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Ignite Your Church - Part 15: Missing Member Ministry

Mark Howard

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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

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Conference

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  • January 31, 2020
    8:52 AM
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Father in heaven we are so thankful to be here at Michigan can't meaning we thank you for all the wonderful things that are happening here and the work the outpouring of your spirit in so many different ways while there we know that the coming of Jesus is at hand there are people that are on our church books Lord who can yet be reclaimed for your kingdom I pray that you would give us wisdom as we discuss how we may be able to accomplish this afternoon and I ask in previous in Jesus name for his. All right now I've got I need a couple volunteers to pass out some stuff I want to pass out to pass out some stuff I will say while they're passing that out I mentioned this earlier this week and as Pastor Cameron and I have been working throughout the Michigan conference and I know that it's not much different other places in the ne d. at any rate are attending membership and when I say attending I'm talking about your apex of Sabbath membership we've talked about this like 1135 is usually at best half of the book membership in many places which means there are a whole lot of members who never come that are on the church books now and Cedar Lake when I was pastor in there we had 485 give or take the number fluctuates of church members. We had about $120.00 regularly on Sabbath now were packed the place out with $500.00 plus people on an academy weekend but I'm talking about how many of the people on our books are there in church. So you can do the math and figure how many that leaves that are not coming and I'm going to tell you this up front if we stay in that scenario and in fact in many of our churches I think we've touched on this a little bit we get skittish about dealing with our church books we have adopted a Catholic mentality like for some reason if the names on the books they're going to be saved and if we take them off they're going to be lost that's not how it works folks who are not looking at the books when it comes that oh you know why you haven't been praying or talking to me we have no relationship but I do see your names here on this legend says that when they have an attorney come on it's not working that way and we're doing a disservice when we're when we're just leaving somebody who's names on the books for several different reasons I'm not going into that right now but because of that your church books it's not unlikely that you may have somebody who hasn't attended your church in 30 years and they're still on the books or dead I had when I mean it came in a Cedar Lake we had at least 5 deceased people that were on the church books and they had been deceased for some time and just a little no no for our stewardship Department there are 7 Day Adventists who give money to the Cause of God and when they die that money goes to whatever work they pledged it to but if your church doesn't deal with that it doesn't report it to the conference they don't know about it and they could have had $100000.00 that could have gone into the work of reaching the preaching the gospel and spreading the gospel doesn't go anywhere because the church didn't report it so just keep all that good stuff in mind important to keep up on the church books I mean Cameron We didn't even do anything on that we probably should have done a whole. Have to do that next time so there are a lot of and in so I'm going to tell you there are some people who haven't attended in 30 years you're not going to get everybody back who is a missing member but you can get some bad and that's what we want to talk about here this afternoon notice the 1st part of the top of the page a vital work. Of all the people we are indebted to and ever responsibility for to 70 evidence members who are no longer attending church services Paul Kelso the church in Galatians in school ation 6 verse 10 therefore as we have opportunity let us do good to all especially who. To those who are of the household of faith what does that mean is that talking about let's talk about fellow church members you know sometimes who the people are that were the meanest to. Fellow church members so we have a responsibility to those members that are on our books that for some whatever reason the devil has been able to draw them out of the church noticed this encouraging statement though from evangelism 693 it says when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us the true sheep will hear the true shepherds voice self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the last and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the Great Shepherd let me pause there and let's be very clear on something she's just said that efforts will be put forth to save who and then Who's she talking about missing members just because their names on the books doesn't mean they're not the laws and I think if we would really let that sink in it would motivate us more in our labor for those missing members but those who stray from the fall the says many of them will come back to follow the great shepherd the people of God will draw together and present to the enemy United Front is not awesome promise so let's go into Number 2 there let's talk about why members leave and what you'll find interesting here is that these are the top reasons in and I don't know I don't have the statistics in front of me but I can tell you this that the top few reasons in these top reasons that people leave doctrine is not one of them. I def not saying people don't leave the evidence over doctrinal issues doesn't mean that but you would think sometimes all they musta left because somebody got a hold of them and told him l. was a false prophet or they don't believe in the Sabbath anymore they don't know it and I've think I've told you here I know I've mentioned it this week evidence can be very funny you just don't forget the Sabbath and we told you I don't know is it here or there where Cameron and I were up doing a training weekend at Camp was solved when we had a young guy there who found a great controversy in prison and read it and was converted and when he read it he had already been acquainted with the Sabbath as he learned about the Sabbath from the lady who sold him a pot. Because she wouldn't