:26 (and in vs. 2) - the key word is: because. fact is people attend, return, participate, etc "BECAUSE" of something or someone. accept it, embrace it, and focus on people. questions to ask: what one thing could i do to make our first time guests feel more welcomed? what are we doing now that would scare a first time guest?
- determine your excellence - truthfully, it's the small things that make a difference. start small, determine the areas of focus, then focus on excellence on those areas. let me suggest some areas to focus on when it comes to excellence: entryways/lobby, bathrooms, sound equipment (it should be "UN-noticeable"), exterior (landscape, sidewalks, etc), parking lot (if its not paved, work toward that!)
- expectations expose values - in other words, if you have high expectancy for God to move powerfully, change lives, restore marriages, etc, then you VALUE that. if you don't expect these things then you don't value them. your values are exposed by your expectations! questions to ask: what do we value? do we have outreach? if not, do we value it? do we have small groups? if not, do we value them? are people connecting with others? if not, do we value relationship?
that's where our focus is...people!
in mark 1 Jesus calls peter and andrew to follow Him and He tells them He will make them fishers of men - these guys were already fishermen! and now Jesus is going to teach them? YES!
we read a lot about peter - he gets a lot of exposure and press in the new testament...andrew however isn't as notorious. but here's what we do know about andrew...in john 6 - andrew is the one who brings the boy to Jesus with the loaves and fishes. in john 12 andrew (and philip) bring the greeks to Jesus...point is this: Jesus said he'd teach them how to fish for men and there are two strong indications that andrew learned - he kept bringing people to Jesus - that's our role, because people matter!