Outreach. Another church word. Not used much by others. Outreach. What does it mean when we say this? Literally, it means to “reach out” beyond ourselves. But for what purpose?
We believe that our God of unfailing love is calling Pearce Memorial Church to a Vision to look, live, and love like Jesus. We believe that our God of unfailing love is calling our Pearce family to live out this Vision through our Mission—to be and make disciples of Jesus that love God and neighbor. And finally, we believe that we can best live out God’s Vision and Mission for Pearce through our simple church strategy of Worship (our love for God), Community (our love for one another), and Service (our love for the world).
All of this we get from the words of Jesus. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of all was. He responded by saying “Love your God … Love your neighbor” (Matthew 22). Jesus later gave direction to the Great Commandment with what has come to be known as the Great Commission—”Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28).
Back to the beginning: what does outreach mean? There are many things we can do to attract a crowd, but is that outreach? We can use our hobbies and interests to attract all kinds of crowds, but is that truly outreach? Part of fulfilling our Vision and Mission is Outreach because a disciple is someone who loves their God and loves their neighbor, and then “reaches out” to make more and better disciples.
Attracting a crowd doesn’t make us a church. Attracting a crowd doesn’t fit the biblical understanding of “Outreach.” Rather than trying to be all things to all people and repeating the services that are offered by the world, we focus on those things that best help us make disciples, who, one day at a time, might better look, live, and love like Jesus. Our calling is to see hearts and homes on the westside of Rochester and beyond transformed as we live out this Vision and Mission.
Outreach is more than attracting a crowd. It is reaching out to love like Jesus that people might come to know Him. Outreach is where our love for God, our love for our neighbor, and the call to make disciples are lived out.
This is the “Outreach” we long for!
Two Denver pastors (Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak) read God’s command to go and love our neighbor and asked, “What if Jesus meant that we should love our actual neighbors?”
They felt a conviction that the average home in America can be described as a castle. The driveway is the moat. The garage door is the drawbridge. And most “kings and queens” of their castles come home every night and, when they pull into their garages, close the drawbridge.
Pray for One: the prayer we offer as our eyes open for the morning, before our feet hit the floor, for anyone we might meet that day, desperate to know if God is real. “Father, here I am; send me to show them Your love.”
Pray for One 201: the prayer we offer each day for a family member, friend—or perhaps, our actual neighbor—in need of God’s forgiveness, healing, and freedom.
Let’s pray for opportunities to better know and love our actual neighbors. Let’s pray for a growing friendship with our actual neighbors, that we might invite them to join us on the Journey in Worship (our love for God), in Community (our love for them), and in Service (our love for the world).
Late yesterday afternoon, I pulled in the driveway after a run on the canal path. Ellen was across the street talking to our neighbors. Mike had just finished his run through the neighborhood. I marveled at how much faster he was than I am. But, we lingered in their driveway, deepening a friendship.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbors. Just maybe He also meant our actual neighbors!
Buried in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 12:32), lies an isolated reference to the people of Issachar, “…Who understood the times and understood what Israel should do…”
The Good News is that our Message is timeless. The challenge is that our methods must be updated. Just consider the music industry: from a turntable, to reel to reel, to 8-track cassettes, to CDs, to DVD, and now, online. FM radio stations are going off the air around the country for lack of patrons!
Ministry methods change as well. Doing what we have always done and expecting different results is what many refer to as insanity. One of the most important responsibilities of pastors is to define reality. Our reality reveals a long period of decline. We can no longer assume the adults who grew up here will raise their families here.
Ahhh, but thank God for the people of Issachar in our midst who understand the times and know what God’s people should do! As we seek the Lord and the counsel of the leaders entrusted to us, our goal is to finish 2018 as the third year in the last fifteen years we did not decline. And our prayerful goal for 2019 is to grow by at least 10%.
How? God has given us divine direction for such a time as this. Our Vision is to look, live and love like Jesus. How? Our Mission is to be and make disciples of Jesus that love God and neighbor. How? Our three-fold Strategy is Worship (our love for God), Community (our love for one another), and Service (our love for the world).
10% growth? Surprisingly simple. All it requires is one new family each month! Imagine our Journey Groups (whether a Sunday Class or Small Group) with one new family each month! Imagine our Morning Moms with one new family each month! Imagine our Kids Gym with one new family each month! Imagine our Journey Teens with one new family each month! Imagine our Journey Kids with one new family each month! Imagine our Overflow College Ministry with one new student each month! Imagine our Golden Heirs with one new family each month! Imagine our Choir with one new family each month! Imagine Celebrate Recovery with one new family each month! Imagine our Pray for One 201 with one new family each month!