sell it to him on the Sabbath. Because that would be separating So there are you know admin is do you don't lose the Sabbath very easily once you've been convicted of it the reason that most people leave the church is not because they had a doctrinal issue which means that when you're trying to follow up on them and win them back you don't have to worry about all the clever ducking. Doctrinal arguments that you have to have to share with them they already know that and usually that's not an issue or at least the issue top reasons 1st reason is divorce you can only imagine or maybe you know you've been in that situation you're going to the same church and then your husband why the husband wife gets divorced who's going to keep going to the church and be awkward for both of you to go and I know families that have done that but it's just you know Ok Well you'll go to this church and then Oh you. Did the whole trauma of the situation do you want to even start going back to church right away you might just pull back from things and. If you decided that for example if your wife you knew divorce and your husband you say well you go ahead and go to this church and the kids and we want that to you they're used to that well now you've got to find a new church and you don't know the people there and all of that can hinder your desire to even continue you know the whole scenario so that's the main reason why people may stop coming course if it's not a Biblical divorce that's another issue if there was adultery involved or something you know there have been people who have technically they should be removed membership but that doesn't always happen and but there's all kinds of dynamics in this situation that may leave a person in the church books and they stop coming and then years and years can go by. Another reason conflict with the pastor or church members this is a very in my ministry this is one of the most common reasons somebody had a falling out with somebody and I hate to say it but it's true that half the time they leave the church the other half the time they start another church I know in a lot of amateurs I love to say they started the church because it was a church plan they want to know when souls you know I don't get along with them and I don't either Let's go started church and you can't really expect a lot of positive growth out of starting because you had some axe to grind but a lot of times people will come leave a church because of a conflict and I want to make this clear sometimes that conflict is legitimate somebody treated them wrong it could have been the pastor could have been the elder couldn't somebody else who treated them wrong but other times it may be that they're in the wrong and other times maybe both are a little bit in the wrong and because you don't know that that's going to be a something we're going to talk about as we go on here when you go and follow up with that it could turn into a very sticky situation just be aware that that is one of the main reasons that people stop coming to church. And when I say leave they're not leaving the church because they're still in church books so I say leave that to stop attended. The next reason failure to live up to Bible standards person falls back into an old habit now you know they're afraid either somebody is going to find out about it or somebody did find out about it and then they feel like they're they're being judged and you know this is something I hear a lot today too and I just I want to throw the caviar out I've had people say I just don't go to church because I just feel so judged and I don't know if you've heard that before and we tend to I wish I had time to go we ought to do a seminar on on what Ellen might call false sympathy and false sympathisers. You know I heard this person was treated such and such so must be so well maybe maybe not I want you to understand something I think we've all probably felt judged at some point and I think some of those times we were judged but be clear the Bible teaches that the wicked man flees when no man pursues. The wicked man please when no man pursues why you fling why you're running nobody's chasing you because you feel chased Well you know why because the Spirit of God is chasing you and so sometimes we feel judged because we are doing something wrong in the Spirit of God is bringing conviction and sometimes so you can imagine when a person a person may leave the church and they may feel that the church is judgment old and maybe the church is or maybe somebody is or maybe nobody is but that when you're in that pass way when you're going in doing what you know in your conscience tells you you shouldn't be doing you don't want to be around those spiritual people because you're just going to feel all the more like I'm not supposed to be doing this and of course you add to that if you have fallen into a habit that you just it seems to have the better of you in now you are discouraged you can't feel like you can kick it in you're just like I must not be and I hear this from people I must not be cut out to be a Christian. I must not be I can't tell you how many people members have visit with my pastor why is it so easy for everybody else in the church. I assure them it's not it's not you're not alone and sometimes in these visits maybe you're the one that needs to be able to share that with somebody you know they don't use it make the announcement they just stop coming to church and in the tragedy is this for so many people they stop coming and we never know as a pastor I can't tell I don't know there's a district where this hasn't happened I don't know Jim of you'd share the same thing but where I've gone into the church we start to review the membership list I've got members same past you needed this person and this person sometimes sometimes it happens with individuals you get where I'm going you get this big long list of people you begin asking your leaders your elders or the church where is this person you know where the no I don't I don't even know who that one is and a lot of them are like you know oh that I know that when you want to go visit a pastor they haven't been here in I don't know how long and I'm thinking don't you just thinking sometimes I just tell them you understand that I have no clue who this person is I've never met this person you used to worship with them every week and you've never thought to go and visit now some some times now that there are some situations where for example if a person stopped coming to church because of a conflict and you were involved in it I would recommend you