Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter is Coming!

Easter will be here in 12 days. This time of the year is one of the greatest seasons for growth in the life of the church. It also provides us an opportunity for our own spiritual growth and renewal. I would like to encourage you to do three things to provide you the experience of spiritual growth and renewal. Hopefully, you will start today.

The first thing is to renew. Take this time of the year to examine your own personal life. Is there an area where you need spiritual renewal? Ask God to renew that area in your life. Make a concerted effort to intensify your spiritual growth. Do a spiritual inventory on yourself. Is there anyone against whom you hold a grudge? Is there an area where you have not put God first? Have you failed to seek the lost for Christ? Are you secretly pleased over the misfortunes of others? Have you robbed God by withholding His due of time, talents, money? Are you in anyway careless with your body? Do you have any personal habits that are not pure? Are you dependable and honor your word? Do you listen to unedifying radio or T.V. programs? Are you thankful? Are you taken up with the cares of this life? How is your conversation with others? How is your attendance in church? Do you submit to your leaders? Do you give your best at work?

Get alone with God for an extended period of time – look into His Word as you answer these questions. I read the accounts of Jesus’ last week on earth and it always renews me.

The second thing I want to suggest to you is to invite someone to join you at the Easter services. Sit down and make a list of five to ten of your unchurched friends. Make a commitment to pray for each of them each day before Easter Sunday. Call them, email them, text them, Facebook them, visit them, do whatever it takes but make sure that you take personal responsibility for inviting them. Statistics show that 80% of people who visit a church for the first time come because someone they knew invited them.

Third, connect them to the church. If you invite them and they come it is your responsibility to help them connect to the church. Introduce them to others, sit with them in church, follow up with them the following week. The simple truth is that unless people connect to other members of the church within the first few days after their visit, they are unlikely to come back.

Join me in these three things and let’s see what God will do. (Ephesians 3:20)


 P.S. Are you burdened? Facing some kind of trouble or tribulation? Do you wish you could experience peace in the unsettling times in which we live? Join me this Sunday in worship at 9:15am and 11:00am and discover how you can experience peace in an unstable world. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friends Day, Every Day

Every Sunday truly is a Friends Day. Any given Sunday you should be able to invite a friend and experience engaging music, challenging sermons, and a friendly smile in every aisle. However, First Free has designated a couple Sundays a year when we intentionally encourage people to bring a friend to church.

Our next Friends Day is March 22nd. I hope you have been investing your life in someone you can invite to come and see how you worship God – what you experience when you are in church.

We use the expression “Getting ready for company” for Friends Day. Whenever you have company in your home you make sure it is an enjoyable visit and experience, things are clean, inviting and warm. So should we and will we on March 22nd.

There are several practices of churches people are excited to take their unchurched friends to. As you read the list, see how First Free measures up:

1. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to are genuinely glad unchurched people showed up. Everybody, especially greeters, sincerely say “We’re glad you’re here.”

2. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to have people designated to serve them. Greeters are warm – open the door, take people to the room they are wanting to go to. Ushers help them to their seats and are warm, friendly and positive.

3. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to are concerned with children’s safety. Security and safety are big deals to unchurched people. Numbering systems and escorts to nursery are provided. The nursery is clean – that is a must.

4. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to are generous to unchurched people. Tours of the church are provided, gifts like a mug and Starbucks gift card are available.

5. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to meet the needs of unchurched people. Complimentary coffee and muffin, clean bathrooms, easy access directions, signs and personal escorts.

6. Churches you are excited to take your unchurched friends to create services unchurched people love to attend. Everyday language, music they can relate to, relevant message, explanation of why we do what we do.

Is First Free a place you are excited to take your unchurched friends to? I pray so.


P.S. A new series begins this week. You won’t want to miss Bridge Building: Developing a Heart of an Effective Bridge Builder. Remember our new service times, 9:15am and 11:00am and to set your clocks forward for Daylight Savings time!