As part of our vision series “Join the adventure…”, Janet spoke on drawing people in today. Here are the notes and mp3.
Join the adventure...
Drawing people in
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Over the last few weeks we have been going through the vision statement looking at what it means to be a multicultural church, a people passionately pursuing God and now we are on drawing in.
Normally I am at the door doing the welcoming, but here I am today talking about how to draw the people in in the first place!
At the outset… part of what will be said this morning is based on what has worked for us over recent years in particular. As I’m listening to those on the streets each week I am reminded again that there are many ways people can be drawn into the Church, so I am not saying you need to copy what we are doing, but hopefully there will be some nuggets/ fresh ideas that you may want to grab hold of and use in your situation.
Why we want to draw people in
2 Cor 5 v. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
2 Cor 6 v.2 For He says: “In the time of favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the time of favour; now is the day of salvation!
When Liz spoke to us at the baptism Sunday – she talked about how Huldah (2 Chronicles) was an ordinary person, probably unknown to so many of us, but she was used by God to change the destiny of the nation. So we too are just ordinary people, but we have an important message to share that can change the destiny of many people’s lives. 2 Cor 4 v. 7-12 – we are the servants of Jesus, jars of clay containing the world’s greatest treasure.
What an amazing privilege to be an ambassador of Christ containing the world’s greatest treasure. He is listening to us, His favour is on us, now is the day of salvation. His love in us just compels us to draw as many people as we can into the Church.
Team fishing – How we draw people in
In the west, our thinking is often individualistic. In my past, there have been occasions when I have been asked ‘how many people have you led to the Lord?’ after missions, and I feel really uncomfortable with this because maybe I haven’t actually led anyone to the Lord. I can’t begin to tell you how releasing it was to come away from an individualistic thinking and think team. And so in the introduction I said ‘we’ and not I when talking about experiences I would share that we do.
I don’t know if any of you fish, but I know a few people. My teaching assistant often takes her son fishing – she will sit and mark books while he catches the fish. However, in Biblical times the fishermen worked together, each to their own strengths and covering each other’s weaknesses. This was their livelihood – they were not interested in catching 1 or 2 – they wanted lots.
In Matthew 4v19, Jesus says Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men. The disciples would have understood this as team, rather than an individual task.
So, my team that I work alongside is my wonderful life group. But for you, it may be your spouse, another friend in the Church that you get on with.
Work to strengths
First of all, we identify the strengths of each member in the team. We refer to 6 styles of evangelism and while you may see yourself in quite a number, you have are usually 1/2 that you are strongest in and you just do naturally.
Great at making friends and building community.
Malcolm Gladwell says most people have a few close friends and family. Connectors often have hundreds of loose connections with people. They instinctively know how to connect the right people with each other.
Connectors are also brilliant at inviting people to things – when advertising the barn dance and hog roast a few weeks ago, I said that if you are invitational by nature, get inviting. Last week I had a text from some-one saying that so far they wanted 8 adult tickets and 2 children tickets. When I read it I turned to Andy and said, that person is invitational/ connector.
The Samaritan woman in John 4 is a good example of this: Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Reasoning –inquisitive, analytical, logical
Answer questions about faith
Paul did this in Acts 18 – Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
People who love the reasoning style tend to love the Scripture- 1Peter 3v. 15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
i.e. Don’t become argumentative and learn to be a good listener.
delight in serving, see a need and just do it without being asked. They find it easy to serve people because that is how God has wired them.
Acts 9 v. 36 Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.[a] She was full of good works and acts of charity.
share stories about how God has worked in their lives. This can be a conversion story, but also personal things God has done, how He has helped you through difficulties. No-one can deny a personal story and your story can be powerful. You might think it is quite ordinary, but ordinary stories reach out to ordinary people. We start many Sunday mornings with times of testimony – where people share stories of what God has done. The Samaritan woman again from John 4.
John 9 v. 10, 11 “ 8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. 11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
Harvesters – those that are great at helping people cross the line of faith. They look for ways to clearly articulate the gospel…the bridge to life, do vs done and are ready to use an appropriate method in conversation.
Peter…on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Love to use spiritual gifts – prophecy/ word of knowledge/ pray for healing to witness to unbelievers the goodness and power of God. Throughout Acts we see numerous examples of the power style, for example in Acts 3 where Peter heals the lame beggar.
People with this style enjoy activities like healing on the streets or treasure hunting. Ask God for clues and then use this information to look for those particular people to bless, pray, prophesy over.
