I am getting ready to use the words of Jesus when he was asked where he was staying, “come and see”, in a series of messages for the Haven service on Saturday nights at Kingsley UMC. On Saturday night we do worship differently than most of us are used to. We call it Worship that Rocks! In the 21 months that I have served this church and I have been fascinated to see many people that would never enter a traditional service. It has been growing and we are seeing new people almost every week. Like most services many people are not there every week.
For the first time in my ministry I have gotten a complaint that I never thought I would hear. “Why isn’t the service longer?” is a complaint I hear on a regular basis at this service. And it is already a service that goes over an hour on a regular basis. There are other churches coming and at least three other churches have started services using ideas they have gotten from the Haven.
As I talk to new people each week I always ask how they heard about the Haven. Almost every time they tell me that someone told them they needed to “come and see” what was happening on Saturday nights at the Haven. In one case a young woman that I met on MySpace and invited to join us came one night last fall and brought a friend with her. They started coming on a regular basis and soon her friend was bringing her sister. A couple of weeks ago her friend brought another friend and the sister brought two friends. I went out to dinner with them afterward and her friend’s friend that was there for the first time was telling me she was thinking of a couple of friends that she wanted to invite to “come and see” what we were doing.
We also started doing a Karaoke Night one Friday a month and an Open Mic Night one Friday a month. These nights allow us to reach out and meet people that are not connected to a church. On Monday nights we offer free guitar lessons. On Election Day we open the Haven across the hall from the polls and offer coffee and pastries. Every election it has led to a connection to at least one person that visits us for something at the church. One afternoon I had to leave for a short time and when I got back one of the poll workers that I have gotten to know was giving a voter a tour of the Haven and telling them that they had to “come and see.” We are connecting in ways that are outside the ordinary. It has led to a number of stories in the paper.
As I think about it people were frequently telling others to come and see Jesus. At times they were telling people to come and see what Jesus was doing, healing, teaching or praying. They were excited because of something they had experienced with Jesus. They couldn’t help but want to go and tell others what they had experienced and witnessed. They didn’t have to make anything up.
How many of our churches are doing things that people are telling others “come and see”.
More importantly, what is happening in our churches that people connect with Jesus in such a way that they can’t wait to go and tell others to “come and see” what God is doing in this place? Every day I see God working in the lives of people in amazing ways. We have been attracting people that many other churches have made to feel unwanted and rejected. God is at work in our midst and it is exciting to see.
My prayer is that people will continue to hear what is happening in our midst and they will “come and see” what God is doing. If that is not happening in your church, what would have to change to get people excited enough to want to tell others?