Below are comments I made in my monthly report to our church leaders. Ours is a healthy, small congregation of 125-175 participants. We do great at welcoming and loving people who show up. We need to improve in going out with the good news that Jesus is Lord. Here are the comments I shared with our leaders:
You undoubtedly have noticed throughout this year a strong emphasis on Evangelism. The reason for this is I believe God is calling us beyond where we are right now. Currently, we have a good website. People read it and want to attend our church. When they come, they find an attractive building. They are greeted by friendly people. The music is engaging. By the time the sermon starts, most guest have decided whether or not they will come back and considering making HillSong their church. Research bears this out. Many people will even stay at a church where there is some doctrinal disagreement if the people of the church are kind and welcoming. That’s where we are. We have a lot of first time visitors, about 5-8 every single week. Many of them stay.
However, we are not in the “get-them-into-HillSong” business. A classic question for success is What business are you in? The follow up question is how’s business? I think our business is to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, His Kingdom has come, and all who repent can have abundant, eternal life in His name. I think making that proclamation is the business we are in. How’s business? I am not sure.
The purpose of the current series in Mark’s gospel (http://hillsong.org/)is to proclaim the Kingdom; to proclaiming provocatively and confrontationally. The purpose of the emphasis on evangelism is carrying our business efforts beyond our church walls. Lost people/unsaved/unchurched need to know Jesus. They won’t know Him if the only place we ever proclaim Him is from 11-12 on Sundays at our property. Evangelism has to be a lifelong project for each of us and for all of us collectively, as a body.
How we proclaim is as important as that we proclaim it. I encourage an approach that takes genuine interest in other people whether they ever turn to Jesus or not. We love for the sake of God and out of obedience. We do not love and we do not extend friendship for the sake of getting people to become Christians. We love. We listen. We care. We do things to help people materially (give “helping hand” money, do “brush-with-kindness projects” etc.). And we get to know the gospel so well and our lives are so saturated with scripture that in conversation and in the way we approach people, it naturally comes out in conversation that we love Jesus and He loves others to the point of dying for them.
This is a comprehensive approach to evangelism – the whole church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world (including Culbreth Road, Southern Village, Carrboro, Pittsboro, Chatham Co. etc.). It is done through ministries, outreach, projects, and in our individual lives. It has to be what HillSong is about. Our proclamation – Jesus is Lord, His Kingdom has come, and all people need Him desperately. All who turn to Him in repentance receive forgiveness of sins and (eternal, abundant) life in His name. We have to get this message to all who come. And we have to get out into the community so we can take the message to those who don’t come (here or anywhere else), but desperately need Jesus.