be the one to visit and we'll talk about that as we go but sometimes it's just hey they were coming and they stopped coming and when do they stop coming I don't know oh I remember that person they were thought like how does that happen that a person stops coming and they're gone for a month 2 months 6 months and nobody ever thinks to go and say I and I we've missed you. And sometimes what people will do is they'll just kind of camp it out wait it out wait for somebody to visit and I've had and you'll have this if you go and visit we're going to talk about very specific ways how you can do this and you go and visit those individuals they'll say well it's about time somebody from the church came to see me I've been waiting for 10 years I mean they were you know that's kind of thing happens so sometimes it's the failing to live up to Bible standards and they get off into habits or whatever they either feel judged or they themselves they just feel like they're not good enough to be a church member and so that's another main reason that people stop coming they kind of give up on things and they need encouragement. Lack of assimilation or discipleship Pastor Jim talked about this I don't know who said he was yesterday I think and I wish at the risk of being misunderstood he already did it so I can do it again we talk a lot about loving people into the church and it's important to be loving to people but I know people who are in the avenues to reach because of fellowship not because of truth they have good friends that treated them nice and all that but but when it comes to agonise beliefs they wouldn't even know where to begin to stand and so what happens is if they move to a new location that isn't the same friends in that church they're not sticking around that happens a lot to verses verses if you are in the evidence church because of the truth then you will endure a number of interesting experiences and you will endure them because this still is God's Church. Oh more could be said about that but yet I saw did I see. Oh where yes. I am and. Yes. I need. Help. Well I don't. Understand yet if you are not yes. I know. Well that's a good question. Larry and I can say in Michigan a couple of the things that I'm aware of in our health and temperance department they've developed some helpful tools are living free seminar addresses addictions. And Evelyn Vicki Griffin our health and to Mr Rector an associate of an Evelyn Kissinger have developed a new stop smoking program which I'm really excited about because. How many of you have ever seen and having a like 5 day planner was a 5 day and it was the what we call it grief free plan and but they were like the materials you know the people in leisure suits I mean from the seventy's it's just it's like I just had fallen so I think in some ways it fell out of vogue because we adopted this mindset that like well we don't want to be so in fact I hate to say it but I know agonist ministers who baptized people smoking it shouldn't happen but they do it is like so because inst then how what are you going to do to help them well we don't want to bring that up and it's Ok when we could have been we used to help them get past those things now it's just like well we'll just kind of pretend we don't see it or smell it or whatever else and so I think at least like I said this program I'll see what I can do about the link to it we do have it in our resources page on our site we have a link to the living. Yeah the lifestyle matters is their site and they but that's a free that stop smoking thing is free for you to use and as it's updated it looks nice so. And I know that in Lansing they just did a training on how to do that program and we would like to see more of those happen here in Michigan and I don't know what's available everywhere I hate to tell people they have to come to Michigan to get good stuff but you know we're trying to get out there the best we can the quickest you know discipleship hamburgers now in g.c. resource but but we do need more of those things for sure people really we don't need to tell them they're Ok in their sin and we need to help them out of the hole and that's an excellent point so we do have some materials and. I'm not aware of everything out there lack of assimilation in discipleship the point there is simply that when a person you want to make sure that when a person is baptized are not done yet that's why we put the gathered the cycles of Handbook and I want to emphasize even though I did the other day for those who weren't here the handbook is only a hint you know him because something that's there for a person to use is not it doesn't work by itself it's a tool and so the discipleship handbook is written for a person who will act as a mentor to a new member it is not the mentor the mentors the person and so you don't give them a book and say Here read it. It's an outline very well detailed discipleship plan but when people come in the church they need to be mentors and guided and they need to be taught more and they need to be connected with people in the church and they need to be taught how certain things work in the church and they need to be introduced other families in the church and the all of those things are outlined in the hymn book now you may use something else besides upset him book with the point is that people need to be assimilated in and a lot of times the reason that they left is they just they came in and they didn't know a lot in fact I've had a lot of situations more than I care to mention where people say yeah I was baptized nobody told me I was get baptized they haven't heard it in a meeting somebody wanted big numbers and they said yeah we're going to baptize Ok And by the way all we just wrote you know they haven't heard what I kind of like to have a no at up front but some people don't and so there's anyway that's another reason that people can we know personal experience with Jesus you can go through a series you can get in from information in your head we talk about this when it comes to giving Bible studies you want people to make practical decisions on what they're learning you can't just have this Ok you know well I assent to that you want they want to be practicing the truth and so there are some people that don't have that they they've not connected with Christ and kind of an obvious reason why it wouldn't keep them in the church and they'll fall away for that reason and then personal tragedies similar divorces a personal tragedy these are other tragedies a person can lose their child a person can have a family illness or something