To grow by 10% next year, we don’t need each of these ministries to add one new family every month (although that might very well be possible); we simply need any one of these groups to add one new family.
And some of this is so easy to do! For example, if you are retired and/or available during the day, you could volunteer in a rotation once a month to help support Kids Gym, meeting community parents and grandparents who bring their children and grandchildren to our facility for a safe and fun play time. Pastor Kayleigh adds a ministry moment each week. How easy and fulfilling would that be?!
Are you in? Will you join Ellen and me, our pastors, our board, our ministry leaders?
Father, blow a fresh wind and fire of Your Holy Spirit in and through us, that our hearts would burn again with a love for just one more!
Pearce Church: who are we and why are we here?
As we read the Bible and listen to the hearts of one another, we believe we are here to accept and share God’s invitation. An invitation to a vision – to look, live, and love like Jesus—with a mission—to be and make disciples of Jesus that love God and neighbor, and a strategy—worship, community, service! (more…)
Irrefutable! Indisputable! Incontrovertible! You get the idea. It’s been tested and retested and then tested more. Here it is: what is the number one reason why people come to church? Over and over and over again, it’s because they were invited by a friend! (more…)
Years ago, I stopped looking for the perfect politician. Yet, I found a few remained worthy of our respect. I respected Senator John McCain. He was never afraid to speak truth to power. And even while tortured for five years as a Prisoner of War in Viet Nam, he found himself considered as the honorary chaplain of his fellow POWs—a role he did not seek out, but a tragic honor they desperately bestowed upon him. A nation will deservedly remember this great patriot and public servant. (more…)
Eleven on the field, desperately in need of rest; thousands in the stands, desperately in need of exercise. Sounds like a football game. Or… maybe a church?
Say what? (more…)
I don’t remember the breakfast. In all honesty, that wasn’t why we were invited. A husband and wife had recently started attending our church. People of faith, but for some reason looking for a new church. They warmed up to us quickly. It must have been Ellen’s hugs. Plates pushed to the center as the story began. (more…)
She quietly walked into church one Sunday morning. She came in late and left early for many weeks, finding a seat in the back corner. Finally, she gained enough trust to introduce herself, but ever so timidly. Months later, she sat on the couch in the living room of our apartment, having asked if she could share her story with both Ellen and me. She tearfully spoke with a soft, broken voice as she sat curled up with pillows protecting her on every side.
With wet tissues clutched in her hand, she told the story of losing her marriage. Her husband was abusive physically, emotionally, and more. And they had two precious little daughters. But they were in church every Sunday—a neighboring church from ours. She volunteered; her husband was a lay leader, even speaking from time to time through the year. Her husband was becoming more and more violent and volatile. She finally went to the pastor of that church and asked for help. She was told by that pastor that her husband was the head of the house, that he (the pastor) could not speak against her husband, and that she needed to go home and submit. Heartbroken at the destruction this abuse was bringing to her soul and the wellbeing of her daughters, she finally reached the depths of desperation and fled. And now she sat in front of us, tearfully telling us her story.
What was she asking? Would we accept her as a friend? Of course, we already had, and her story changed nothing. Then she asked if our church would accept her now, knowing her story of brokenness and that she was divorced and a single mom trying her best to survive. Yes, yes, and yes—we would accept her and love her and be her champion as she found healing for her soul and for her daughters.
This is but one story of countless others where someone has come to me, or to one of our other pastors here at Pearce, asking if it was okay for them to come to church because they had a story of brokenness. It fills me with deep sadness even as I write this that broken and hurting people have been turned aside by the church in their hour of need and that they now come to us in fear and trepidation, asking permission to enter our doors.
Pearce Church family—I/We need your help. We need to show the world that church is not a museum of the saints, but a hospital for the hurting and broken. We need to show the world that God’s House of Prayer is a sanctuary of repentance as we turn from broken paths, as we confess and agree with God and step into the light of His grace, as we find forgiveness and freedom transformed from the inside out, as we journey together and, one day at a time, try to better look, live, and love like Jesus. We need to stop pretending to be perfect and, instead allow ourselves to love and be loved with the vulnerability that brings the depths of His love and grace to and through our homes to the world around us.
Father, open our hearts and our arms and our doors. Open them so wide that our most broken and hurting neighbors will feel welcome in Your presence. We sincerely ask You to trust us with the messy and joyful privilege of ministry to those who are broken and hurting. Amen.