Par 3 Golf
Night Of Comedy
Fall Bible Studies
All Church Picnic
From The Pastor
Men’s Ministry Events
Par 3 Golf Tournament
Sign up for the Men’s Par 3 Golf Tournament! We will play at the Caddy Shak in Lexington on September 22nd at 8am. The tournament will be a captain’s choice format, so it will be a great time for any skill level. Bring yourself and a friend! If possible, please sign up online or in the church multi-purpose room so that we can begin making teams.
The FBC annual men’s retreat will take place October 19-21 at Ridgehaven, NC. Mark it on your calendar and look for more details in the upcoming weeks.
Women’s Ministry Update
Night of Comedy with Kristy Byers
FBCWM will be hosting a night of comedy with Kristy Byers on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. This is an outreach opportunity so please plan to bring a friend to enjoy dinner, catered by Shealey’s, and laughter. Registration will be held in the church foyer. The cost of this special occasion is $10.00 per person. Clips of Kristy can be found at http://www.youtube.com/kristybyers.
Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break
Nehemiah’s heart broke so deeply for the suffering Jews that he left the comfort of his Persian palace to restore their desolate community. Through seven video sessions and an in-depth, relational Bible study, Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break, by Kelly Minter, will inspire you to listen to what God has put in your heart to do. Let God break your heart for the hurting; He often uses a breaking heart to restore the broken. The study starts Thursday, September 20th and ends Thursday, November 1, 2012. The study is offered Thursday morning, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and Thursday evening, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Childcare is available. Bible Study workbooks will be available at FBC and also at Lifeway Christian Bookstore for $12.95. Sign up will begin on Sunday, August 19, 2012 in the church foyer. For additional information about Kelly Minter, visit her website at http://kellyminter.com/bio/.
5 Conversations You Must Have
5 Conversations You Must Have by Vicki Courtney.
— with Your Son Sept 20 through Oct 18.
— with Your Daughter Oct 25 through Nov 29.
“Vicki Courtney equips moms to have the five conversations that will empower their sons and daughters to stand firm in the midst of a culture that would rob them of their treasured status.” These will be book studies only, no workbook. Each week we will discuss the book, share our own experiences, encourage and pray for one another. Books will be available at FBC or LifeWay for $14.99 or can be purchased from Amazon for $10.19.
Offered 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the church. Childcare available.
All Church Picnic
Come join us for a picnic on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at Harbison Forest immediately following the service. Please plan to bring enough food for your family plus some to share. Bring your own drinks, lawn chairs, sporting equipment, etc. See you there!
The Power Of An Invitation
by Jack Arrington
From time to time I run across stuff too good not to pass on. The blog below from James Emery White seemed exceptionally appropriate as we start up our fall ministries. At the end, I’ve got a few comments.
Another one came this past week. A flyer arrived in my mailbox from a new church plant, promising me relevant and practical messages, contemporary “urban” music, great coffee…
How can it be that so many leaders have such an outdated understanding of culture, and specifically the unchurched?
How can it be that so many are still operating with a 1980’s/1990’s approach, when it is 2012?
Here’s the essence of the mistake: “If you build it, they will come.” Or in the case of this mailer, and scores of others like it I’ve received: “If you offer it, they will come.”
Meaning that if you spruce church up a bit, musically and stylistically, the unchurched will suddenly stream in your doors and fill your seats.
No, they won’t.
At least, not if they are truly unchurched, part of the growing number of religious “nones” that make up our modern milieu.
Yes, it worked in the movie “Field of Dreams.” A man built a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field having been promised, “If you build it, they will come” – meaning crowds of people to watch Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Chicago White Sox.
Sounds strange, but it’s a fun film.
But don’t ever think that’s all that there is to building a church, particularly a church that is going to reach an unchurched person.
I’ll grant you that it’s a subtle and enticing temptation. To believe that if we encourage casual dress, offer Starbucks coffee, play rock music, and then deliver a message in a style similar to the popular speakers of the day, we will automatically grow is enormously appealing.
But it won’t work.
And it hasn’t worked for at least a decade.
Some will say, “But wait! I know of a new church plant that went uber-contemporary and they exploded in growth!” Yes, I know of several, too, but look hard at those churches. How much of their growth is transfer growth, and how much of it truly conversion growth? And even if they mark high baptisms, who are they baptizing? In many cases, even the baptism numbers are those rededicating their life (rebaptisms), or Presbyterians getting dunked as adults. Or it’s kids and teenagers – meaning, reaping the work of Christian families.
