Archives for 10.4.06

on "What it takes to reach them is what it takes to keep them."

Another online friend writes on this topic here, and I think I agree with him. (Good to be on the agreeing side, eh, Ben?)

I was prompted to add a few comments on this subject because in my e-mail inbox today was an e-mail from a ministry that I am sure means well, but… But here is the subject line of the e-mail:

This Fall, Keep the First-Time Guests You Reach

The e-mail is from a ministry called The man behind this ministry is called Nelson Searcy. I see he went to school at Gardner-Webb University, a school in a town where I used to serve as a weekend youth pastor. I made lots of mistakes on North Carolinians! He has taken subsequent education at two SBC seminaries. The bio on his sight reads this way:

In 2002, Nelson Searcy started The Journey Church of the City in New York, NY. The congregation has grown from a handful of people to over 1100 in four Sunday worship services and over 1200 in 95 small groups. The Journey is an innovative, multicultural church in Manhattan. An experienced strategist, coach and speaker, Nelson serves as a regular consultant to churches across America. He is the author of over 20 articles and 30 training resources on leadership, evangelism, church planting and church growth. Before coming to NYC, he served as the Director of The Purpose Driven Community at Saddleback Church.

Here is the promotional blurb for the Assimilation Seminar, which is what the e-mail I received was advertising. You can find the site here. (Somehow it slipped through my ever vigilant spam filter.)

It’s not enough to just attract first time guests –
you must learn how to keep them! This seminar on
Assimilation discusses practical steps that will help
you create an inviting environment for your first-time guests- one that they will want to come back to time and time again! 2 Teaching CDs plus a Resource CD

Resource CD Includes:

25+ page Assimilation Strategy used at The Journey
Sample Emails
Sample Surveys
Greeter and Usher Overviews
Sample Follow-Up Letters
Sample Communication Cards
Plus much more!

Return and Exchange Policy

About The Teachers:
Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas are Teaching Pastors at The Journey Church of the City in New York, NY. The Journey is an innovative, multi-cultural, multi-site church in Manhattan and is one of the fastest growing churches in the Northeast. The church is recognized for its creativity, media and relevant approach to life changing teaching.

Well, I don’t know. Am I responsible to keep those who come? Am I responsible to make them comfortable? I guess so, in a way. I mean I shouldn’t be rude to them or unfriendly or make them feel unwelcome as PERSONS, that wouldn’t be following the way of Christ.

But if I preach the truth that all without faith in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in HELL, and deserve to be there, would that make them uncomfortable? If that kind of preaching is true, I wonder when I should get around to it after I have made my visitors comfortable. I wonder if I will keep them if I do get around to it.

The concept is curious. It might be interesting to get the materials to see what they have to say and the CD advertised is only $37, so not a great cost. But… my philosophy is pretty well set on this and I don’t think I will bother. Too many other things to do and read. My curiousity level isn’t stirred high enough to even part with $37.

I hope the visitors we do have will come back because they have been stirred to do so by the Holy Spirit from faithful preaching of the Word of God. I don’t know any other way to build a church.

I also found the return policies of this ministry to be ‘interesting’, that is, if this really is a ministry. Very curious. I wonder if the Lord who overturned tables in the temple would have any thoughts on it at all.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3