March 07, 2019 Jon Hoover

Connections over Crowds

Connections over Crowds

You have probably already seen that we are having a missions event on Sunday night March 31st at 5:00pm. We hope everyone can make it!

Over the course of the next few weeks I plan to write a few articles explaining the "why" of this time together.

It's no secret to any church these days that church growth just isn't what it used to be. I'm old enough to remember the great baseball movie, Field of Dreams. I loved baseball when I was younger, and this movie was simply fantastic. Everyone remembers the scene where Kevin Costner is walking through the cornfield and a voice whispers, "If you build it, he will come." He then goes on to build a baseball field, and "they" show up.

Well, somewhere in the 1980s and 1990s, churches adopted this same Field of Dreams mindset. Churches built big buildings, family life centers, and sprawling campuses that rivaled a small college campus. There was nothing inherently wrong with this when it happened. That church growth movement had the best of intentions, and I am confident that many people came to the Lord because of those efforts. However, it's now 2019 and people's lives have changed dramatically. Church is no longer the center of the community. This may be a source of great disappointment for you, but it's reality. We must face it.

The church is left with a challenge: do we keep hoping (against hope) that people will just show up all of a sudden and begin caring about church like they did in the golden days of church ministry? Or, is it time we adopt a more missional mindset that builds connections over crowds?

Ministry is often a strange thing because people tend to define ministry success in terms of numbers. Don't get me wrong, numbers are important because numbers represent people. However, I believe our metrics of measuring success need to change. For example, what do you think would be more effective at actually reaching the unchurched: a fall festival that draws a crowd of 500 people, or 50 people building meaningful evangelistic relationships with the unchurched? I hope you see that the latter is the correct answer. We must choose connections over crowds.

(Fall Festivals are fun. I'm not against them. But, events like that should be viewed as "good neighbor" events, not as events that will actually turn the dial of evangelism.)

Here's my point: it is time for our church to work hard at the task of building connections with the unchurched rather than focusing on events that simply draw a crowd.

If you want to draw a crowd and call it a success, then start a program. If you want to see lives changed and people come to know Christ as their savior, then you have to get busy about the personal work of connecting with the unchurched.

That's it for now. Join us on March 31st to hear more about how you can be involved in connecting with the unchurched in Kinston.