From: Do What Jesus Did by Robbie Dorkins
As she left a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a woman was praying, “Lord, I’ll do anything for You. I’ll do anything. Just tell me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it.” In that moment she sensed something and realized, I’m supposed to turn left. It almost felt like a whim, but desperately wanting to obey God’s voice, the woman turned left. After driving for a little while, she felt as though she was supposed to turn right, so she did. Filled with anticipation, she wondered, Is God actually directing me to go do something right now? This is so exciting!
Before she knew it the woman ended up right in front of a little convenience store, which she sensed was the place the Lord was bringing her. Once inside, she couldn’t wait to see how the Lord would direct her, but the only thing that kept coming to her mind was, Go over in front of the clerk and stand on your head. Pretty weird, right? How many of us would reach that point and say, “Okay, no, that’s not God,” and get in our car and drive home? The direction this woman was sensing seemed odd enough that she could have easily discounted it, although it wasn’t something immoral or unbiblical. She prayed, “Lord, are You sure?” Then she felt nothing, no confirmation. So many times, that’s the gentleness of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t force us to do anything. He’s not a bully, and He won’t shove us into doing what we’re unwilling to do. In that moment, this woman had a real choice to make. She said, “Okay.” It took her a little bit to build up the courage, and she hung around reading chip packages until everybody cleared out of the store. Then she ran up to the register and said, “Hey! Look what I can do!” There happened to be a pole right in front of the clerk, so she did a handstand against it. From her upside-down position, she saw him drop his head and shake it. She swung her legs down and thought, Man, he thinks I’m crazy—a real freak! But she walked up to the register and saw that the clerk was actually crying, so she asked, “What’s the matter?” He told her, “About half an hour ago, I was sitting here working, and I prayed, ‘God, if You’re real, have somebody come in here and stand on their head.’” The clerk ended up giving his life to Christ as a result of this woman’s obedience to God’s voice, and he has attended the same church as she does ever since.
Amazing story – that we can all be in awe of. Oh to be a power person/ harvester…but and we need to celebrate each evangelistic style, because together we can all make a difference in the kingdom.
One of my joyous moments last year was when we were having a farewell party for a number in our life group. We had about 30 or so people, a mix of our life group and friends not yet in the Church. I was helping with food and Hannah came over to me and said I’ll take over. As she took over, I looked around, the connectors were being welcoming to guests, people were talking about their faith and answering questions, stories were being told and servants were working. At that moment, there was not a thing for me to do except stand back and marvel and say thank you God! This is team fishing as it should be.
When your team consists of a life group, it’s great because you actually usually have pretty much all of those giftings at any one time, but sometimes this isn’t the case which is absolutely fine initially, but at some point, to draw your friends in to the life of the Church, you may find it useful to introduce them to folks with other strengths.
For those that are thinking this is all very good, but I don’t have any non Christian friends, or any that would be interested in coming to anything. Perhaps you are not a connector, but rather a servant for example. But when you are working in a team, there will be connectors that can do the inviting. You can play your part in making disciples by serving to the best you can. This is why I happen to think this works best in a life group setting.
The people we are drawing in
Bottom – Don’t know any Christians – the largest sector
Open to friendship – if you think of fishing as a rod and line, you might be the only Christian they know, but when you fish as a team your friend gets to know your group of Christian friends. There is something attractive about the way Christians do life – Paul describes it as the aroma of Christ.
2 Cor 2 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.
Ex. of man who I invited to socials. He was really keen and told me that he has said to himself “I know what will happen…I’ll come and meet you all, see that you are all really nice and end up coming to Church!!”
Open to the Message – Some who are embedded in the friendship circle of small group become open to the message. In Luke 10 v.6 Jesus describes them as men and women of peace.
Example of Simon who is a man of peace – came to social end of July , started life group at the start of September and started coming to Church at the baptism service.
Storytellers, harvesters and reasoners will be active at this stage, asking and answering questions and sharing stories. It was when we had a number of men and women of peace in our life group last year, that we began an Alpha course.
Ready – There comes a point when they are ready to cross that line of faith, to put their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Ex of 2 Chinese girls in life group for about 6 months and one night Andy sat with them and shared the bridge to life to which they both responded.
What we are looking for is not only people to make professions of faith, we are looking to make disciples, to see them baptised and getting rooted into local Church life and team fishing.
It was with some sadness that many in our group who had completed the journey to faith were leaving us to move elsewhere, but it is great to hear stories of them settling in other churches in other towns/ countries. Andy will touch on that next week when he talks about sending out.
