Where Are We Now?—Part 11

CGGC Executive Director Lance Finley
CGGC Executive Director Lance Finley

I’ve spent several weeks exploring the idea of where we are right now in the CGGC, particularly as we anticipate looking forward into the future and discerning where the Lord wants us to go and what He wants us to do as His people. Some of what I share will be from a broader view – where the CGGC reflects what’s going on across the larger evangelical church in North America. At other times, the sense will be much more specific to the CGGC and where we find ourselves in this critical moment.

We’ll get right to it this morning. We have not positioned ourselves well to reach people. We believe in the Great Commission. We understand its importance. We talk about reaching people a lot. We’re not positioned well to do so. In most instances, we are not reaching people far from God.

  1. There’s a personal piece of this. I talk with lots and lots of Christians – pastors, leaders, church attenders and self-proclaimed Jesus followers. One of the most frequent statements I hear is this: “I don’t know anyone who’s not a Christian” or “I don’t have any non-Christian friends.” On a personal level, many of us have not positioned ourselves around people who don’t share our faith or convictions. Sometimes it’s a result of intentional efforts to circle the wagons or isolate with those we feel most comfortable around; at other times it’s probably more a result of relational drift. This won’t change quickly, but it must change. This takes time and intentionality for sure. Where do you need to go to be with people who don’t know or follow Jesus and learn to love them and interact with them in helpful and respectful ways?
  2. There’s a geographic piece of this. When you look at the map of where we have congregations in the CGGC, we’re primarily located in rural places. There are still people who need reached on Skunk Hollow Road… probably more people than you realize. We do need to come to grips with the fact that we’ve failed to go to where people are located. This is going to continue to be a challenge that we must face: will we invest and sacrifice in places that aren’t home to us but hold great opportunity for the work of the Gospel because of the people gathered in those places?
  3. There’s a methodology piece to this as well. We are perfectly designed to get the results we’re getting right now. In the best cases, we design services or events to connect with people who might want to explore Christian faith. In the less than best instances, we spend time and resources doing the things that we enjoy and prefer with little thought to reaching beyond ourselves. You can be faithful in keeping the church doors open, holding religious services and attending worship services and completely miss the work of the Gospel that God is calling you to do in your time and place. Where are you putting your time, resources and efforts?

I believe God still wants us to embrace our work of carrying out the Great Commission. I believe our world is desperate for God’s people to do the work He’s called us to do. Are we willing to do what we need to do to be faithful to the call He’s placed upon us?

Christ’s Peace,

CGGC eNews—Vol. 13, No. 17

One thought on “Where Are We Now?—Part 11

  1. Good post Lance.

    It seems hard to imagine that most people wouldn’t have substantial interaction with folks who don’t follow Jesus – neighbors, family, friends, co-workers. That last one – co-workers – is probably an obvious one for the majority of Christians, but much less so for vocational ministers.

    We can more easily withdraw from people who don’t share our faith and often that’s what our congregations want. Take care of us. Visit us. Hang out in the office and get our stuff done.

    Your post here invites us to think differently about this – both in the choices that we make and in the expectations we have for each other.

    A few common sense suggestions that are likely not new to anyone but are things I’ve practiced and would recommend.

    – Do some ‘work’ in public places. Sure, focused prayer is probably better in quiet and you might prefer to do some types of study alone, but many of us can do computer and reading oriented tasks in coffee shops, restaurants, etc. And we should.

    – Go to the same places regularly. We get breakfast at a local diner regularly and have developed relationships with many of the staff and some of the other customers there. We’ve done funerals for servers and their families, been practical and prayer support etc.

    – Go to a gym – preferably one as close to your church as possible. Don’t work out at home. Get to know the staff. Get to know other people who come to work out around the same time you do. So many people have a hard time fitting in the gym before or after their 9-5.

    If you are a pastor and hang out in the office 9-5, why?????
    Go to the gym. Go to a coffee shop. Build relationships – some quite casual, others maybe more deep.

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