November 12, 2014 – The 10 Things We Must Do, cont.

-by Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor

The 10 Things We Must Do to Realize our Redemptive Potential….

  1. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
  2. Chapel Hill has a strong mission of welcoming all people to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus Christ!
  3. The values cannot be forgotten.
  4. Chapel Hill must become more “Methodist” and Wesleyan without becoming more denominational.
  5. Infrastructure that will support growth
  6. Simple Church
  7. Creating a culture of invitation

 This involves three components…

  • Hospitality
  • Open and genuinely friendly
  • Faith sharing

I would like to see us grow in each of these areas. I believe we can do much better than we are, particularly in one area. We need, myself included, to do a better job of inviting people to worship and special events. To create a culture of invitation is to create the space where inviting people who are unchurched or de-churched becomes very normative. Generally, it is not our norm and I want to see us grow in this area. A “cousin” to this issue, if you will, is the need to train ourselves in being able to share our faith. Bill Hybels, one of my mentors, has some helpful ideas on how to turn the temperature up on this issue. I need to preach a sermon series on how to share faith and how to invite people at critical periods in their life.

Secondly, to be hospitable is to be a place of healing. It is more than having a person greet at the door and pass out bulletins as people enter the Sanctuary. Those are important functions but more importantly is the need for a safe place to heal. It is going the “extra mile,” to see people where they are to accept them so God can heal them. So, if you are a person who has the ability to see the person who is seemingly lost, lonely, discouraged, and feeling terribly self-conscious about their journey, we need you in our greeter troops. Furthermore, we want to create section greeters in the Sanctuary who become a consistent presence at a particular service whereby when people are missing several Sundays, the section greeter reaches out. It is not a ministry of smothering, but caring. Please let me know if you have interest in being a section greeter or a greeter at the doors. The need to be noticed and welcomed and appreciated is the greatest need we have when visiting a church. You are the ones who ultimately make that happen. Thank you, in advance, for your willingness to help us become more genuinely hospitable.

The bottom line for creating a culture of invitation is rooted in the practice of Jesus who noticed. For example, the woman who touched the hem of his robe, in the midst of thousands of people, caused Jesus to ask, “Who touched me?” Jesus noticed people. He noticed, he named, he blessed, he embraced, he welcomed. He did not exclude because he was opening the Kingdom of God to all who would place their trust in him – male or female, Gentile or Jew, older or younger, richer or poorer. All are welcome because the Kingdom of God is available now!

Every time we gather, we have the privilege and the opportunity to do Jesus’ work and to practice Jesus’ welcome.

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