-by Rev. Jeff Gannon
The 10 Things We Must Do to Realize our Redemptive Potential….
- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
- Chapel Hill has a strong mission of welcoming all people to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus Christ!
- The values cannot be forgotten.
- Chapel Hill must become more “Methodist” and Wesleyan without becoming more denominational.
- Infrastructure that will support growth
- Simple Church
- Creating a culture of invitation
- Spend 25% of our budget on marketing/advertising
- Creating a culture of participation
- Widening the Net
What does it mean to widen the net?
First, it is method. I believe it is biblical to fish with a net rather than a hook. If you fish with a hook, you are after a certain kind of fish using a certain kind of bait. To fish with a net is to take whatever you get. I believe Sacred Scripture paints a picture of an inclusive body where there is diversity of race, gender, socio-economic status, age, etc. The more diverse the community, the more it reflects the vision of the Church of Jesus Christ. To create an homogenous community is easier but less faithful to Jesus’ vision of what the Church is to look like.
Secondly, it is a mindset. To widen the net is intentionally create opportunities for more and more people to experience the Good News of Jesus Christ! The challenge for the Christian community is that we exist primarily for those who have yet to join it. Churches that become inwardly focused are increasingly irritated by the demands of those who are not yet churched. I pray Chapel Hill never loses its desire to reach the unchurched and nominally churched of our culture. Churches that have the mindset of “widening the net” are very willing to inconvenience themselves for the sake of those who are lost, last, and least. A famous Presbyterian minister who served as chaplain of the United States Senate, once said, “Generally, churched folk don’t give a @$%# about the lost. In fact, some of you are most upset that I have used a swear word than you are about the fact that people are lost and living in hell.” I could not agree more. I am thankful that at Chapel Hill we are not inwardly focused. May we continue to have the mindset of Christ who came, not to serve, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Thirdly, it is a movement. To widen the net is to be a field or force? Do you see the church as people or programs? As needs or numbers? May I contrast the difference between a field and a force?
A field is like a farmer going to his field to do his work, so we come to a building and call it church. The emphasis is on visibility, program, and promotion. Its goals are figures, finances, and facilities. Professionals do the ministry and people fill the positions. The motivation is to get people in, keep people in, and get people to serve the church. The prayer of the field is, “Lord, give us our community!”
The church as force is people equipped to meet needs everywhere they go in the name of Jesus. The emphasis is on worship, discipleship and fellowship. The goals are people coming to wholeness, people equipped for ministry, and people released to minister. To accomplish ministry the clergy equip God’s people and people share their gifts/graces/time/talents. The motivation is to bring healing to the whole person, healing to the community and to bring healing to the world. The prayer of the force is, “Lord, give us to our community!”
The church as field is all about itself. The church as force is all about the community. Does Chapel Hill look more like a church as field or as a church as force?
The church as field is all about the hook. The church as force is all about widening the net.
To widen the net is to intentionally be more inclusive and increasingly mindful of those who live without the hope of Jesus Christ!
May Chapel Hill continue to widen the net for the cause of Jesus Christ in our world!