and. It doesn't you don't need any of that Folks if you've ever been in the habit of going to church and something changed when my wife and I moved here to Cedar Lake I mean we were in transition I've never missed a I probably missed 2 prayer meetings in my entire life and then I missed several months of prayer meeting. And I'm going to tell you that when you start missing things you just you forget even what day they're all and it's not in your schedule if a person has a tragedy and understandably pulls back it's kind of hard to sometimes get back in especially if in the tragedy nobody reached out so anyway these are the top they're not all the reasons but these are the top reasons members leave and again notice doctrine is not in there not that that isn't the reason some some stop coming but you can see that to bring them back doesn't involve intensive Bible studies which is why this is such a fruitful field for ministry so key is to successful visitation I'm going to give you one idea here and I'm going to talk about things to do in a visit but this is something I've done now in 2 of my churches and you may have done something similar or whatever but this is just to give you an idea I'm not giving you a prescription but I am giving you an idea of something we've done that I thought worked very well 1st thing I want to say is I've been in evangelism training now for pretty much since I've been in ministry and when you try to get the Saints to go out on outreach like door to door in literature distribution or door to door is the hardest literature distribution is a little better but not a lot better I preach sermons I've got the whole congregation going to how many of you I know we're all raising their hands we're going to meet together this afternoon for outreach and about 5 percent come out of all those people that were there and it just happened but when we did what I'm about to tell you I got more involvement I've ever seen in a church I think there are several reasons all explain so I think that this missing member ministry besides being a fruitful ministry and something that's important is a great way to start getting the people the church involved in doing something for somebody besides themselves so here's what we did we had and somebody suggested the idea to me of what they call the cookie exchange I have to be careful every time I tell my wife that she says Well now that's not a cookie exchange technically and she gets into the Ok so technically I don't know what but this is what we did. We invited the church members to an organized to have them bake their signature cookies and then we made sure it wasn't all like it was all chocolate chip it was everybody had some different thing and so of course you have people in the church who are bakers and they're all about that other people who would never even think to do that but right there you have some participation so here's a row you do we want you to make the cookies and we have somebody organized to make sure we had so many I don't know what the number was we obviously had to start with our list of missing members how many people are we going to try to visit how many cookies that equates to Ok somebody's got the all the. Paper plates and what we did is we use these we just got paper plates with a pretty design case so I'm saying that it's not expensive but it looks nice paper plate we put. We didn't assembly line thing we did a Saturday afternoon after church we got together the cookies were all baked and all that was done with Pad assembly line we had our students elementary students and some older but you see you know they get older they're not as interested like the little ones in glitter who got it oh man we had a little design of what we wanted a little. Bookmark or some kind of we missed you cause card they made cards and they had the glitter glue and the gel stuff and all the fun stuff and so the kids would make the cards we had some that the elementary school made during the week and they would just package things together I think it was 2 different occasions I'm I'm blending so we have the kids making stuff we have the the plates and we had some nice cellophane so it looked a little decorative with a ribbon and put the cookies on the plate so we have an assembly line and arrange so many cookies on the plate of different varieties that the cellophane on there put a nice little ribbon put the lice little little card on there that we miss you card with ever whatever greeting and then underneath the plate so I didn't get all greased up by the cookies and stuff we had a sharing book like the sharing book of the year and maybe a Bible study offer invitation. Ok and we had everybody work to make those things up and then that afternoon we had somebody had made up maps and assigned visits and we had everybody that wasn't everybody some people still wouldn't go out on the visits but to get as many people as we could and you know they go out in teams and you're driving out it's not going like not walking down the street because you're going to visit members and so we you know given their sign that they got in the car and they take their kids or somebody else's kids I'm just telling you we have more people involved in this than we've had in some and they went out and they made you know everybody made a few a handful of visits and you know that took some coordination to get them you know so you're not zipping here and depends on your church if you work if you go you know some churches have your members are spread all over the place and you'd be if you don't map it right you know you're 2 hours trying to make 2 visits or something so we try to group them and the members just went out and took those plates and the essence of what they did is hey we're from the Cedar Lake 7th Avenue Church and we've missed you a lot of the members didn't know who they were visiting they'd never met him before we wanted to bring you this gift we've missed you church and we just want invite you back basically that and I'll get a little more detail but it's not we're not talking about some invasive this it here we're talking about something that in evangelism we often call it a pop this is a let me make this clear when I do missing member visits when I work with my church as a missing member visits I'm not we're not calling ahead some members a call we should call ahead and arrange it you're going to get very few that are going to say yes to that especially if they're missing members if they stop coming because some other reason you're going to call up in they're going to like No thanks I'm I