Soaring with Summer Momentum
Copyright 2017 by Greg Kappas and Church Revitalizer Magazine
Soaring with Summer Momentum
President and Founder of Grace Global Network
Greg has been married nearly 35 years to his remarkable wife, Debbie and has 2 children with a grandchild due this Summer. He is the Author/Editor of over 15 books. Dr. Kappas speaks at various churches, conferences and venues throughout the United States and in over 40 countries. He is a coach and consultant to pastors and global influencers in leadership development.
That is right…SOARING…not SNORING…Summer may be a time for some extra naps, but not when it comes to reaching new people. Church renewal at times is a matter of perspective and priority.
I see the Summer as a great time for church health and growth in developing momentum.
No, I am not on drugs and I am certainly not sleeping. Summer is a time when not only people in our congregation make family, business, career or ministry moves, but new people are moving to our various regions and some of them are looking for a new church. They have new jobs and that may mean relocating…to your region…Did you read that?
New people are moving to our various regions and some of them are looking for a new church? With the passion of follow up that we have during the Easter, Mother’s Day, Start of School and Christmas seasons…I advocate the same energy going into reaching new people during the summer.
Why? You have a ripe time to reach new people in transition who need new friends and some stability in the midst of transition. Children are sad that they are leaving their friends. Parents are masking the pain so that the kids are not upset, but lonely just the same. Singles are excited but also nervous about the new surroundings. Young marrieds are pumped up about the newness, camping, hiking, biking and just enjoying the environment around them. All the same still wanting to meet like-minded couples and people.
“Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
My wife, family and I enjoy the summer for vacations just like you all do. However, we use the summer in the pastorate having new people over for barbeques, coffee and dessert, along with time in our home. If you do not want to open your home this way, I understand. How about hosting time at your local church.
Each worship weekend or whenever you meet for weekly worship can provide the following:
- Meet new guests with the pastors, Lead/Sr. Pastor and key leaders each week for a reception, it can be 30 minutes to an hour long with relational focus, snacks/drinks, some brief vision and a time of loving on people.Alternate a small group or other key leader hosting this weekly.
- Order a list of new people moving into your area (start up to 10 miles), that gives you weekly updates or at least monthly updates where you can mail out a nice postcard welcoming them to the area. Begin your new move in list with people who have moved in over the last quarter and then have it sent to you regularly. Outreach Marketing does this very inexpensively and it has been one of the best tools I have ever used in reaching new people. The church that I led in NE Seattle saw this more than pay for itself in less than 6 months with new people that came into our local church body. This continues to be one of the best tools that churches use nationally.
- Follow up your above regular list with a welcome wagon type of gift. We gave a coffee mug, pen, water bottle, etc. It is low keyed and effective. If your area is not distrusting, you can have a team (they liked the name Cookie Brigade at our church…your choice) that drops off a dozen cookies with the greeting gift. Be creative, and be a missiologist to your communities and culture.
- Have a different ministry in your church sponsor a monthly Coffee and Dessert time for all new people over a few months at a time (some people will miss 1 or 2 invitations and need to still be invited). Have someone administrative in the above ministry in your church help you with this. A relaxed 2 hour time for coffee, drinks, desserts, questions and answers, vision, relationship building, a game that helps identify each new person and their interests, hobbies and something unique to them, etc. helps move toward some new community.
- Plan a monthly small group for all new people that simply meets until your regular small groups are up and running again. If no small groups at your church, then take guests that are interested and form a new beginnings group for your new people. If you do not have enough to form a group, then still schedule monthly cookouts, swim parties, reading groups, etc. that will appeal to your communities.
The fact is that people need Truth and Relationships…starting a new members class is not the first step…getting to know them and representing Jesus and His Word are the first steps. Pray for new people to come, pray for them when you meet them, pray and invite them into an environment of love and care.
Is it possible that we do not focus on reaching new people due to our lack of love for the lost and for those believers who are not connected to a local church family? Is it possible that we treasure our own comfort and rest instead of letting Jesus seek and save the lost through us? Is it possible as servants of Christ that we claim our own rights and that summer is “our time” to rest from a hectic pace throughout the year? Is it possible that pace and rest can become our god of comfort, instead of regular priority? I believe in proper pace and rest Biblically and Theologically…yet, I am fully aware of some pastors “checking out mentally and emotionally for 8-10 weeks” every summer.
I hope that you seize the moments of this and each summer…Moments of fun family time… Moments of time with your spouse that brings smiles and great joy…Memories that represent pace, rest and planning…times to meet new friends and be with long time friends…cool refreshing events and weekend happenings that invite new people to consider and connect with your local body. They are hungry for Truth and Relationships!
I have pastoral friends who reach out to Olympic athletes and budding Olympians who train on the various bike paths of Central Florida. They use the training times to hand out water and to greet the athletes who are flying by on the paths. They use the 4thof July and Veterans Day to be creative and intentional in their outreach to those without Christ. I am so proud of David and Darlene Miller, along with their staff who seeks to intentionally engage their communities for the Gospel…frequently…passionately…creatively…prayerfully.
What actions can you take this summer from the above suggestions or others that God puts on your heart and mind? What is the Holy Spirit calling you to do? What steps are you going to take now and throughout the summer to sharpen your spiritual sword and influence in your regions for Jesus Christ? Reaching new people is essential to your personal and church health. You can be the change agent along with your family to see more guests and new people as a regular part of your worship times and through your small groups.
It really is simply a matter of Truth and Relationships!