Monday, 28 May 2012
We believe in growth! As a member of God's church I believe that he has a desire to see us grow. To grow in our likeness to Christ and in our discipleship. I also believe that God wants us to experience growth in numbers. When I read the account in the Acts of the Apostles of people becoming Christians daily I long to see the same in the church today.
I am a Christian leader in 4 Anglican parishes in the Church of Ireland and I desire to see both kinds of growth. In this coming year we are going to look at developing our evangelism as a parish. In other words how we tell others about Jesus and attract them to form a lasting relationship with him.
Many establishes congregations can forget that this is one of our primary roles as the local church. To tell others locally about Jesus. There was an interesting fact I read recently that 82 percent of un-churched people said that they'd be open to visit a church, if a friend or family member invited them.
I know that there is often a fear that if we ask people will say, 'No,' to our invitation. But is that so terrible?! Shouldn't we be prepared to ask in the hope that they might actually say, 'Yes.' 82% of people are likely to say yes!
In recent year in the Church of Ireland there has been a tendency to act as if we are planning a decline. The grouping of parishes can be a good thing to help them to share resources. However, we need to retain the concept of parish-based mission. Local congregations reaching local people with the Good News about Jesus. In this coming year I want to challenge every member of my congregations to reach out to and invite at least one other person to join our church.
When we have full church buildings and services as fairly well attended there is a danger that we forget how important evangelism is. Emil Brunner's often quoted phrase: "The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning." is true still today.
My hope is that we will see the local church engaging with their local parish (geographically) to invite people, friends, neighbours to come to know Jesus.