March 19, 2015
On Sunday afternoon, March 15 th, Pastor Kevin Harney and his wife Sherry visited Church of the Resurrection and shared with us their heart for evangelism. Here are some of the key points of Pastor Kevin's talk:
Organic Outreach We know that outreach is important, but it can be hard to actually reach out to non-believers. Some churches have a map with push-pins in the places where they support missionaries in prayer and finances. That's wonderful, but it allows us to feel that we are doing something without personally reaching out to non-believers. Other churches might have an Evangelism Committee alongside the other ministry committees (women's ministry, youth group, worship team, ushers, etc.). We distance ourselves because our personalities or talents don't measure up to what we see in the members of the committee, and evangelism is seen as "their thing". Organic Outreach is a way to integrate evangelism into the very "operating system" of the church. The leaders of every ministry in the church is involved in an Outreach Influence Team, and is committed to making evangelism a priority in their own lives, while encouraging the people under them to do the same.
Key Rules Before we start, we have to make sure we are a church to which God wants to send people. If we pray and prepare well, the Lord will bring forth fruit. First, we need to learn to love better. Individually, we should make loving and seeking God a priority. We need to love the Church, and speak well of her and her leaders, or else people won't want to come when we invite them. We also need to love the Lost. Try to picture someone you love that doesn't know Jesus; if you can't think of anyone like that, pray for an opportunity to meet someone and build a relationship with him or her. The next rule is called the One Degree Rule. Think of your evangelism temperature on a scale of 1-10, one being complete indifference and ten being a heart burning for the Lost and seeking opportunities to share the love of Christ. Now, think of what it would take to raise your temperature by one degree. This can be used both as a self-evaluation tool, and as a group inspiration opportunity. The Two Degree Rule is something that applies to the church and individual ministries. Think of a compass, in which the needle indicates the direction that we focus our money, time and energy. Most of the time our compass points due north - at us, churchgoers. But what would it take to vector our compass by two degrees, to make our events and ministries more visitor-friendly?
Next Steps Church of the Resurrection is committed to increasing our evangelism temperature and vectoring our ministries. In order to do that, the Outreach Influence Team, lead by Pastor Matt Woodley, will be meeting regularly to keep each other accountable and facilitate the vision trickling down to ministry leaders, Team members, Resurrection attendees, and the community. We will also be holding training events for everyone on how to share the Gospel. It will take a lot of time an effort for outreach to truly become organic, but please pray that the Lord would use us even as we learn together.
More Resources Kevin Harney has written several books (including "Organic Outreach for Ordinary People", "…for Churches", and "…for Families"), and training materials that are available for free on his website: http://www.kevingharney.com. If you have any questions about what this means for you, how you can get more involved, or why we care so much, please feel free to contact Pastor Matt Woodley at email@example.com.
March 17, 2015
"Time outside of time" is a phrase we at Rez have associated with Holy Week over the years. This became truth for me during the Good Friday singing of the Misere by Gregorio Allegri. Walking out the Stations of the Cross is a holy devotion in any setting, be it on the cobblestone pavement of the Via Dolarosa in Jerusalem or within the concrete block walls of the old Ministry Center on College Avenue.
In 2014, we shaded our eyes from the sun as we stood before each rough hewn cross, revisiting the agony of Jesus. Children listened from strollers and perched upon daddy's shoulders as we processed around the new building. It was a simple exercise. Unexpectedly we came back inside the building for the last station and clustered in the Narthex. The solemn, black shirted choir ascended the great staircase, and time and place departed. As they sang the opening measures of Allegri's setting of Psalm 51, we joined hands with the saints of ages who have stood throughout the world united by the groan of sin:
"For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise."
As I clenched my eyes shut, I was worshipping with the Benedictine monks on top of San Miniato al Monte who sing the Latin vespers each night, with Mozart who first heard this sung in the Sistine Chapel, with the Orthodox who visit Saint Basil's Basilica in Moscow. How vast is the family of God. As a thank you to Steve Williamson and his choir, I offer this poem.
Sunsets blue on San Miniato al Monte,
keeping time with Vesper monks,
chanting Latin in dusty robes as
yellow warmth stripes the ancient floor.
with incense, harmonies unseen.
Sunlight bridges an ocean of years,
antiphonal groanings now in street clothes.
Scuffed shoes ascend, descend
modernist steps and answer
the hunger of hearts for echo,
of cries unceasing,
Linking us with the holy,
with the solely, devoted
of His choir.
Click here to listen to the Resurrection Chancel Choir singing the Allegri Misere.