still in your books it's just like the Bible study offer things we talked about the other day well why don't you guys put the offer that we're going to come to your house because then they wouldn't sign up and I want to lease one opportunity with them face to face. And so it is with the missing members and I'm going to go and I'm telling you we didn't have anybody get mad about this I've done it now in 2 churches twice in one church wants another church and nobody ever got a room with it no one person said all right how dare you come by here and I mean we even have people say well you know you probably should be on your church books but even then they were nice about it I mean what are you going to do somebody bring in a cookie. I don't know if you don't want to have s.e.p. people say well what cookies you know well you know we don't want to misrepresent and you know they know look they know what we're about but anyway you want to do zucchini bread go ahead banana bread whole wheat bread you know gift you're taking a gift so you can modify this but we went out and took these cookies and very short visit and we had people come back to church the next Sabbath because somebody went by and visited. If they're not home you know you don't want to leave the cookies because you can't leave stuff in the mailbox or whatever else if they're not home we missed them and that made for the next 2 things it made for the next cookie exchange and some members had more cookies to take home with them. One thing I tell you I can tell you I appreciated working as an academy pastor I don't want that stuff in my house you know how long it takes my wife and I to know I have a teenage daughter but she's always over the Academy you know how long it takes us to eat. That many cookies I can I can tell you but I don't want to eat them so we just send them over the girls door right with my daughter. Go on yes. Yes. But what you're asking about see if I am let's see if we did this thing and we went out and we found I found somebody home and I made that that made my 1st connected visit Ok my intention we're going to get to that my intention listen the you know it's a mistake if you're just going to make one visit now it's done like this is the one time thing this is an initial contact to get them back and so you want to have follow through so this is what we did as we planned these these cookie exchange visits Now here's some things that you want to know when you go and visit my plan on the visit is I'm not calling ahead and if I'm not calling ahead I'm not playing and coming up and coming in and taking up their time if they invite me in and I'm glad to go in Ok but my idea is it's pop visit I'm going to go there I'm going to me I'm at Portsmouth to give them the gift I'm going to invite him back I may have a little chat there and they may say well why don't you come in and whatever and then you have a little more dialogue when you do that some things to keep in mind and I think this is key before you do this cookie exchange plan a Sabbath before or we're pair meeting or something where it's like tonight we're going to pray about this upcoming weekend we're going out to visit our missing members and we just want to really I mean besides your personal person everything get a collective the church comes together and prays about look we're going to or you need to soften these people's hearts and preparing for the visit and help us to know what to say and just be that thing in prayer as you're going as you're getting ready to go out that's a 1st step organize a prayer effort beforehand Number 2 remember your initial goal is to get acquainted and invite them back you're not going to lecture them to tell them really you're not on the best path right now or any of that's not this is just we're going to show up and tell him we miss him. You're inviting him back you'll see under there a sample question in the care horse of that briefs visit conversation is hey have you ever thought about coming back to church like we've missed you we wanted to bring this Gift I have ever thought about coming back hey it's not an invasive question it's not you're not going to get mad at you for asking that question and it will really touch a lot of people and it may open up an opportunity let me say this if a person hasn't been to the church in a while especially if there's a conflict issue then a lot of the time they need to vent and you might be the 1st opportunity in 10 years be aware that it's not and they're not in their name I've had people in there just all they start out really manky and it just takes them a little bit and then they're nice and then the like I'm sorry I just you know whatever but be prepared for it and know that it's not you they haven't had anybody visit they've had this thing that been carrying this thing I'm not saying that happens every visit I'm saying you've got to be aware that that could happen on a visit and so. You're wanting to let them know you want to come back you want them back to the church and then that may open up with you especially if you ask the question Have you ever thought about coming back well you know what let me tell you something how much time here when you come on in I mean you know it's going to be different stuff like that but that may be the opportunity and they need that opportunity and let me tell you right now if it takes somebody bawling me out or whatever else to get them back to church that's a small price to pay but we're paid a lot greater price than that. For my soul let alone everyone else. Go to the top of the next page this one is very key in these situations especially show sympathy not sides when you're talking to somebody and they're not going to church because something happened they've got a version of that story their version may be accurate it may be inaccurate it may be a little bit of both and so they may say The Here's why I'm not going in that church because that Elder Dave the way he did to me Elder Dave may not even be at the church Dave may have passed away 4 years ago gave me a move to Florida whenever you understand I'm saying Henri may still be there and he may not have done half the things that this person says but they're going to say with that and they may tell us there's some stories and they made like I said they may be true but here's the thing you don't know in most cases you don't know when you weren't there well in any case because if you do know and then that cookie exchange you get that name you make clear I don't think I'm the one to go on this visit you need to do you don't want to be