Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reaching & Keeping

Did you know that God wants His church to grow? He gave the church the mission statement: Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you (Matthew 28:19-20).

Did you notice the word ‘go?’ He didn’t say to the people outside the church to come to the church. He said to people inside the church (disciples- this includes you and me) go to people outside the church and make them disciples.

What that means is that everyone who calls First Free home is responsible to fulfill the mission. That means that we never move beyond the task of reaching new people. And we (I mean every one of us, not just pastors) never give up the ministry of connecting people more deeply in relationships within the body of Christ.
Now every church loses people. It’s a natural part of living in our culture. 3% will likely move away, 2% will die, and 5% will just fade away and stop attending without connecting to another local body. Some of this loss can’t be helped, but some of it can.

There are only two ways to experience net growth at First Free: reach new people, keep the people you reach. That is why we set apart 2-3 Sundays a year for something we call ‘Friends Day.’ An overwhelming percentage of people who visit a church on a Sunday do so because of the personal invitation of a friend or family member. This has far more reaching effects than social media or traditional advertisement.

So, will you help First Free grow? Will you invite several of your unchurched friends to join you this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 A.M?

Getting the word out about First Free is only part of the equation. We must still focus on helping people long-term, and the one single key to this is relationships.

Make sure the friends you bring this Sunday get introduced to others and get information about our next informational 4-week Life Group. People will develop closer friendships in a Life Group and this will help them want to stick to the church.

This is how churches grow- we work hard (all of us) at reaching new people (by you inviting your unchurched friends) and we keep working with the people you’re reaching in order to create deeper relationships.


P.S. Do you feel like you’re surviving each day just to get to the weekend? Are you feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated, and caught up in the rat race of life? Come this Sunday, invite a friend, and discover there is so much more than just living for the weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's not too late!

It’s not too late to invite your friends to First Free’s week of events. According to an interesting article I just read, the majority of the unchurched who are in relationships with Christ-followers are waiting to be invited to church, especially during the Easter and Christmas seasons. However, they are more apt to stay at home on Easter weekend (if not invited) because the initiative to go to church where they have no relationships is too intimidating. So, let’s not pass this opportunity by.

You may be asking, “What would I say?” Here are a couple of suggestions from social media experts:
  • For Good Friday service, text the following to your unchurched friends:
    • “This Friday is Good Friday. We have a 7 pm church service to help us focus on Easter. Would you like to join me? Maybe we can grab some dessert after.”
  • For the Easter Egg Hunt:
    • “Our church is having a huge Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday. I know your kids would love it! How about it?”
  • For Easter Services:
    • “Where are you celebrating Easter? I would love to have you join me for church. Please say yes!”

For those of us who are not text savvy, you can verbally invite friends by saying almost the same as the texts above and even use one of the Easter invitations the church made. You can pick some up at the church office. In fact, you may want to go door to door in your neighborhood and drop off an invitation.

I am asking you to go the extra mile in inviting your unchurched friends so we can declare the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. He is ALIVE! That is the message we will declare this Easter.

I know everybody you invite may not be able to come on Easter Sunday. Do not be dismayed. The following Sunday, April 3rd is Friends Day. Invite them to Friends Day as we begin a new series entitled ‘Living for More than Weekends.’ See you soon!


P.S. What if the tomb isn’t empty and Jesus is still dead? What if the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive? What difference does it make? Come discover the difference this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00; and don’t forget to bring a friend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Easter is coming! And it will be one of the most well-attended Sundays for most churches this year. As your Pastor, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to present the simple but profoundly hopeful message of Jesus’ resurrection to all of the extra guests who come.

But the gospel does not stop with Easter. This year following Easter Sunday is our next “Friend’s Day.” We will begin a new series of messages on that day entitled: “Living for More Than Weekends.” So many people today are bored with their lives or jobs; they are missing out on what it means to live a full, meaningful, abundant, and exciting life every single day.

These two big days (Easter and Friend’s Day) give all of us the opportunity to specifically pray that many people who attend will meet Jesus personally. We have an opportunity to invite and bring the unbelieving relatives and friends in our personal lives, and an opening to make an impression for the truth of the gospel.

Nothing builds morale and stretches our faith more than seeing people come to personally know Jesus. Working toward these two big days should motivate us to be about Jesus’ mission: making disciples. Let’s trust God to do great things for His glory on these two days.

