Good morning! Last night my family was going in many different directions. Corynn went to the Youth Rally in Pulaski, Cort went to Independence to teach his FPU class, and Emily and I went to SNL to hear Oliver’s presentation on the proposal from the Holston Conference-that we become a “Multi Site” church.” What does this mean? One church in two locations ( or more). In my mind we are currently a multi site church with our youth center located downtown. The proposal is that we open another site downtown to reach those folks who won’t come through the doors of the traditional church, but WOULD come through the doors of a storefront located downtown. I think the most amazing is that our church has continued to grow, even in these tough economic times, and the conference has noted that. To me that says that people are hungry for God and when people are hungry, what do we do? We feed them!
Let’s take a minute and look at the success of McDonald’s….
It opened in 1940 as a carhop. Ray Kroc entered as a salesman some years later and had an epiphany. He bought McDonald’s in 1954. By 1958 he had sold 100million burgers! By 1965 he had opened 700 new sites to sell burgers and fries! He is quoted as saying: ” We provide food that people love-day after day. People just want more of it.” This reminds me of a question that the conference asked of our Pastors….” How is your church continuing to grow in such tough economic times?” The answer was , ” People want Jesus and we give them Jesus!” So, by feeding people “soul food” they keep coming back for more. Ray Kroc also said , ” We take the hamburger business more seriously than anyone else.” It is my humble opinion that our church leaders take Jesus more seriously than anything else and this is why we are having such great growth in our congregation.
“Have you had your break today?” ( 1995 McD’s new slogan)
McDonald’s has changed with the times over the years. They introduced the snack wrap in the late 90’s and today they offer free WIFI in many locations. So today we can enter McDonald’s with our laptops, our Twitter, our Blackberry’s and our families and enjoy free WIFI with a good meal as well as a great cup of coffee. McDonald’s success has come about by change. There’s an old saying, ” if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.” So if you don’t like the results, then maybe it’s time to change!
So,what am I getting at here?
Many of you may know this, but for those who don’t- awhile back God was working through a hamburger to reach a young man who has since proclaimed Jesus as His Lord and Savior. One of our youth- offered to buy this young man a burger and then proceeded to invite him to church- which was our downtown site- the youth center. Today both of these young men are very, very active within our church. The burger buyer joined our church a few months ago and the burger consumer has since dedicated his life to Christ and plans to be baptized on Pentecost. Both of these young men have become leaders among the youth of our church. So, a life was eternally changed by a hamburger. It didn’t happen in the conventional way that we would think-rather it happened in the way that Godwould have it happen. Outside of our church doors, downtown Hillsville. I know there are many stories like this, but I tell you this one because it is close to my heart. God has used these two young men to compel me to be more involved with our youth and to think outside of the box. In my becoming more involved with the youth- Cort has felt led to be there also. I have watched God working not only the lives of the youth-but in the lives of my family. It is a wonderful thing when your teenage daughter is comfortable sharing her friends and life with you. A gift from God!
Today McD’s has over 32,000 restaraunts,60 million customers and they are in 117 countries! Why I even enjoyed McD’s when I was in Slovakia last fall! Can you imagine the Methodist Church sharing this concept with all of thier conferences? Methodist Church Store front churches in every small town across America? WoW! Ideas like this don’t come to pass without a sincere and passionate devotion to Christ, a lot of hard work and commitment to the task at hand. Today, as we discuss this proposal, I am reminded of the question Oliver posed to us: ” What kind of presence does First United Methodist Church Hillsville INTEND to have in Carroll County?” I go back to Ray Kroc’s quote…” We take the hamburger business more seriously than anyone else.”Our challenge today is to take the “Jesus” business more seriously than anyone else. . .
To “Offer them Christ” through a storefront….
So, as my family and I gathered back at home after 9 pm last night- my heart was convicted over how God had used each of us in different directions during the course of the day. Cort was 40 miles to the west, Corynn was 20 to the North and I was right here at home with Emily. That’s a huge area for a family of 4 to cover. Jesus’ last words were to “go and make disciples of all nations…” and when we go out like this-that is what we are doing! Even though my family was apart- we are united in Christ-just like our multisite opportunity will be. We are all ONE in Christ.
I love how all of this keeps coming full circle for me. When I was in Slovakia God spoke to me clearly about being ONE in Christ. He is the head, we are the body. Without the head-we are nothing-we are wandering aimlessly with no direction. A friend of mine called me one day and said, ” hey Donna- I’m at Old Navy and they are selling headless manequins-do you want them?” Of course we laughed and joked about it and today I have two headless manequins in my basement….they are a perfect illustration of what we look like without God as the “head” of our “house.”
I think that maybe it is time to have some fun with them!
Are we willing to accept this DIVINE opportunity?
The next informational meeting will be Wednesday, May 5th at 6:45 pm at the church. Any and all questions are encouraged! Let’s turn Carroll County upside down for Jesus!
Peace and Grace to you and yours,