Good morning, church family. What a joy it was to worship with you yesterday! I am excited to hear about how God is working in so many lives. As I pointed out yesterday at the end of the service, we have the evidence of God’s healing power right in our own church. I truly believe that God has a great plan for us if we are willing to be obedient to His will.
That brings me to the point of this Monday Morning Missive. In my prayer time last night and this morning, I sensed God asking me this question: What would you be willing to change about yourself and the church in order to reach the lost and unchurched people in this city? As I prayed, I told God that I am willing to change anything that He shows me I should change. So I asked Him what He had in mind? Do you ever have conversations like this with God? Anyway, I began to feel God saying several things to me.
Here is how some of the conversation went:
How about the way you dress on Sunday morning? Would you be willing to stop wearing coats and ties? How about wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes? You may not realize this, but that would really take me out of my comfort zone. I can hear Mrs. Judy Smith, the pastor’s wife that meant the most to me in my life, saying, “Every preacher boy should wear a white shirt, coat and tie every time he preaches.” But we are living in a changing world, and I know through conversations with people in our community that they see Southside as a wealthy church only for a certain type of people. I truly hope that is not true, but I wonder if the way we dress is a hindrance to some.
Would you be willing to change the way you do Sunday School? How about changing the name to Bible Study or Small Groups? Would you be willing to add classes at different times? Again, this is about perception, but many people equate the name “Sunday School” with children’s programs. And a name change would be so easy, but what about changing the way we do Sunday School. Some people aren’t going to come at 9:15 on Sunday morning. Maybe we could reach people at a different time. What if we did Sunday School in your home? Could we reach some of your family members? Neighbors? Our Sunday School is the most important ministry in our church, and it has declined drastically over the years. What would you be willing to change to reach the lost and unchurched of our city?
How about change the way that you receive members into the church? Would you be willing to institute a new members’ class requiring all new members to attend before they are voted on by the church? This class would inform new members what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a member of Southside, and what our expectations are for new members. You see, one of the statistics out there about declining membership is that people do not understand that there are expectations in a church.
I will admit to you this morning that most of these are things that we have talked about or that I have thought about in the past, but not in these specific terms. So I was wondering this morning, has God been speaking to you about any of these things? And if He has or has not, what would you be willing to change in order to reach the lost and unchurched of our city? Just food for thought! Let me know what you think.