Process – what we have learnt
Recognise it is a process, for some it is a quick process and for others it is much longer. Some don’t make it to the top of the pyramid, but like the parable of the sower, we have cast seeds, and so we leave it to God to do the rest. 1 Cor 3v. 6 “ I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
Don’t be precious about friends – have the right attitude – I’m invitational and find it easy to ask folks to socials. I always say to my group though that my friends are your friends…and sometimes it works out that our friends become closer to other people in the Church than us!! Andy and Jenny King story
We can plan the best we can, but ultimately God is in control. Recent cinema trip – Silvana and Aaron story – “I’ve been decorating all day, I sit down finally at 23:30 with a well earned cuppa. Put The tv on……
And playing this song ….
I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed what God Has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Savior
I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find the need
Of him to be my Savior
That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You called it strange so once did I
Before I knew my Savior
My Savior loves
My Savior lives
My Savior’s always there for me
My God he was
My God he is
My God he’s always gonna be
In our group there is always an expectation that there will always be guests to our socials that are not yet in the Church. We value people and love them, so we actually do make the effort to fix dates, rather than glibly saying we’ll have to meet up sometime and then never do anything about it! Don’t take knock backs personally – people are people, they will let you down at times, but don’t give up.
Every week I lead the witness section and we teach on what I am speaking about today, we plan socials. We have started doing a love bucket where we write the names of those in our group we are reaching out to and pass it round for each person to choose a name to pray for that specific person. Even though we are rather large, there is always room for more. One of our new girls asked last week was it ok if she invited some-one to our lunch last Sunday. I told her what I always reply – never seek permission to bring others in.
The penny dropped for our life group as it was a few years ago, after a particular successful pizza party. In the meeting I praised each person present for the part they had played. I thanked the servants so hard for helping make the pizzas, the connectors for inviting others and making people feel welcome, the musicians that had provided the atmosphere. It was after this that we saw Andy, a natural harvester, bring our Chinese girls through to faith in Christ.
Base socials on what your group enjoy doing. Most of what we do to draw people in involve fun and food, as you may know by now! We like to think we can celebrate any national holiday! (photos) For us, it works, because we love food and we chat whilst eating. We have gathered many folks from other nations and so we try to be like family. Friends have been so drawn to the group that we have some at the moment who come to our weekly gatherings that are not yet disciples.
Aside from food, we have a number who run and so we are wanting to do some runs, inviting others. Always look for opportunities. Example of Beth going for a run and chat…..From personal experience, it’s not easy to run and talk, infact it is impossible!! So make sure that after you arrange a drink and chat.
Andy and I joined a running club. If you are not careful, it is easy sometimes to spend all your social time with people from the Church because it is comfortable. Get out – join groups – meet people from outside the Church.
I started by saying we are ordinary people, jars of clay, and yet you can be used mightily by God to change the destiny of friends around us. I’m going to finish by sharing a story –from one of our Doctors – Alessio, who has now moved to Norwich. This is what he writes….
“When I first came to King’s Lynn, earlier last year, I was at a turning point in my life. Having just graduated from medical school back in Italy, it was time to start work. That for me meant moving abroad, leaving family and friends behind. I don’t think I could have ever imagined what the biggest change in my life would have been, if somebody asked me when I first arrived. There were times at first when it was easy to feel lonely and discouraged, far away from anybody I could call a friend, and being thrown in a very demanding job which I didn’t really feel prepared for. Everything truly changed when I met the people I now consider my second family, in King’s Lynn.
It all started with a coworker investigating into my spiritual life. It was brave of her and I thank God today for it! We used to talk over lunch about religion, what our views were on the matter, just exchanging thoughts without judging on either part. On my side, I grew up in a Christian family, and despite being very involved in church from a young age, when I left for university I put it all aside. At some point I thought that was something I didn’t need in my life. Back to our story, I was invited to her church, and I’m not one to say no to the chance of meeting new people, so I went.The people I met there were by far the most generous, friendly and genuinely good people I’ve ever met. Everybody was working hard to glorify God in the way that best suited them. Some by singing or playing instruments, others with their ever so present words of encouragement or ever-ready listening ear. Coming from Italy, I had no other choice than to cook for people.
And that’s when it started. We have had many evenings of laughter, fun and games, alternating with serious moments of reflection, listening to each others problems and praying together. Many of our nights centered around meals, because that is something that always brings people together, and I believe it much more now, having experienced that for myself. Putting your skills at God’s service, whatever they are, is something that will always bring you happiness and satisfaction.
With the months going by, I saw so many changes in my life. First came all the new friends and relationships with awesome people. Then I started to feel the presence of God beside me, in my everyday life and often times at work. And now, working as a doctor, I think that’s an invaluable thing to have. So many people are in need of the comfort that only He can give, especially when they’re ill or facing death.I recognise now that God has never abandoned me, even when I turned my
back on Him. He had a plan for me that is now starting to unravel, and I can’t wait to find out what He has planned next.”