There is enough introvert in me that I generally genuinely enjoy time alone. While others might consider running alone an exercise in isolation and drudgery, I appreciate the time and space that solo runs, hikes and drives allow for prayer, contemplation and rejuvenation. That said, there is something wonderfully special about sharing those adventures with others. There are opportunities for companionship, collaboration, encouragement and mutual enjoyment that only open up when we include others in what we’re doing.
The same can be said for our involvement at church. Some people might have an essentially “solo” experience even amid the bustle of a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. They might participate because they find value in it for themselves or for their family. But perhaps they don’t take the time to really get to know other people, and they don’t often consider whom they might bring with them to share in the journey.
As I’ve made the transition from interim senior pastor to the long-term call at Redeemer, several folks have asked me what we can do to move our congregation toward what might be considered a more robust size. While the Leadership Team and our staff are beginning to work on longer-term vision and goals, as well as on marketing and outreach ideas, in many ways I think that a big part of the answer lies with individual members and friends of Redeemer deciding whom they might invite to come get to know our people and our ministries.
A question I’ve been asking of members and friends here is, “Why would you be excited to invite someone to come check out Redeemer, and whom can you think of that you might extend an invitation to?” The question can be helpful in determining why each of us values Redeemer, and what value we think that time spent with us might provide to family members, friends and associates. It can also help us get a sense of whether or not we’re mixing with people who might be looking for a church or at least open to the possibility. One thing we’re not terribly interested in is “stealing” folks from other congregations: we’re looking for the unaffiliated, not the disgruntled.
In the next few months here at Redeemer, I plan to do a lot of listening. I want to listen to staff and ministry teams, to get a sense of the opportunities and obstacles they’re dealing with. I intend to join with the rest of the Leadership Team in listening together for God’s guidance and direction as we work to develop long-term vision and some significant shorter-term goals. I also desire to hear from individual members and friends about what excites them about Redeemer’s ministry at this point in our history, what opportunities and challenges they see on the near and far horizons, whom they’re thinking about inviting to join us here, and what might make it especially motivating and inspiring for them to reach out and ask others to join us in the journey.
Jesus was once asked by curious onlookers where he was heading. “Come and see” was his simple, intriguing reply (see John 1:39). When a Samaritan woman went to draw water in the heat of the day and ended up encountering a man who knew all about her and her needs, “come and see” was the invitation she shared with her neighbors (see John 4:29). As we transition at Redeemer into our school-year schedule and as many of our ministries reactivate or expand, please be praying about the “come and see” invitations you’ll have the opportunity to share. The Savior we point to and gather around calls us to more than a solo journey, and that journey is so much richer when it is shared with others.