With all of this said, will you help First Free ‘get ready for company?’ We need volunteers to greet, usher, and accommodate these guests. If you’re interested in greeting or ushering, contact Julie Florom ( to sign up to help! Maybe you let our guests have parking places closer to the church building; perhaps you will have to move one or two seats over to let them be seated easily. If you sense somebody doesn’t know what is going on, help them understand. Be friendly, warm and inviting.

You might be thinking shouldn’t we do these things every Sunday? Of course! But we have found that having special ‘Big Days’ three or four times a year as a concentrated, whole-church effort is healthy for enlarging our vision, boosting excitement, and creating a high point on the church calendar.

Remember the two big days (Easter, followed by Friend’s Day) will be upon us in two weeks.


P.S. We all want to look back at our lives and say “I attracted others to Christ.” We want to hear God say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant.” This would be the result of a life living for the things that really matter, but many of us don’t know how. Join us this Sunday at 9:15 or 11am and discover the 3 essentials of attractional living. 

Friday, March 11, 2016


Imagine with me what would happen if everyone in our church went to his/her sphere of influence and invited one unchurched friend to join them for Easter Sunday and they came?

Imagine with me that those who were invited to come to church Easter Sunday heard very clearly the truth about Jesus. The truth that Jesus is God’s son, that He loves everyone, that He wants a personal relationship with them. To hear that Jesus wanted that relationship with them so much He left heaven, came to this Earth to die in the place of our sins, and was raised from the dead. Jesus conquered sin and death.

Imagine with me what would happen if many of those who heard the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior.

Imagine with me that upon hearing the message of life transformation they went back to their friends, neighbors, work associates, classmates, and family and told them the very same message they had heard and trusted in.

Imagine with me the influence we would begin to have on our community by inviting the community onto our church property through a fun event like an Easter Egg Hunt. Imagine with me those who had fun might want to check out a church service just to discover what we believe.

Imagine with me how you would feel to know you had a key role in fulfilling Jesus’ mission- introducing people to Jesus Christ, developing them in to fully devoted followers, and equipping them to reach their city and world.

Wow! Can you imagine the blessing of God in your own life for fulfilling His mission and purpose for your life?

Let’s move from imagination to implementation. Invite your neighbors to Easter. Pray that the Spirit of God would move in their lives through the proclamation of the Gospel. Pray that First Free would be used to build the church of Jesus in Lincoln and expand the Kingdom of God.


P.S. Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? Have you ever compared your house, the car you drive, or the clothes you wear with others? This Sunday, we will examine how comparisons rob us of the life God has for us and how it hinders us from Living Well. See you this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 am as we worship God together.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Prep for Easter

With only 25 days till Easter, I wanted to commit this issue of Freshly Bru’d to the opportunities we will have this Easter season.
1.         INVEST in our unbelieving friends.
Investing means you are interested in them, their lives, their interests, their hobbies. Investing means you are involved with them. You have shared interests and stories. You go to dinner and movies together. You have them in your home.
2.       INVITE unbelieving friends to church.
If you have invested yourself in your unbelieving friends, inviting them will not be an issue, especially at Easter. Research shows that 3 out of 4 of your unchurched friends would attend Easter services if invited. The vast majority of Americans consider Easter a religious holiday, but fewer correctly understand its meaning. This gives the church a great opportunity to share the Good News of God’s Grace, Love and Redemption.

I will be going up and down my neighborhood inviting them to our Easter services and I want to encourage you to do the same. Let’s not miss the opportunity before us to invest and invite others.
3.       SERVE.
You can serve our building and property by doing your part to keep it clean. You can serve our guests by parking further away so they have less distance to walk. You can serve our guests by introducing yourself to people sitting around you that you do not know. You can serve our guests by moving to another chair to accommodate their seating needs.

We can serve the Easter weekend by praying. Praying for Jeffery Miller, our guest speaker, on Thursday March 24 and at the Good Friday service, March 25. You can pray for the Community Easter Egg Hunt that people would get exposed to our church and want to learn more about who we are.

You can pray for me as I prepare the Easter message that I would speak with boldness, conviction, and clarity. Pray that the Gospel of Jesus would be clearly declared. You can pray for the hearts of all who come to be receptive to the truth of the gospel and respond accordingly.

You can serve each other by communicating encouraging words, Bible promises, and sound advice. So, as we prepare for this season, let’s invest, invite, and serve. He is risen! He is risen indeed!


P.S. If you don’t believe God is moving in your life currently, or answering your prayers, or you don’t believe you’re experiencing His blessing, then jump out of bed this Sunday, come to worship at 9:15 or 11:00 and discover what may be keeping you from experiencing God’s blessing.