The church has an opportunity to create a space where lonely or even busy people can find rest within her walls.
Evidence shows that many churches have struggled to rebound from the pandemic and the loss of members. With each passing week, sanctuaries remain half empty. Churches will begin to close unless we reach new people with the gospel.
In a world that is so interconnected through technology but disconnected from daily personal contact, the church has an opportunity to bridge the gap and create a space where lonely or even busy people can find rest within her walls. The church has an opportunity through three easy steps to reach outsiders to become insiders and move from waiting or complaining about not having guests to actively winning guests to the church.
Social Media Smile
There are countless social media apps on the market today; it is almost impossible to review them all. While diverse, they have one thing in common: They are trying to connect a segment of the population with other likeminded individuals who share their beliefs or at least likes. At the outset, these tools enabled others to share what is happening in their lives, but sadly, they have become marketing tools for the lives they wish they were living. The filtered images have slowly integrated into the culture and have turned people into a shell of who they are, leading to depression, anxiety and envy.
Instead of judging the culture, the church has an opportunity to be Jesus amid darkness and to put in place a social media smile that brings encouragement to someone’s day. Instead of condemning everything, a Christian sees why they should be an encourager with words, pictures, and videos placed on social media. In the gospel, the reader can see Jesus going into the dark places to bring light to not only his words but his actions. Using social media as a tool for the kingdom can help those struggling in darkness see the light and the love from a Christ-follower and may, over time, be more apt to reach out and develop a friendship that can lead to an invitation to church.
Through a social media smile, that one touch may be the very thing the person needs to keep going in their day, to find joy again, and to see Jesus in others.
Negativity seems to abound in all areas of life. More and more people are sharing the mental toll that negativity has taken on their lives. Spirit-led people have feared the church’s judgment and sought peace in nature instead of pews. What is missing in today’s culture of ‘me’ and not ‘we’ is the church offering love, thank you and other words of positive affirmation to those broken in spirit around them. The church is in a unique place to be positive even when things may seem to be negative. Why? Because there is hope found in God’s Word. A little positive ray of sunshine shines brightest against the turmoil and strife in which most folks find themselves.
The church can be the refuge of encouragement for those who are hurting and need help. Personal pats of motivation can be given through a generous tip to the waitress, holding the door open, complimenting someone, highlighting a positive aspect of a colleague’s work or sending a handwritten note of appreciation to someone. These small pats of kindness can brighten a person’s day and make them more open to the gospel message over time.
One act of kindness can help someone see their worth, be encouraged and to pass on this Jesus action as they encounter others.
Share the Jesus Journey
Living a life that respects others, honors God and fulfills the Word of the Lord, not just on Sundays but every day, will bring others to you to seek comfort. As you live your life honoring God in all you do, others will notice how you react to challenging situations and celebrate the joyous times of life. Over time, your actions (words and deeds) will provide a complete picture to those seeking something new in a world that has left them so empty, and they will reach out to ask, “Why are you always so happy?” It is then you will be able to share Jesus in a way that will be received and respected. Often, Christians want to share Jesus with a stranger without understanding the person or what harm organized religion has done to them.
God has divinely placed you in your neighborhood, workplace and community to be his missionary to share the love of Christ with others through his example. Do not be so caught up on winning souls that you miss the relationship he is having you build with a non-believer. Be caught up on loving souls, and the Holy Spirit will handle the rest. The Jesus journey you are on is not to be kept to yourself but shared with others.
While the world outside the church’s doors may be challenging, God is not surprised and is keenly aware of the church’s strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what matters: love others like Jesus and allow God to handle the rest.