Why God Is Bringing People to Your Church
In our 7-week First Step Experience, I like to take a survey by the raise of a hand about what it was that made people come back to our church after their first visit. I invite them to verbally add reasons to the list I throw out as well. Things that always come up are....
- Our pastor's teaching/current series
- The music/worship
- Our ministry to children and teens.
- The friendliness of our people
- Our location
No surprises here. You would probably get the same answers at your church. But here's the bomb I like to drop at the end of the survey: None of these are the reason they are here.
None of these.
These are the things God uses to get them to our churches. They are not WHY they are at our churches.
Visualize faces and names of guests at your church and ponder these two facts that are true of every one of them:
1. God knows why he lead them to your church
"But in fact, God has placed the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." -1 Corinthians 12:18
This means that there are no accidents when it comes to guests at your church. God has personally drawn together every person at every congregation in the world to demonstrate Jesus in a full, yet unique way to every community in every generation. Which leads to another interesting fact:
2. God knows exactly what he wants them to do at your church
"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10
God has something prepared in advance for them to do as part of your church. Everything He has fashioned them to be has been preparing them for that task according to this verse. That means, there is someone at your church that they are going to need in a coming season in their lives-someone who has all the gifting to help them successfully go and grow through a time of decision, opportunity, or hardship. In addition, there is someone at your church that is going to need them uniquely to navigate a season of challenge, opportunity, or critical decision making over time. God just had to "add" them to your church to establish the connection (See The 2:47 Factor) .
Sometimes the connection is for a specific kingdom advance, where the reign of Jesus will be extended through a partnership or new initiative in some area of need in the community, or in another area of the world. When this happens, stand back and look back:
God is revealing the amazing reason why he is bringing people to your church. It has nothing to do with the style of music, youth ministry, or a sermon series. It has everything to do with the advancement of the kingdom of God in a soul and in the world today.
Bill was the local police chief in our community. He was a good guy, competent, and had a degree in Organizational Leadership. 13 years ago, he was coaching Jim and Lisa's son, Tyler, in baseball. Jim is one of our pastors and a sports enthusiast to say the least. Out on the field, Bill and his wife Sharon got to know Jim and Lisa as one of the supporting parents of the team. When Sharon's mother died suddenly, conversations got spiritual. On Easter Sunday that year, Bill and Sharon came to church for the first time and God did a healing and saving work in their lives. Jim had the honor of baptizing them, probably believing God had brought them to Eastside so they could hear how Jesus could change a life and comfort them through their loss.
It was going to be much more than that.
When Bill retired at 55, he had been serving on our Build Community Team as a Head Coach over the connection groups in the region Northeast of our campus. We felt a strong calling that someone needed to come on our team to oversee ALL the connection groups (300+ and growing) and the fulfillment of our dream to see a group in every neighborhood within a 20 mile radius of our campus. It became apparent to us, and to Bill, that he was our man.
This year, we hired Bill and brought him out of his blessed retirement. He was more than eager. Though not an entirely unique story, I was impacted by something Bill said to me about it:
"Greg, I honestly think my education and 30+ years on the police force was all just to prepare me for this moment."
Really? All that time, effort, and education? The baseball coaching, coping with the loss of Sharon's mother? You mean it wasn't only to find comfort and healing from God?
It was bigger. It always is.
What is it in your assimilation process that helps people discover and prepare for the works of service God has planned for them to do at your church?
In the next post I will share the main way we onboard new volunteers at our church. It is fun and a little different, but it works.
- What is it in your assimilation process that helps people prepare for their "works of service"?
- On a 1 to 5 scale, how easy do you think it is to volunteer in your church?
- What are the positions in your church that people who are not members can serve in?
- Could you create a focus group of 3 people to kick the tires by entering into your process for volunteering and report back to you what they experienced in terms of how far they got and how long it took to get placed?