Hear my heart; I’m not putting such churches down. I’m just wanting to make sure we understand our models. And specifically, that if you want to be a church for the unchurched, you understand what that means.
Let’s go back to the mailer I received.
It promised contemporary music, casual dress and good coffee. But people already have those things. They do not need to go to church to find them. If they want Starbucks, they’ll go to Starbucks; if they want to hear contemporary music, they have their iPod. They may appreciate those things when they attend, but it is not what will draw them.
That approach may have worked back in the 80’s and 90’s, but that was because the typical unchurched person was a Boomer just starting to have kids and were, themselves, raised in a church. They had the memory and the experience; they were actually wanting a church. When churches took down the cultural barriers associated with attending (eliminating stuffiness, boredom, irrelevance, empty ritual, outdated music), Boomers were attracted.
This is no longer our world, and hasn’t been for quite some time.
Think of it this way:
In today’s paper, there were probably dozens of ads for new cars. If you read the paper, did you notice them? It’s doubtful – unless you are in the market for a car. (These days, it’s doubtful you even read a newspaper – but let’s play this out).
If you’re not in the market for a car, it doesn’t matter to you if a dealer is having a sale, promises a rebate, has a radio on-site broadcast, hangs out balloons, says they’re better than everyone else, promises that they will be different and not harass you or make you bargain over the price, or sends you a brochure or push email.
Why? You’re not in the market for a car.
It’s no different with a church. People today are divorced from seeing it as a need in their life, even when they are open to and interested in spiritual things. They no longer tie that to the need to find a particular faith, much less a particular church.
This is important because there is so much talk about cracking a particular cultural code in order to reach the unchurched and grow a church, that the real investment involved is either forgotten or brushed aside.
So how do you grow a church from the unchurched?
I’ll assume you know the “pray like mad” part.
Here’s step two:
Crawl underneath the hood of any growing church that is actually growing from the unchurched and you will find that the number one reason newcomers attend is because they were invited by a friend.
Churches grow from the unchurched because their members and attenders talk about it to their unchurched friends. It comes up in their conversations like the mention of a good movie, a favorite restaurant, or a treasured vacation spot.
There is a culture of invitation.
As Michael Green noted about the explosive growth of the early church, which was entirely conversion growth, Christians were talking about the church, Jesus and the gospel like it was gossip over the backyard fence.
Meck experiences over 70% of its total growth through those who were previously unchurched, charted carefully through our membership classes. We’ve had some classes run as high as 77%.
We also track how they came to the church. Was it through direct mail? Did they see a sign? Did they drive by and see the campus?
The number one answer has never changed: “I was invited by a friend.”
That’s how you do it.
Then, once they’ve been invited, you can tell them to leave their tie at home, and offer them a good cup of coffee when they arrive.
-James Emery White1
Did you catch it? The number one reason newcomers attend is because they were invited by a friend. Not because they saw an ad or read a flyer.
The flyer, banner, or ad works for those who are looking for a church, those who grew up in a church, those for whom “church” still has a significant cultural, spiritual pull. In other words, it works for those who are older.
But for those who are younger and for many of those who are older, it takes a personal invitation—usually an invitation from someone they like and trust. Did you notice the part they were invited by a friend?
So why do friends invite other friends? I think it’s because they are excited about what’s happening and want their friends to experience the same joy. Or, receive the same benefit.
The older church model simply expected its people to invite others to “support the ministry of the church.” Inviting was their duty. The church offered services and they were supposed to attend and invite their friends.
I’m not sure that model works any more—even for most church people. My observation is that those who are regular on Sunday mornings don’t come to other church events just to “support the church”.
I’m not sure they should. I’m not sure the church should expect anyone to come merely out of obligation.
Our lives are too busy. We have way too many options on what to do. People come when they believe an event will add value to their lives or to the lives of their friends. That speaks volumes to everyone of us who plan events. We need to make them worth your time, so that they add value to your lives. But that’s another blog.
So here’s my encouragement to those of you who attend Sunday mornings and special events this fall. When you come to stuff, don’t come alone. Invite a friend.
Personal invitations are powerful.
1Used by Permission. James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying through the Christian Life (InterVarsity Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.