November 7, 2019

Dear Friends,

This week, I have a quick two-question survey I’d like you to take. But let me set the context for it first.

I recently read a helpful article online written by a pastor from Tallahassee, Florida. His name is Dean Inserra, and his article was titled “How To Get Unbelievers To Come To Church.” He talked about some of the cosmetic adjustments churches sometimes make to try to be more welcoming to unbelievers – things like changing the style of their music or making sure they have great coffee available or coming up with a clever sermon series title and blasting it on social media.

There’s nothing wrong with making a Sunday service as hospitable and welcoming as possible for people who haven’t been to church in a long time. But Dean makes the point that the best thing you can do to make your church attractive to unbelievers is to create a space and an environment that regular churchgoers are excited about. People usually come to church because of a relationship or an invitation. And if people in a local church love their local church, they are motivated to invite their friends.

The article went on to outline what Dean calls the “double promise.” He wants his church to be a church where, if you invite a friend to come, you don’t feel like you have to give a few disclaimers ahead of time. There shouldn’t be anything an unbeliever would need to be warned about ahead of time. Nothing you’d be embarrassed to have someone experience when they come to church for the first time.

The second promise is that there shouldn’t be anything that happens during their time at church that you would feel like you need to apologize for once the service is over. Nothing that would make you cringe if you had someone with you who was new to the church.

He writes “The church I help lead is made up of people who are passionate about getting unbelievers to attend our Sunday gatherings. We don’t believe it’s the end goal, but we absolutely and unapologetically push our members to bring their friends to the church—and we value it when they come.”

Dean’s double promise made me wonder about our blind spots. I’ve been in churches before where I would have felt like I would have had to do a lot of explaining ahead of time. And I’ve been in church services where I’ve thought “I’m glad we didn’t have any friends or family members here this week!”

Which brings me to my survey. It’s a simple, anonymous two question survey that asks you to help us with areas where we can create a Sunday morning worship experience that requires no disclaimers ahead of time and no apologies once the service is over. You can click above or click here to give us your feedback.

Do you know the number one reason why someone who hasn’t been going to church visits a local church for the first time? It’s simple. Someone invited them. We often think our friends who don’t go to church would be annoyed if we invited them to join us some Sunday. The truth is, there are some who would be. But most of our friends wouldn’t be annoyed at all. In fact, a simple “Hey, I’d love to have you visit our church some Sunday” is often all we need to say.

The survey is all about helping us work to be the kind of place you’d have no reservations about inviting a friend to join you on a Sunday. Take a few minutes, click the link and give us your thoughts!

We want to do something special for kids at David O Dodd Elementary School this year for Christmas.

Many of you know that in past years, we’ve put together shoeboxes with toys and gifts to send overseas through Operation Christmas Child. This year, we’d like to take the same approach, but we want to send the shoe boxes just down the road.

God has opened doors for us at the school to serve and care for teachers and kids. And your involvement has not gone unnoticed.

We’ve talked to the school leadership about providing every child with a Christmas gift box this year. That’s about 300 boxes in total. Hopefully, by Sunday, we’ll have a breakdown of the ages and genders of the students. Once we do, we’ll be asking you to fill one or two or five or ten shoeboxes that can be passed out to each child. We’ll have suggestions for you about what to put in a box along with details about the box shapes and sizes. Along with your gifts, we want you to write a note to the student. We’ll have some sample notes you can modify or adjust.

We’ll have more details for you on Sunday. But I’m excited about the opportunity we have to do something special for kids in our zip code who may not have many gifts to open on Christmas this year.

Here’s a look at how we’re doing financially as a church through the first 10 months of 2019.

Budgeted operating expenses through October: $289,532
Actual operating expenses through October $276,253
General giving through October: $267,002

These numbers do not include one-time expenses related to our transition to our new facility. You have been very generous and supportive as we’ve made the move. As God continues to provide for us through your kindness and generosity, we hope to be able to take care of other building-related priorities. In the meantime, we are so grateful to be worshipping together in our new church home each week. And we’re grateful for all the new friends who are becoming part of our church!

We’ve been seeing in John 3 the priority God puts on the new birth. The reason Jesus came – and died – was so that we could have new life. God was willing to pay the ultimate cost so that we could be reconciled to Him. Why? Because of His amazing love. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.

We’ll consider the unfathomable love of God for us as we worship together this week.

See you in church!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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