I know many have been praying for our launch, so I wanted to begin by expressing how very grateful we are for your prayers. When we got into our “prayer huddle” this morning, we prayed specifically for Jason’s church and I silently prayed for so many of my amazing friends that I have met through this medium.
Launching on Easter Sunday was an almost overwhelmingly emotional experience for me. It was probably good timing. It really drove home why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place.
Here’s an interesting statistic that Jeff sited several weeks ago: Eighty-two percent of people that get a personal invitation to visit a church from a friend, neighbor or co-worker will respond positively to that invitation. I mentioned in an earlier post that C3 has decided not to pursue advertising right now. We’re not against advertising, we just feel that the money put towards getting our name out would be better spent in outreach and missions. The best, most effective advertising (for us, anyway) is someone who is genuinely excited about how God is moving in the life of our church; someone who cares enough about a friend, neighbor or co-worker to want to share that experience with them.
Did our launch day exceed our expectations? That’s an impossible question to answer because we had absolutely no idea what to expect. But I will share a personal example of inviting a friend to church.
Before Ron and I were married, he introduced me to a couple that were his closest friends, who quickly became my closest friends as well. We did everything with them. It was rare that a week passed without getting together with them for dinner or just to hang out. This relationship continued after we were married. After the birth of our first child, we found a church home and became very involved in several ministries there. It was a wonderful experience that I don’t regret, but because there were so many meetings and events centered around the church, we never seemed to have a free weekend to spend with our dear friends. We were so involved in ministry that we neglected to minister to our friends.
Our friends were at our first Sunday today, along with their daughter and one of her friends. We’re getting together with them in a couple of weeks. I don’t know if they will become members of our church, but I do know how much it meant to Ron and me that they were there on such a special day, and I want to honor their friendship by making time to share our lives with them.
Last Sunday, one of our core members invited a little girl from her neighborhood to church. She was so excited about being in church. She was asking, “Do you guys meet every week? Do you meet in the summertime?” If that wasn’t blessing enough, this week she showed up with her mom and seven other kids ranging in age from 4 to 14. We had an Easter egg hunt right after church today. It was pouring down raining outside, so we held it in the school cafeteria. (Having a core group member that happens to be the principal of the school you’re meeting in definitely has it advantages!) Anyway, I was looking at the group picture of all the kids with their bags full of eggs, and it occurred to me that a) 5 of our kids were missing (divorced parents – not their weekend) and b) of the 14 kids in that picture, only 5 of them belonged to members of the church. That was such a cool “ah-ha” moment for me.
We had several visitors today. I don’t know if they will be back. What I do know is that every single visitor we had was there because someone extended a personal invitation. We’re certainly not going to make any of the megachurches in the area nervous anytime soon, but that’s okay with us. It was a very good day.
I was thinking about my blogger pal Koffijah’s post, The Jesus Program this morning. Check it out. It’s really good. And if you’re reading this Koffijah, you’re still off my Christmas card list.
Thanks again for all your prayers, I felt so connected to the Church (big “C”) this morning.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Deadliest Catch marathon calling my name. Incidentally, if you happen to have my phone number, don’t even think about calling me on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. central time. It’s the season premiere, and Ron and I are gonna be all up in that!