the one to go if you are in the midst of some controversy let somebody else go on that so you're not going to know the situation and because you don't the worst thing you could do is take sides you know what Dave should have never done that well you know what you don't know that other day Dave did do that just cause that person says. Or in an almost worse thing is to say oh today would never do it that you're there and takes you don't want to take sides so it was over Don Grace passed away but also Don Gray had done a lot with missing member ministry but the he had 2 responses that were a simpler thought it was a pseudo sympathising neutral response and they're listed here the one was I'm sorry your that when you think about it's a beautiful response they're telling you the story you sound sorry to hear that you know what's beautiful about it I did not take anybody's side. And I was able to show you that I sympathize with you but I can't take sides in the situation and sometimes like a sense of people they just need to know that you care or that's too bad and maybe if you're hearing the story kind of that back and you know I'm sorry to hear that oh that's too bad that's really too bad. I'm sorry about that you know that but the person is in you'll use this to do a lot of success in many situations is a very wise way of dealing with what could be a very disastrous situation now if you find yourself in that context where you are talking about why they're not coming back and that kind of thing you asked them Have you ever thought of coming back to church if you're into this doesn't happen in every visit like I said there are a lot of as we went cookies at the door and all thank you very much Chad a little bit well listen we'd love to see you back at church this next hour as we have gotten so going on it and then you're gone but if you're in that situation where you do get into more of a dialogue either there at the ports or inside the house an important question you could ask is and in an in a polite way something like Do you mind if I ask you a personal question do you still believe in the evidence. That again will probably open up some dialogue in some cases they may say you know I don't know I wrestle with it and that's a perfect opportunity what. They've done you guys are on it hey listen I love to study the Bible with you I love to go over those things if you like to I mean I don't want to I don't want to push myself in it but if there's something you'd like to do I'd more than Certainly. But that again if you're this is this is the get acquainted visit and you're trying to find out a little bit about why they are where they are that will help you Minister better it's hard to minister to a situation you don't understand because every situation is unique so that's a helpful question to be able to ask in the minutes and then something else that you may say and this made this may sound a little contradictory it's not you're not taking sides but at the same time notice the letter d. you could say something like as a church member myself I'd like to apologize to you for anything I or any other member has done to discourage or hurt you in any way please forgive us. You're not saying we did you're just saying if there's anything you're putting yourself in a humble position and I love this statement from this is found in the review and herald of December 6984 says if there have been difficulties brethren and sisters if envy malice bitterness evil surmising have existed confess these sins not in a general way but go to your brother and sisters personally be definite If you have committed what one wrong and they 20 confessed that one as though you were the chief offender. And so sometimes it's not about Well but wait a minute they left and I know a little bit doesn't matter doesn't matter if I've done anything wrong will you please forgive me. I'm sorry if we've done anything wrong would you please forgive us I'm going to tell you that goes a long way with somebody they find it they've they've they're going to find a hard time maybe they may achromat during our visit they're going to have a hard time stand still and brought him a gift ask for forgiveness meaning the Spirit of God going to work on that that's the best the beauty of so winning is you know sometimes it's like I can't do everything but guess what the Holy Spirit is a mission journo and he can be everywhere at once and when I'm gone he's still there. So you know they they've got I'm going with the Holy Spirit is going to keep working and he's going to use especially if you go when you let the Spirit use you to speak those kind words he's going to keep bringing those to their mind. The next step to encourage trust in God's love and forgiveness especially now dealing with those situations where if a person is has stopped coming because they're feeling like they fell back into somewhere they did fall back into some old habit or something like that I remember a guy who was coming to. He was not a member yet he'd come to a couple Vangelis to me and she'd been coming to my church and cold water and he stopped coming because he fell back into smoking now I didn't tell him right away the guy. Sometimes I do things like this he bought himself a big because cigarettes are expensive so I got self a big box of tobacco and rolled his own cigarettes 1st step if you want to quit smoking don't have a big box of tobacco in rolling paper in your house I didn't tell him that we didn't like sure that Ok you know some people just don't put 2 and 2 together they just don't know why they're struggling it's like I can't be so he stopped coming to church because he had this habit and I remember visiting him with one of the elders and I said Look brother you can't. How do you think that pulling away from the only atmosphere that can give you spiritual strength how do you think that's going to help you overcome the habit Well I'm smoking I'm not supposed to be look if you're smoking and you've got struggles with it the place you've got to be a church you've got to keep coming in Iran be surrounded with a community of people can pray for you and encourage you and that kind of thing and you want to be able to tell a person sometimes they feel like in this what the devil does that sin. Disqualifies you for church attendance you know if there's anything that qualifies you for church attendance it's sin should have more amends on that one. So encouraged in that visit you can encourage their trusting that look God still loves you he is drawing you to himself you know the reason you know that this habit