3 Core Purposes: A Strategic Go
Microbreweries, targeted education and reaching the lost…
(This past Sunday, I took some time to break out our 3 Core purposes that we will be working toward these next few years. Over the next three months, I am taking some time to break them out a bit more. This first one was the 3rd Core Purpose from Sunday. I spent the least amount of time on it, and so we will start here this month…)
Times are changing. They always are. Trends are simply that – trendy. And yet, some trends seem to last (blue jeans), while others fade away (bell bottoms… thank God!).
Take beer (not literally…) If you look back 40 years ago, there were predominately about 7 to 10 main brand of beer. If you went to your local store, you would see a whole row of beer, but mostly these 7 brands. I was in Kroger the other day, and the beer isle still takes up a full row. Near the end cap, they had 40 to 50 different brands of beer all under the heading… locally brewed. Most of these possibilities never bought commercial time at the Super Bowl. They are locally brewed. They are specialty beer: microbrews or craft beer. Consumers seem to want a greater sense of connection to a local establishment or are looking for a certain individual flavor for their drink. There is almost a growing dislike for the ones brewed in large quantity and mass distributed. There is a loyalty to the local, but not to the large “national” (even if they still have commercials with cute puppies and large horses…)
Look at education. When I went to high school, there were basically two ways to graduate. You could take the normal classes or you could take the Advanced Placement classes. Amazingly all the classes covered the same basic information, but the advanced classes took it a bit farther to be tested a little harder. Today just in my daughter’s school system, they have regular high school, with those same choices... but now the Utica district has 3 advanced specialty high school options. They have 2 alternative High school options for those who don’t do regular school well. And beyond these, in the schools, you can meet with counselors and get special learning paths designed just for you. I am not sure that anyone knows what “regular” high school is anymore. Everyone seems to want what is tailor-made for their educational experience.
Now, this is not a rant against everything new – it is recognizing a trend. People tend to distrust the big, perceived “normal” institutions and are beginning to trust the smaller, more intimate “known” sources.
Still not convinced…. Ask yourself, when you buy something on the internet, do you trust the product description, written by the professionals… or the product reviews, written by the average guy before you push “Pay”?
In the way that we reach out to the world today, these trends are beginning to emerge. People are not drawn to the big rallies like they once were. In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the Billy Graham crusades were some of the largest evangelistic events of our era. And yet, in the culture today, 100,000 people would not show up and invite their neighbors to one. There is a distrust on a personal level for what is big, or what is too professional. People want to trust who they already know. They get most their information from trusted sources on the internet. Most of their reading each day comes from their own newsfeed on Facebook. They trust what they know that is local and available to them, but the rest…
When Jesus gave us the commission to make disciples wherever we are to go… he didn’t qualify it with a program, or a church event, or a service. He sent people… to go talk to people.
As I look at “A Strategic Go” I realize that there are times our methods must change if we are going to continue to accomplish the mission Jesus gave us. I believe that in the near future, more people will be comfortable with hearing about God from a personal friend than they will be willing to go hear about Him from an “expert”. I believe that Jesus will be shared more effectively in our backyards and on the sidelines of soccer games or in an Applebee’s at lunch than in a church program. I still think there is a place for outreach programming, but more and more often, people will be looking to those they know and trust already to fill in the gaps of what they don’t know.
A Strategic Go
For each of us, the goal is the same, but the form it takes can be very different. We have been sent and must GO. Every follower of Christ needs to discover where God is sending them.
As a church, we make strategic plans to reach our community. Each person needs to intentionally reach out to their community as well. God placed us across this region and called us to reach the ends of the earth.
Instead of leaving the world and living within church walls, we have been challenged to stay in the world… with a mission. To identify, pray over and strategically reach the communities we are in.
Participate in MCC’s strategy to reach our community
Identify the community God is sending you to
Build relationships with non-believers (Know your neighbors, be involved in your community’s groups, engage at work)
Pray over a part of your community
Identify your target field (identified by giftedness, opportunity, passion)
Be a person of hope (positive, inspiring, encouraging)
Lead someone to relationship with Christ
That is why over the next 3 years we are making it priority to help all of us understand that God is sending us into the world to our own mission field. We all need A Strategic Go. To the right, you can see the outline of what we talked about in September about this CORE purpose for our church. We want you to see what we believe God is calling us to. But we also want you to understand why. Part of our strategy is Biblical. Jesus said Go... not come. And so we must go with what we know. Part of our strategy must seek our community. We must take into account how people are willing to hear today.
It is time for the church to equip everyone with the tools it takes to do what Jesus asked us to do. And so, over the next year, we are going to talk about our own personal mission fields – our own Strategic Go – where God is sending us. As a church, here are some of the ways we are going to help do this.
Provide regular opportunities for local, regional, global outreach that connects people to MCC’s mission field
Provide training on how to identify and make an impact in your mission field
Coach people to lead someone to Christ
Build strategic partnerships with local organizations who are reaching the community
Provide yearly opportunities for short term mission trips internationally and/or cross culturally
Tell the stories
We will be working on this for a while. Biblical CORE principle do not go away. We will reach the lost of our area. We will form a strategic Go to reach them. We are hoping you will all come along for the journey.