I’ve been saying for many years that a church’s website has now become it’s primary way to get information to prospective attenders. Here’s an article by a blogger on Christian Post agreeing with my premise.
It can help us here in Kirkville to take the next step in our already developed website. It can also serve to guide those developing plans and capabilities for new websites such as my new friends in Copper Hill CT are now doing.
During our 50th celebration we received many compliments as a church family. Some were for relatively unimportant things. Others for very significant factors. The highest compliment we received, I believe, was from one person who does not often speak publicly. She rose in testimony time and said that she liked our church and was attracted to it because we not only taught the Bible and preached about it but we lived it too. That has to be one of the key characteristics of every good church. Jesus said it was the description of every wise follower of his. Here’s a great article on how to choose a good church. I think the four ideals this author unpacks describe Community Wesleyan in Kirkville too.
Here’s a very thoughtful article on the subject that is well worth thinking about. It’s so easy to get out of the habit that we need reminding from time to time why it is so important.
Often people ask me if they can be a Christian and not go to church. I think it would be like trying to be a gourmet cook without frequenting the produce department of the grocery store; or trying to be a good basketball player without going to practices. The excuses people use for staying away are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and often revealing. Since Easter, the high point of the Christian year, is little more than a week away, this is a great time to remind ourselves of just how important it is to express our faith and grow in it by gathering together. Here is a good article summarizing why attending church is important.
Setting a goal encouraged us to invite others
Some of you have asked me already, “Did we make 500?” I almost don’t want to answer the question because I am so excited about all the great events that happened over our Christmas weekend. Numerous family groups were here in force and I saw many new faces as well. The Christmas Eve music was super inspiring and our children and teens put the weekend over the top with their Christmas musical. But, the answer is, no, we didn’t reach 500 total attendance for our three Christmas weekend services. In fact, we did not get very close to the number goal. But having talked to families and friends as they gathered both on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, I am convinced that we had between 60 and 100 more people than we would’ve had if we had not set a big goal and stretched. The actual total of 370 included many family and friends that had been invited because we had set a goal. John Abbott expressed what I heard from many. He came with a friend that I did not recognize. Knowing he was from a large family of brothers, I asked, “Is this one of your brothers?” He replied, “It’s one of the men who works with me; you said bring a friend, so I did.” That spirit seemed to pervade the congregation both on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning as there were many family members and guests who had been invited to celebrate Christ’s birth with us. Other pastors who had services on Christmas day found their attendance on the low side. But because of our children’s musical and our efforts to invite friends, our Christmas morning attendance (145) was significantly higher than our average attendance. It was also a good thing that we had two Christmas Eve services because fitting everyone who came into one would have been extremely cozy (6 PM 160; 8:30 PM 65).
A wonderful Spirit of worship and a great play
The most touching report that I heard concerning the Christmas services was Kim Ouderkirk’s report of the children’s prayer time as they prepared to perform their Christmas morning play. One prayed something like this, “Dear Jesus, we have received so many gifts; now please help us give our gift to you.” That is priceless. Another prayed that someone would open their heart to Jesus because of the play. The children’s’ prayers were so moving that some adults left the room to staunch their own tears. Then they went out and delivered a nearly flawless performance, remembering all their lines and showing that they definitely know how to act a part. The message of the play that God’s gift to us of his Son Jesus along with the salvation that he brings to us is the greatest gift of all was crystal clear. Afterward the congregation gave them a standing ovation. Our thanks go to Kim Ouderkirk for her leadership, to all who helped her, to the teens and children for their hard work, and to the parents who cooperated by adjusting home schedules on Christmas so that we could tell Jesus’ story and honor him in this important way on his birthday. And they accomplished all this while also working around the 50th anniversary renovations of the sanctuary.
It’s October and the Major League Baseball play-offs are beginning already. It reminds me that I was happy to attend the last home game for the Chiefs this summer. By now, I’ve forgotten the score, but I remember the atmosphere and the good feeling of being at the ball park. I think about it as I watch the Yankees beat the Twins on TV. As good as TV coverage is, it’s just not the same as being there. When you are in the stadium, you feel part of the action and part of the team’s extended family—its fans. When you like baseball, there’s just something about being at the park watching. The field was immaculately groomed. I love the new real grass field. The food was great–white hots are the best deal and they were super. I bought a new cap to advertise that I’m a fan. And it turned out to be fireworks night too, which I didn’t know when I went. (I looked the game on the website. The Chiefs beat the Redwings 7-3 on 9-2-10) It’s always nice if the team wins. But you want to be there anyway whether they do nor not. I took a few snapshots that turned out okay considering the level of camera I use.
I started thinking – dangerous, I know. I hope people who identify themselves as Christians feel like they want to be at church too—like they want to be in on the action; like they are part of an extended family, because they are. They are on Christ’s team. Whether it’s a big Sunday in the church schedule or an ordinary one, whether the pastor hits a home run with his sermon or strikes out, I hope they are just glad to be in God’s house; sensing His presence, offering their own praises, saying their own prayers encouraging others, and generally adding to the excitement of the moment by being there. It’s what fans do. And some morning – just anytime –there might turn out to be fireworks of a different kind – a time when God makes his presence known in a special way to you or to the congregation. You’ll forget most everything else about that service, but not your own encounter with God. And you will want more of those touches.