Disclaimer: Sharing this information with other Seventh-day Adventist churches may result in unprecedented church growth ushering in the Second Coming and possibly preventing you from completing your bucket list items.
Jesus called His disciples to abandon their nets and fish for souls. As conscientious observers of the Great Commission, we spend millions of dollars and countless hours in the ‘world’ ‘fishing’ or soul-winning. And while each precious soul won to the kingdom through various strategies, initiatives and attempts is of infinite value, the overall impact on our wider community seems snailfully slow.
Can I interest you in a little known but highly effective fishing technique?
Secret fishing spot
Visit www.search.adventistchurch.com and enter your postcode in the search bar. Turn up to the closest venue listed in the results at the indicated secret time.
Secret fishing time
Saturday mornings, between the hours of 9:30am to 12:30pm.
- Welcome your visitors: No, no, no! “Hello, here’s a bulletin” is not a welcome. Is that how you treat guests that come to your home? Give them a menu and wish them luck? A genuine welcome involves talking to people (use vocal chords where possible), asking questions, getting to know them, introducing them to the facility, amenities, seating, Sabbath School and worship service – all person to person, not bulletin to person.
- Sit next to visitors (most don’t bite): If people want to be left alone, they stay home. Really, they do. Using our highly refined powers of deduction, we can safely assume those who summon tremendous reserves of courage to attend an unfamiliar and daunting worship edifice, visit church to ‘not’ be left behind alone. Sit next to them – get to know them between proceedings, explain the essentials (3 offerings, 2 kneelings, 1 standing, etc.), share a Bible, take them with you to Sabbath School or your Bible study time (or go with them to the visitors class – hint: have a visitors class) and ensure that from the time they walk in till they leave they are chaperoned by yours truly.
- Invite them for lunch: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people accused us of having lunch with whores, drunks, sex offenders, AIDS victims and tax office auditors? The sad news is that these people are unlikely to attend our churches. But the ones that do are far less exotic and likely to provide agreeable company over Sabbath lunch. Jesus ate with people – eating together is a deeply bonding experience that opens the heart to friendship and discipleship. Eat what? Doesn’t matter (preferably plant based – recommended for longevity). Visitors will be touched that you cared enough to host them and likely forget the menu while still chewing it.
- Call back: Visitor interaction is not a one-day-stand. Ask them for their contact details. Figure out why they call it contact details – call, email, SMS them, Facebook them, catch up over a hot (soy, sugar-free) chocolate, invite them to your small group, back to church next Sabbath, another meal at home, the church social – anything to deepen the friendship.
- Phone a friend: You are superb, but not sufficient (sincere apologies) – Newcomers need at least six authentic friends in church before feeling like they belong. Phone a friend, introduce them to the visitor, disciple them to care for the visitor and encourage them to phone another of their friends to do the same. You can stop when the visitor has six friends, however you may find the exercise highly addictive.
In case you’ve skipped this entire article hunting for the concise conclusion, here it is: Love people that walk into your church.
How do you love people who walk into your church?