God’s Brilliant Strategy to Reach Your City

Posted on October 16, 2018 by Justin Serrano

Many churches face the challenge of church growth with the so-called strategy, “If you build it, they will come.” In turn, fundraising campaigns ensue to build huge churches to entice people to come see the “temple” they built. While that may work in the business world, that isn’t the same strategy that God calls the church to follow. In fact, throughout the New Testament we’re often told to “go.” To illustrate this concept, John Piper said in his article Teach Them to Go, “The New Testament, does not present a come-see religion, but a go-tell religion.”

As a member of Harvest, this is one of the many things I appreciate about our church. Time and time again, Pastor Jason and Lisa have made it clear that we are going to love our city—regardless of the cost. And they have done a good job cultivating a culture where people are more important than programs, money and buildings. To love our city, however, we can’t sit comfortably in our church building hoping people will hear the good news. We have to infiltrate our city by being a neighbor, a coworker, a classmate and a friend to the people that God has placed around us.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. — Jesus, Matthew 22:37-40

In a recent article on Christianity Today, Karl Vaters explains, “I don’t want to hear about churches filling up as a sign of revival, renewal or spiritual awakening any more! I want to hear about churches emptying out. Going into their community to minister, to serve and to share the good news. That’s a greater sign of effective ministry than an increase in church attendance will ever be.” I couldn’t agree more with his sentiment, but we must go outside our comfort zone to do this. If we are not actively looking for someone to love, we may not see them. Or worse, we may not see them because we don’t want to.

Sometimes we have to think outside the box for creative ways to love our neighbor, but people who need Jesus are all around us. So what are some practical ways we can do this?

  1. First of all, pray. As Pastor Jason said, “Pray for the person you want to invite. Invite them. And pray some more.” Our job is to plant the seed and water, but it’s God’s job to make it grow (I Corinthians 3:6).
  2. Keep an active eye out for ways you can meet practical needs of those around you. Did a new neighbor move in next-door? Welcome them with a gift. Does a single parent live down the street? Make them a meal so they can have a break. Take someone to coffee or invite them over for dinner. Pay attention to the details of people’s lives and the ideas will start to pour in.
  3. Love people where they are. Build a relationship with people and invest in their lives because you genuinely love them as God commands us (Matthew 22:39), not because you have an agenda.
  4. Make them feel welcome. Don’t merely extend an invitation, make people feel welcome, wanted and accepted.
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  6. Keep praying. Only God can do the miraculous work of transformation.

As Chris Sonksen said, “God has a brilliant strategy to reach your city, and you are it. The strategy isn’t a program or a church building, and it sure isn’t your pastor’s sole responsibility. Jesus cares about the people in your circle of influence, and he is looking for you to reach them. His brilliant strategy is a partnership with you and me.”

 

 

Love each other. Love your church. Love your city.
Harvest, Go be the Church!

 

If you have any ideas for a good blog post consisting of stories within our church family, we would love to hear from you. Send your idea, along with your contact info to: [email protected]