Thanksgiving kicks off a great migration. This one holiday will generate a movement of over 54 million travelers for holiday gatherings. As Christmas nears, more and more will be added to their numbers. While we lament over the vanity overtaking the season, more people are led to take a step into our churches now than any other time of year. God is on the move. He still seeks out and draws disconnected people to Himself.
While we are singing, “O Come, All Ye, Faithful,” there is another throng of more cautious people who don’t see themselves as among the faithful. They are disconnected from church communities for as many reasons as they number. For many, the holidays are difficult times invoking memories of pain, loss and resentment. Some feel the weight of physical, financial, vocational and emotional maladies. While the typical Sunday morning in America welcomes 17% of the population into our churches, God will draw nearly two thirds (64%) of the population to church at Christmas.
If God is bringing disconnected people to our churches, how will we welcome them?
Here’s a blessing for your church: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had…” (Romans 15:5). What will Christmas look like for us as God is leading people to our doorstep?
Join me in the “10:02” experiment. This is a call to pray daily for the “harvest” and those who “labor” in the Kingdom of God (Luke 10:2). Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to pray one minute each day for a Christ-like attitude toward disconnected people. Organize others at your church to join you daily. Try this from now till Christmas with a minute prayer at 10:02 a.m. each day. You’ll be surprised at the connections God arranges.
Make More Margin
This is a busy time of year. That’s why we all need more room for the “unexpected appointments” God will set up. And He will! Look for places where you can add 5-10 minutes to the scheduling of your movements throughout the day. The first move for a disconnected person toward the church may be an encouraging conversation with you—and it’s likely to come at an inconvenient time.
And when it comes to time at church, try this experiment: Make the five minutes before and after worship a sacred time for encouraging new and/or returning people. So often those precious minutes before and after church are consumed by conversations and chores of church business.
Move My Pew
Break the tradition where your seat in church is determined by family history or personal preference. Be willing to endure a change. Let your pew be the place beside someone who needs your encouragement. If you extend an invitation to church, offer to pick them up (or at least meet them at the front door). For a disconnected person, stepping across the church doorway, can be one of the most intimidating steps of their week. They need you there to take that step with them. If you see a disconnected person come in alone, let their courage inspire you to sit beside them.
One hundred and ten congregations and counting are recognized as “Plus One” in the Missouri District. This means they are taking one new step with the Gospel into their communities. If you’d like to know more contact me and I’ll connect your church with one of our Plus One coaches. As God draws thousands of disconnected people to our churches, we can all be “Plus One” right now, simply by a step of bringing the heart of Jesus to disconnected people this holiday season.