is wrong it well if it wasn't for the Spirit of God the habit wouldn't bother you are you aware that bad habits would not bother you if it weren't for the Spirit of God at the bother you that tells you God loves you and he's wooing you and he's drawing you to himself and helping you to see that what needs fixed but then you've got to come to the place to get it fixed you've got to come to the Lord and come to the church and come to the and so you want to encourage them in Gaza love trust in 2 and trust in God's love in forgiveness encourage them to look put it before the Lord confessor see if we confess our sins He is faithful and just a Forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness walking through that passage what does it say if we you know we confess God's going to be faithful to forgive what kind of god would he be if he told us to come to him in compassion we did and then he wouldn't forgive. You would be faithful you wouldn't be just all faithfulness and the justice of God is that he tells us that he will do this him and we come he doesn't and you've got to have confidence in that so it's a good opportunity to encourage in those situations and then finally assure them that they are missed and invite them back I've had people tell me I've told them it's awkward it's a hurt you're in there and they're like listen you're Mr Church Well I'm not missed by everybody. I've had that I've had people in the church but we visited with them and I had a couple but that my associate pastor and I were working with we visited him in the had him come to the church pastors office are not members were encouraging that you know here think about being members again and well I said we love you I mean well not everybody loves to be members you know there were things that were said in the community and everything you sometimes you get these small communities and I said well I'm the pastor and that's what counts I was not really his real correct but I still told him that was correct from the standpoint I said look I want you back my all he wants but I've talked to our other elders we've talked all together before this visit we want you guys back so I mean you just want to communicate that but they may bring something up that that well I know so and so their lesson I don't know about all that I can tell you is we're here because we want you back and more than that the Lord wants you want you back in his will so those are some ideas of what to do in the visit and those all those little things they may seem like little things with their make a huge impact so let me run through this kind of quickly and I'll see if we have these are going to go kind of quickly go it's just some quick do's and don'ts in the visit the DO's be brief I've touched on that get to the point within a few minutes it's a short visit that's your goal that you focus listen to them call me kindly interestedly. Sometimes when people talk in their telling and maybe you know a little bit about the situation even though you weren't directly involved you just feel this need to come to the defense of whoever in the church or maybe it was your husband or wife or something of. Fight that you just want to listen to them calmly kindly let them express themselves that all that stuff can happen later invite them to come back to church it's already been there but this is a definite do you don't believe that visit without inviting them back and so and then finally always close your visit with prayer I will always close with prayer and I do not ask them if I can pray if they like me to pray and some people don't do that and they're not as forward and I suppose but I've done this in Bible work door to door minister and whatever else have told my students guys are you this what I do at the end of the service say let me pray for your Father in heaven I just want to thank you so much and that's what we do and I can't tell you how many times you watch a person's entire countenance an attitude change after that prayer happen time and again and I tell my students that class income actually passing out you're right we did then I just we went into paradise like he said in our whole attitude changed after the prayer so sometimes sometimes it changes for the worse but I'm just saying I know it when I pray it's short and it's very positive like I could go and. Visit with Tyler nice a title Let me pray with you Father in heaven I just want to thank you so much for Tyler and this time we've had together Lord I just want to pray for your blessing upon him and his family and Lord I pray that. You'll just be with him in all the years or something like that you know I don't want to say Lord be with Tyler hope and see the error of his ways. Well maybe the tile of it at any rate. You get the idea I want to leave that positive note and I want them to see that what happens in that is I'm talking to the Lord I'm lifting them up and I'm not putting them down in the prayer I'm talking like I'm not over them and that I think makes an impact on people and then the important some important don'ts don't betray confidence they're people that in that visit me tell you something about what happened in the church they don't want you to repeat. And you can't you can't you know there are certain things that you may say how the visit went but if you know something was said in confidence they announce the last thing you want to do is betray that competence you're not going to get anywhere that person so just if something's told you in confidence and need to stay in confidence you need to respect that don't actually talked notice it doesn't say don't be shocked sometimes people will try to shock you just to look for the reaction and then they'll say See I knew they were judging me so you know you will see some crazy things sometimes if a person have been in the church in a long time they can be all kinds of stuff and you just want to be very pleasant and it's all good you know don't act shocked you may be shocked on action don't defend yourself or the church or anyone else you're not there that's not what you're there for you're not there to that then you're there to invite them back sure there's more to the story sure there's more things to be dealt with but not this visit and then don't argue you're not there to argue doctrine you're not there to argue anything else Ok I've said the same thing about 50 times now with that it's a short visit it's a positive visit the goal here is to make the initial contact the what. That means you're going to have other contacts at some point you can get more of the church involved