My father-in-law is a contractor. For the past twelve years, I’ve worked for him between ministries or when we need extra money. I resumed working for him almost a year ago. As you can guess, I’m learning A LOT about home repair!
I’m usually the type of person who learns by reading a book or taking a class. But there’s no time for that on the job site! My father-in-law doesn’t lecture me. He doesn’t make me read textbooks or assign homework. He doesn’t give presentations on how to build a wall, or install a window, or replace a shower unit.
But I’ve learned how to do those things. How? By doing them. It wouldn’t do any good to read a book about home repair if I never repaired a home. We don’t get paid for knowing a lot; we get paid for working.
Churches would benefit from taking this approach to discipleship. Most churches are heavy on Bible teaching, but light on Bible doing. We tend to educate people beyond their obedience level. Although they aren’t doing anything with what they already know, we just keep teaching them more.
Think about our programming. Worship services are now dominated by long sermons – which are basically lectures. Some churches still offer Sunday school, which is a Bible class. And some still offer Bible studies on Wednesday nights. With all that Bible teaching, you’d expect our churches to be highly functional and mature, right?
But we aren’t. American churches are epidemically and egregiously immature. Why? Because we aren’t putting our knowledge into practice.
As the school year starts, most churches will resume their Wednesday night program. These programs are the perfect chance to experiment with new ministry methods. Instead of another class, find different ways to engage your people with the Word.
Here are a few ideas:
Take a Prayer Walk
Take a walk through a neighborhood near your church. Split into groups that will cover different streets. Pray for the families who live in each home you pass. If you have the opportunity, meet others who are also out for a walk. You could also walk down Main Street and pray for the businesses in your town.
Go on a Mini-Mission
Most people will not go on a mission trip because it requires so much time, money, and travel. You can remove those obstacles by going on mini-missions. Find ways to deliberately put the word out about your church in your community.
You can go door-to-door inviting people to church. Most churches give first-time visitors some sort of gift. Why not give those out as part of your invitation? All you have to say is, “Hi! We’re from _______ Church. We just wanted to give you a gift and invite you to church this Sunday.” You might get the chance to pray for them, or even share the gospel with them!
Or you could do a promotional giveaway. Set up space at the mall, a local coffee shop, or a community event. Give away bottles of water, cups of coffee, or donuts. It can be anything as long as people know it’s coming from the church.
Do a Service Project
Meet a need in your church family or community. Rake leaves or shovel snow for a widow, or clean up a local park. Write letters to imprisoned Christians or send supplies to persecuted Christians through Voice of the Martyrs. Host a fundraiser to support children through Compassion or World Vision.
Take a Field Trip
You could always do something fun. Go bowling, play laser tag, race go-karts, go to a baseball game, get ice cream, or just play board games. Fun has the power to unite people and excite them about your church. Beyond that, field trips are a perfect opportunity to invite someone to a church event!
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