Word of Encouragement – 3/4/2020

I want to follow up on the subject of last week’s newsletter concerning outreach. 

I mentioned sitting in the early morning hours with pastor friends while on the cruise.  We talked about the little tricks churches do in order to promote attendance. Years ago, churches had such campaigns as “All Sheep in the Fold” campaign.  Remember that?  In our packets were hundreds of cardboard sheep — white on one side and black on the other.  Sunday school members would inscribe their names on a sheep, and a string was hung across the front of the auditorium.  

The culmination of the campaign was a string of sheep — both black and white, displayed across the front.  The appeal was “don’t be a Sunday school black sheep.” 

Another was the Ezerpyboob campaign — Ezerpyboob was a very unsightly manikin that was assigned to the class that had the lowest percentage of people present.  These silly little campaigns were hailed as great successes — that is, until the campaign ended and attendance went back to the same attendance as before

I guess the most outrageous campaign I ever heard of was the “Be One of the Bunch” campaign.  This was especially designed for the bus ministry.  A helicopter would land on the church parking lot, and a man dressed in a gorilla suit would emerge from the craft, carrying a huge bunch of bananas.  He would hand them out to the little Sunday school attendees and would be encouraged to gather around, hold their bananas up together and “be one of the bunch.” 

In my visit with my friend, Jack Comer, during those early morning coffee meetings, said nothing works like encouraging the membership to invite and/or bring their neighbors and friends to church. 

A campaign was created about 25 years ago by a church growth group known as F.R.A.N. Day”  (friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.)  A Sunday was designated as FRAN day, and was followed by a church-wide lunch and opportunity for the church to meet and greet the neighbors.  This year, instead of a Valentine banquet, Teel organized a “Love your neighbor” fellowship.  All were encouraged to invite friends and neighbors.  I admit, at first I was not very optimistic about it, but I was stunned to drive up on Sunday night, Feb. 9 and find that over 50 people were present — and many were friends and neighbors of our members. 

Folks, this is more in line with biblical outreach than anything I’ve ever seen. The night was absolutely delightful.  I enjoyed meeting and visiting with people who were neighbors of some of our members.  Relationships are such a driving force in the growth of a church.  In fact, the church growth “experts” years ago, found that the most important space in the church was the foyer.  And that foyer should be at least 25 percent the size of the worship center. Those 15 minutes of fellowship before and after church are so crucial to a flourishing church.  Some churches even install coffee and soft drink facilities in the foyer. This is how relations are built, and the result may be that it is a tool in which the Lord will add to His church.

Next week, we will discuss “Side Door Evangelism.” 

Love to all,

Bro. Paul

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