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A Compelling Community

I enjoy a good movie. But what draws me in to watch it? A part of it has to do with the trailer - the short two minute clip that portrays what the movie is about. Here is where I can usually get a decent idea of whether this movie is a thumbs up or thumbs down. But what draws people into a church?

Is it the music? The preaching of the Word? The people? We have to ask, what will draw people from our neighborhood into our church?

We want to be a compelling or attractive community and not for our sake, but to make Jesus famous. I am not speaking here about outward appearance but rather the heart. So, not only should our music and preaching be centered on the Word of God but also how we live our lives. Now what does this look like? Here are several ways:

  1. Warm. I don’t mean the temperature of the building (although that is important). As a community of believers we need to reflect the Jesus that we proclaim. As you interact with your neighbors they should sense that you care about them and want to talk with them.
  2. Loving. Do you love the people around you? If you’re like me, you have trouble doing that. Ask God for forgiveness for not loving people as you have been loved, and ask Him for help. One way you can show love to your neighbor is having them over for a meal.
  3. Joyful. Are you known for your joy or for being one who grumbles and complains? How would your co-workers describe you? Maybe you need to pray for joy in the workplace. One thing you can do is sing praises on your way to work and while you are at work to remind you of God’s amazing work! (and read the Psalms!)

Let’s remember that as we devote ourselves to living for Jesus, God’s Spirit is the one who compels people to Christ. It takes time. That doesn’t mean we sit on the couch. We still want to be compelling in our love for people.

But along with being a compelling community, we will also be controversial…

Posted by Dwayne Sommersell with

A Second Slice of Mission “Pie"

If we likened ASCC’s mission to a delicious pie, one fat slice of that is seeing people come to saving faith and being baptized. We want to grow our church not merely by transfer growth but more ideally through conversion growth. Picture how “DELICIOUS” it would be…

How thrilling it would be if young college graduates who follow Jesus take their first jobs in Chicago, move in to our parish neighborhood and join our church on its mission. Or, how amazing would it be if just a fraction of the young singles moving to Chicago’s north side for the vibrant night life come to know the Light of the world through ASCC!

Wouldn’t it be great to see generations of biological families gathering and scattering from here weekly as part of the bigger spiritual family of ASCC! As couples choose these “safe”  neighborhoods for the schools, they raise their children in this church. How great not only to see those kids becoming Christians but then have some of them as adults deliberately returning to ASCC to be on mission with us. This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dream. It’ll take diligent prayer and patience—at least a generation and not just one sole leader doing all the work. In fact, it’s supernatural in so many ways; larger than me and you. It won’t happen without the Holy Spirit engineering it. “With God all things are possible.”

Wouldn’t it be lovely if single believers found joyful acceptance among the families? We don’t merely want to be a church of one race, one social or economic class. As this happens, we’ll know that by God’s grace we are accomplishing our mission.

Not long ago, Dwayne Sommersell asked God for something bold during one of our worship services. Do you remember? He prayed that 2 families from our parish neighborhood would come to saving faith, be baptized and become members of ASCC in the next year. That’s what I call a B-HAP: BIG, hairy, audacious prayer— the kind that God enjoys answering. You might be tempted to think: “Sheesh! We haven’t seen that before.” No worries! Let’s not look back, and let’s pray confidently for this and see how the Lord acts!

Posted by Will Pareja with

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