Ok, so I have occasionally done sermon series in the past. Usually based on the Lectionary texts, tied to a season (which is actually easier than many folks think it is). But I have never done a blogging series, until now! Today I begin something new, focused on an issue that has been brought up again and again in conversations I have had lately.
So what is that issue, the dread word is...EVANGELISM!
Despite the fact that we are people of the Gospel (literally εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion) or "Good News!") so often we recoil from the prospect of actually sharing this good news with others. Additionally, it has been brought to my attention that some even contend that the goal of a congregation to increase the size of a church, or "church growth", might not be the most noble of goals.
This is very strange to me in that I believe Christ was quite clear in Acts 1 that he desired us to take the Gospel to the nations and that we were expected to both face challenge and be successful in inviting others to know the wonder of a relationship with God. So why is it so hard for us to engage in honest and hopeful Evangelism (as opposed to the Evangelism of fear that so many propagate)? Why has church growth become a dirty word in our circles? Can't we grow our communities, care for the poor and aged, help nurture new disciples, baptize the young and old, bury the dead and in all of this be evangelical?
So what do we make of this. In the next 5-6 weeks I want to take on a series of topics related to evangelism that I hope might spark conversation at Trinity as well as in other places. These topics (I will mostly cover one a week, but perhaps depending on the spirit, add new ones or subtract others) are...
1) What is Evangelism? (in 750 words or less, I am challenging myself)
2) Do signs, advertising, mailers actually work in generating visitors?
3) Who is visiting your church?
4) Why would any of those folks join a church today?
5) Why would they join your church?
6) Why does this matter at all?
So we shall see where we go in this series. But if nothing else, it keeps me accountable to actually blogging. BTW: check out our church website at www.tlcfw.org (of course nothing I say here represents what they think, after all, I just preach there, they think for themselves) because if you do it will drive up our traffic and that makes Google happy and Taylor happy. So visit the site at least twice a day ok! See you next week (I will be blogging from Wisconsin!)