Monday, March 17, 2008

Our first Sunday at High Pointe

Yesterday was our first official Sunday at High Pointe. We were warmly welcomed by all. It was Gina's birthday, so the church sang happy birthday to her. Then we had a type of "Covenant Sunday," in which the elders, representatives from the congregation, and the ministers all welcomed us and gave us a ministry "charge." Becki received a bouquet of flowers. It was nicely done (thanks, Bryan!).

We ended with a a responding "charge" from me to the congregation, to love God, to love neighbors, and to seek and save the lost. We passed out flyers for people to invite family, friends, and neighbors to our Easter Sunday service, symbolic of seeking to be a people who reach out.

Last night with to the Bryants' life group. It is a group made up of other young families. We had a good discussion about relationships. It was also clear that there was an interest and even a hunger for those discipleship type of groups--three to four guys who meet together to encourage one another in Christian living once a week. Someone also talked about how going on a short term mission trip helped form relationships with other Christians. I was very encouraged to hear all of this, as these types of things are essential in both outreach and spiritual formation.

Just from going to this one meeting, I now have some additional people that I feel I can talk to more meaningfully at worship. Interestingly, I am looking at things now through a visitors' or new member's eyes. How can I form relationships in a 1000 member church? How do I join a small group? How can I develop meaningful friendships? Too often we assume that people will find these things on their own. Some do, but many do not. We need to help people make these connections.

Do you think that most people make connections at a large church on their own? How can we help them to make these connections?

12 comments:

Jburgess80 said...

People "can" make connections on their own, but only a select few, depending on personality. I think that the majority of people need others to help them. Small groups are a great way to get people involved, a somewhat more intimate setting allows us to make connections more personal and less intimidating. Sunday afternoon lunch is another good way to make connections. I feel that friendships are started at church but are built outside of the church building. The key for us is to have something that strikes a cord in people and allows them to be comfortable and themselves while building these bonds.

Webcam said...
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Anonymous said...

James,

A great start. Our small group has been a God send to my family. It is difficult for some people to connect in a large congregation. We need to use every way to connecrt wirh vistors.

James said...

James,

It does seem that most people need help in making connections with others. This is true not only in churches, but in culture at large. Men, particularly are poor at making these connections.

While small groups can really help in making these connections, people need to be encouraged to be a part of a group. Personal invites are always key in this.

To our other friend who commented, I am glad that your small group has really blessed your life.

David said...

James, thanks for visiting our small group. We had such great feedback this week about the input you brought to our group. It is a blessing to have someone like you visit and make such a difference. Thanks,
Roxanne

James said...

David and Roxanne,

We had a great time at your small group, and you were an equal blessing to us. I was impressed at the hunger people had for getting involved in people's lives and growing spiritually. There is also a lot of potential there for reaching out. Thanks for encouraging people to be a part of this great ministry.

Anonymous said...

People make connections based on some individual effort but more than that it takes a loving church family to make an effort. So I feel there is effort to be made on both sides.

Reading the comments that have been posted on your blog before and since your move I am confident that High Pointe is a church family that will reach out to you, and to the lost in McKinney, to make connections to draw people to the Lord.

Steve C

James said...

Steve,

Yes, you can't marry an unwilling bride. People must be helped and invited, but they still must say yes. We talked about this in our small group on Sunday. Americans say that they want relationships, but then choose to sit four pews away from one another in a sparsely attended auditorium.

Somehow we must help people see that the sacrifices of giving up individualism and some time are worth the gains of community.

Anonymous said...

James,
After reading some of the previous comments I felt compelled to comment how important that "personal invite" is in reaching out to people and helping them to connect. It doesn't matter how many great programs a church has in place or small groups getting together, just posting them in the bulletin or leaving a sign up sheet isn't enough to draw some people in. Keep in mind we are called as Christians to "go out" not wait and see who will come to us. Pick up the phone, or better yet, go and find that family who hasn't signed up yet, and personally ask them to be a part! I guarantee it makes a difference!
Kim S.

James said...

For those of you from High Pointe, Kim S. who commented above, is the Kim from the conversion video that we wanted on Harvest Sunday. She was reached by a family that reached out through soccer. She had a specific invite to a series that we were doing at church called "Look at the Book." "Life groups" as we called them at Liberty were also essential in reaching her husband.

It is exciting to me to begin to see some cross-pollination from Liberty and High Pointe.

Anonymous said...

New connections are often difficult, and as one previous poster mentioned, more difficult for men than for women. I used to be in a church that REQUIRED EVERYONE to be in a connection-like group. While there are some serious issues with requiring people to be in a group in order to be a member in good standing in a particular church, people were almost never lost in the shuffle.

Kim S. posted that it is important for people to be invited to the group and she is dead on accurate with that statement! Connection-type groups are a wonderful way to get those one-another relationships going. However, one thing that I have noticed with some of the connection-type groups that I have been a part of is that once they are established, they can have a tendency to become fairly closed cliques, or at least, very difficult to penetrate from the outside.

It is imperative that those in the connection groups be reminded to reach out to those outside and make it easy for those that are not a part of the connection group to become involved. While it takes effort on the one trying to join in, I believe that it takes a bit more effort on the ones in the group to make sure that it is a welcoming place. Phone calls, invitations, avoiding 'inside' talk to the inadvertent exclusion of a new person, are just some of the things that I believe must considered.

Blessings to you at your new home, James!

Al V.

Chad Turner said...

I have personally invited new couples that attend our Young Married's class, but to my dismay there has not been any new attendees from my efforts. I will continue to invite new couples that we meet in church, but as you said before we have to invite them and they have to "Say Yes".

I honestly believe that once a person or family decides to attend a small group they will either continue to attend that group or find one that fits. But the decision has been made along with the connections to be with God and have fellowship.

Sherry and I were very lucky and extremely enjoyed our first time with our small group that we have not missed one group session aside from traveling.

I think new members would be better servants with the right fellowship and the right small group.