You Will Only Meet Those (Future) People if You Are Willing to Go Out to Meet Them
In the last post we discussed how essential new people are to the future health and missional effectiveness of your congregation. That striking truth is sometimes hard for long time members to internalize. But they must make the shift and both be ready for new people and willing to support the transition to them.
Now here is another important truth: People rarely come looking for your church anymore. Attraction as a strategy is not very effective. You will only meet these people if you are willing to go meet them!
Of all the truths in this series, this is perhaps the hardest to live out. We have a web site, a Facebook page, and a new electronic sign out by the street. We have never been more visible and inviting. We never had nearly this much publicity in days gone by and we used to be big and healthy and new people came. Surely we are doing what we need to do to attract new people.
Continuing an attraction model is both non-biblical (we are a sent people not a waiting people) and just plain ineffective (the culture is no longer driving people our way). Yes, it is good to have good signs, web sites, and social media. But they are frosting on a good strategy of going out, not an excuse to stay in.
If your congregation is going to meet new people, the onus is on you to go meet them. If we love our neighbors, this will be natural. If we don’t love our neighbors then we need to start with a heart transplant. If we are to continue the gospel ministry that Jesus entrusts to us, then loving people is what we do. And meeting people is part of how we do it.
Many people who don’t attend churches never have. They have no idea what we do in there! To assume that they will want to come check us out is simply naive. They lack the social cues to consider church life.
But all people who have attended a faithful and missional congregation should have heard that we are a sent people. That is who we are in Christ. It is central to our identity as Christians.
That means if you are going to engage someone in your community in a relationship it is both practically and theologically on you to get it started. You know that you want the relationship. You know that you are sent out in the name of Christ.
Why would you wait for someone without those cues to come to you? If you are going to meet new people it is on you to go meet them!