Last night I was about to have a very substantial and enjoyable theological discussion about various topics. One of them was about churches growing and their mission fields (which was somewhat talked about in a conversation about church vibrancy the previous evening with a different group of people). Coming from a rural town where everyone is pretty much linked to one of the 6 (or more) churches in (a) town (of 1200), I was mentioning that it was hard to know who, if anyone, was the mission field for me/us.
Then, for whatever reason, this morning it came to me — most churches actually have a list of their mission field (or at least part of it) already, and it’s called the church directory. It would be an interesting sermon to discuss mission and tell the congregation that they already have a list of people they need to evangelize to, and it’s probably in a drawer in their kitchen (at least that’s where our family’s was). If you check out that directory and see names of people who you haven’t seen in church for as long as you can remember, you already have some leads to go on.
Now there are definitely others to think about evangelizing to/with, but I think it’s always so hard for people to know where to start, and so many times we know those people in the directory and might have good reason to invite them back to get involved again or figure out what’s keeping them away and work for some change. Why should a church with 250 members settle for an attendance of 95? Shouldn’t a church’s goal be to have more in attendance than their membership? What a different church that would be!