in this you can go out it's a positive experience for the whole church will be positive experience for these individuals now what do you do once you've made this visit Here's some after the visit things to do I know a lot of churches that do this kind of thing and then they feel real good about themselves and then they just go back in into Laodicean slumber for 6 months and then they come up with another outreach that's not our goal here. Ok so again hand l very bottom of page number 6 consider your visit as an initial visit not an only visit plan to continue interaction with the missing member here some practical suggestions 1st and their names to your interest list. You should have an interest list you'll know that what we've gone over now Pastor Cameron talked about the church board and how there were those things that the church board needs to discuss those things included Department plans evangelism plans this in interest plans all of those things were there in the church board a lot of churches can't even do it because they don't even have that so we went into how to do Department plans that's just so you can start doing what you've got to report back at the board be doing the work of the church you need to have somebody coordinating interest passage and talked about that notice for invitation not solicitation don't put them on the list that you're going to call for money. Hey you know we just visited last week we've got this big project and we need some money you don't want to do that this is an invitation list you want their name the interest list these are names so if you're having some event that there is a spiritual event you can invite them to a social event you can invite them to that you can be a part of it you want to be able to invite them so you want them on that interest list you want to stay in touch you would do well to assign individuals perhaps individuals likely the individual that made that visit just have him you can drop a card you can make a call you can give him a text it doesn't have to be very invasive it doesn't have to be very complicated but just maintain contact use upcoming events as an excuse for a return visit if your church has let's say you're planning a big creation seminar great I'm going to go by with a flier to that person I visited last time and say Hey I just thought I'd bring this by I think you might be interested in this just any excuse you can have to go back and it may take a few visits before they begin to warm up or text and visits and a combination of things and you'll start to see a change in some of them some of them are going to pull themselves away some of them really want to come back and you'll notice set in the more you're making that contact you'll see their mom how long are you out of the church before you get contacted. We were left how long are we gone 12 years out never never have you ever thought about coming back. So I mean that's just a case in point and in my family I just we were you got a whole we have a big family you have a whole bunch coming up praise God for His mercy but I'm just saying there are people out there now on your books that are like that same place Ok remove obstacles to attendance if they share some reason that they are not coming that you can address now if it's like you know well brother Rick Stevens and that's why I'm not going well let's get him out of there no I'm not talking about that but if there is something that you can address that this is a barrier to their coming in a way or why we even do things that way to I'll give you for instance it prayer meeting we were touring we had some people at prayer meeting that were like We need to for prayer meeting we need to break up into small groups and pray and I had some people wanted to return and they just felt uncomfortable so they would not come for that is that something we can can we just pray as a group is that Ok oh no we have some members like no we've got a prayer if you can remove a barrier to get somebody back I mean Anyway to me that's a barrier that could have been addressed and then finally stopped by with occasionally with a gift so that's kind of so why don't you just finish up on that I let me get your microphone Jim. Yes and Yes and Cameron doesn't have Cameron Ron doesn't have anything he needs to sympathise about. So just this. There really is. But. You. Know. Thank. You somebody who. Are. Ok well that wasn't as good as the story that you were going to tell but I know the couple and I'll say this that I when I visited this couple when I was a pastor of that church my brother passed the church after me ironically and they didn't come back when I visited but when Jim went and visited this couple we had known them in past they'd known our parents so he had some old family photos that he took anyway. It was just that one visit right so I made a visit in years later he made this visit and the husband or wife came back to the church he end up becoming an elder in the church he's passed away a couple years ago now but they came back in and just were on top of it Bible studying and sharing and witnessing everything and just we've been missing out on that for all those years just for lack of making the visit so I'm just this up isn't a this is this is one of the best ministry you can do bar none in your church yes yes they were Ok and then we're going to finish up. Ok. Yeah I mean look it's a small price to pay if I make sure though Incidentally when you do that kind of thing that you do do it with the other leaders you don't just kind of lone ranger or you can start a whole other you get more people who are going to be you're going to have a visit to come back so all right everyone lesson tomorrow morning at 1045 we have an open q. and a where your questions about anything we talk about this week's all winning evangelism whatever and we're going to work on that and then you know let's finish with a prayer Father in Heaven Father we just do thank you so much that you've given us the privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world Lord help us to be faithful to our calling and Representative Lord there are your children that your heart longs for that we know that we're there within our circle of influence lured in I have to confess in general as a church we just not ministry tool as we should be forgive us Lord and help us to be more intentional to reach these lost. In give us successful. Previous things in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more service leave a visit w w w audio verse or.

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