Churches need on-ramps

It was encouraging to watch our church light up the world last weekend.  Nearly 80 volunteers spent their Saturday morning packing 20,000 meals for Haitian children who are in desperate need.  Then on Sunday, we saw dozens of ABC members get out of the bleachers and into the game at our church-wide ministry fair.  It was encouraging to watch folks commit to walk in the good works that God has planned for them, and I’m excited to see the ministry impact each of these individuals will make in the coming days.  Although we have now wrapped up our City on a Hill sermon series, the work of shining His light truly has just begun.  As we continue to let God light up our lives through His Word, I’m confident He will continue to light up our homes, our neighborhoods, and the world around us.

A few months ago, I was on the road for Dallas when I decided to make a stop at a gas station somewhere north of Waco.  It began as a typical road trip stop, as I filled up the gas tank, grabbed a drink, and quickly tried to get back on the road.  However, I learned that getting back on the road was going to be anything but typical.  As I left the gas station and turned onto the feeder road, I realized I wasn’t going to be getting back on the highway anytime soon.  I could see down the road that the next on-ramp was closed due to construction.  This of course led to bumper-to-bumper traffic, and I began to crawl forward towards the next on-ramp.  Unfortunately, when I finally got there, I discovered that it too was closed.  This pattern repeated itself as on-ramp after on-ramp was closed down, and it led all of us on the road to a growing sense of frustration.  We wanted to get on the highway and get moving, but all we could find was closed doors.

I believe many people who visit churches feel the same way that I felt on that frontage road.  They go to church in search of an on-ramp, as they want to merge into the life and fellowship of a church family.  However, many get frustrated when they realize it isn’t easy to move from the outside to the inside.  The truth is some churches set up blockades in front of their on-ramps.  Some churches have closed-off small groups that don’t want new people.  Some churches do not offer community events for the public and lack opportunities for new people to serve.  Some churches can have new people walk in on a Sunday morning, and no one takes the time to welcome them or learn their names. Consequently, visitors at those churches become frustrated as they cannot find a way to merge in.  I’m proud to Pastor at ABC because I truly believe this isn’t the case here.  Our church family wants new people to get engaged into the life of our church, so consequently, we offer a lot of on-ramps.  We provide on-ramps through our BFG classes.  Every week, classes for all ages warmly welcome new faces into their fellowships with open arms.  We offer open on-ramps through our volunteer ministries.  We want people to walk in their giftedness and serve in our community, so we work hard to merge new people into our volunteer teams.  And we consistently provide on-ramps through our intentional community-wide events.

This Sunday is our annual Trunk or Treat event.  This fall tradition is a great on-ramp for new people, as they get to come and experience the excitement and fellowship of ABC in a casual setting.  We will have nearly 100 volunteers ready to welcome people this Sunday afternoon with over 40 cars that will be decorated by our faithful church members.  We’ll have tons of candy for kids, train rides, inflatables, a petting zoo, and food on site to provide a great atmosphere for community fellowship.  I encourage you to not miss this opportunity and be sure to invite someone to be a part of the festivities.  If you bring a guest, stop me on Sunday as I’d love to have the chance to meet them and thank them for their visit.  If you see someone new, take the time to introduce yourself as well and let them know how glad you are that they are there. Check out our Trunk or Treat promotional video and pass it on to a friend:

It’s essential that we continue to maintain our healthy on-ramps, as we must always “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).  This Sunday in worship we will be kicking off a new study in the book of Jonah.  We’ll be looking at the famous prophet who was sent by God to serve on mission for Him, and I believe we’ll walk away with great practical application for our own mission that Jesus given us.  Be sure to welcome others this weekend at church, and I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday.

New Sermon Series This Sunday – “Sent: a study of Jonah”
Last Sunday’s Message: City on a Hill – “Light Up The World”

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