Saturday, January 23, 2010

"See Me Now or See Me Later"

I have a part-time job as a support worker in a funeral home. Don't laugh. It's a good job for a pastor. As a matter of fact, I work with several pastors, men who, like me are looking for a way to save for future retirement. So I carry two sets of business cards, one for my church and another for the funeral home, and that has created some interesting (if odd) situations.
A few days ago, I was lurking about in the neighborhood, looking for an opportunity to invite someone to church, when I stopped in to see a friend in a local business. Larry is a sign maker in our town, a very good one who is responsible for creating our church sign and logo. I've been after Larry for the past three years to come to church without any success whatsoever. In spite of that, we have maintained a very good and relaxed friendship. I'd love to see Larry come to Christ.
When I showed up at his business door, I was surprised to see him busy at his desk. He noticed me and immediately waved to have me come in.
As I sat across from Larry at his desk, my mind raced for a way to invite him to church once more. Then, I thought of my business cards. "I have something to show you," I said as I placed two cards, one of each, on the desk. "Here are my business cards," I explained as Larry leaned forward for a better view. "One is for my church. The other is for the funeral home. You can see me now, or see me later."
The startled expression on Larry's face was priceless. He sat back for a moment to collect his thoughts, and replied, "I promise you, I will visit your church within two weeks. I can't come next Sunday - I'm already tied up - but I will be there the next Sunday. I promise."

Believe me, this is an approach I'm going to use again!

Then Larry gave back my business card for the funeral home. "I'll keep your church card," he said, "You can have this one." He seemed relieved just to have the funeral home card out of his hand. Imagine that. I don't know how many customers I will pick up for the funeral home, but if I can use their cards to motivate more people to church, I'll use them all the time with the same explanation: "You can see me now, or see me later."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So Why Are We Here?

Every church has to have a reason for its own existence. Yes, the Great Commission is the reason in terms of sharing the gospel and reaching the lost. But in a practical sense, church members need to understand why their particular church should exist. Many churches, especially small ones, struggle with this issue. They need a reason for being, and being there just for the sake of the denominational name is not enough. As a result, many small churches cannot and do not survive.
Our own church has had to come to terms with this question now that our roof has caved in. Things were tough enough without the roof falling. We've had all the aches, pains and struggles associated with planting and growing a church. What's more, there are always larger churches where it's easier, more convenient and a lot more attractive for people to attend. How could we ever hope to compete? This has caused some necessary and very useful soul searching. Like every other small church in the world, we have to find a way to meet the spiritual and practical needs of the public we are trying to reach. We need to find our place and establish our identity. When we do that, we will fill our niche. And we will grow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Do You Do When the Roof Falls?

Our roof fell in. Seriously. About three weeks ago, some of our people came to the church for the usual youth ministry when they discovered water dripping, running and pouring into our auditorium. Investigation revealed that two forty-eight foot rafters had snapped and caved under the weight of ice and water on our roof. For reasons known only to the Lord, water failed to run off our formerly flat, slightly angled roof and began to form a pond about twenty-five feet across and about two or more feet deep. When all that water froze, the roof could not stand up to the pressure. So it gave way, puncturing the upstairs ceiling and forever changing our majestic old building.

So what do we do now? Frankly, we don't know. We have insurance and we've had emergency repairs to keep the water out and the building up. But from this point going forward, again only the Lord knows. We have to make a lot of decisions with (hopefully) an understanding insurance company. But we are a small church - a recent church plant -and our resources are quite limited.

If you are interested in helping, knowing more about us, or praying for us I would like to hear from you. The first thing we have to do under the preacher's roof is to figure out a way to keep the roof up.

We will let you know how things develop.