At our denomination’s annual conference this year there was a lot of talk about evangelism. Not surprising, as that is primary the mission of the church. I was struck by the many creative ways that different congregations were going about that mission. For example:
- We have a church plant in Hawaii that meets in a park by the ocean, and partners with a surf shop to offer free surfing lessons.
- One pastor regularly breakfasts at the local diner, she he can meet and get to know folks in the neighborhood.
- Another church, during the winter months, floods an area nearby to create a skating rink for the community. They also visit the local laundromat and offer to pay for people to do their laundry.
- A Chinese American pastor has started a ministry to visiting Asian students and faculty at the local college.
- One of our pastors has written a book about his experience doing prison ministry.
It strikes me that there is one thing that all these strategies have in common –they all involve building relationships. That’s how the church grows, and no amount of advertising will replace it. If we want others to catch the vision of the Christian life, we must be willing to go out and meet them where they are. We must be in relationship with them. We must care about them.
Lutheran Via de Cristo puts it this way: Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. So, who is the person in your life that you can befriend? (I am asking myself as well).
For more about relationships see: