Okay, Okay! Stop me if you heard this one!
Two ten-year-old’s were sitting at an elementary school lunch table when one asks the other…
It really does sound like a joke doesn’t it. But it’s not.
As a matter of fact, God used just such a little, seemingly insignificant scene to change the church that I pastor. Let me see if I can explain.
Have you ever hear of the butterfly effect? It’s a theory that suggests that through a series of events the wind generated from the wing flutter of a South American butterfly turns into a hurricane in Indonesia; or something like that. It is saying that over the course of time, the smallest of actions can have massive impact.
Now back to my story: Two ten-year-old’s were sitting at an elementary school lunch table and one asks the other, “Where do you go to church?” With that question, an innocent and open conversation started about church. The bell rings. They got back to doing what elementary school kids do, endure class until recess. Fast forward: My ten year old, wants the other ten year old to come to an event at church, a cook out. He said they talked about the Lord over lunch and wants him to come to the church cook out. My wife calls the other mom. They talk. In the conversation, my wife tells the mom that their sons have been talking about church and the Lord. The mother is kind-of stunned. My wife invites their family to cook out. Long story short, they come, fall in love with the church, and join. They get plugged in and start serving the Lord in the youth. My other son (teenager) starts inviting his buddies from school at around that time. One of his friends came. I visited the mother and invited the family out. They start coming to church. Their grandmother “happens” to move into town. She and the step-grand father start coming to church. Step-grandfather gets saved, born-again, becomes a follower of Jesus (what ever people are calling it these days). He got in! Now the whole family is at church every time the doors are open. Teens invite other teens; friendships are formed. The influx of youth draw-in more from extended family of other church members.
This culminated in the events of last night. Our monthly outreach even called the “Family Dinner Night”. An open invitation to the community at large for a free dinner. 18 young people worked together to present a powerful drama that presented the gospel. In all, 60 people came for the drama and dinner. That may not sound like much to some. But for a church who over the past 7 years has been averaging in the mid to lower 20’s, its huge.
To sum it up, two ten-year-old’s talking at a school lunch table changed my struggling church; and what did I learn?
Three simple lessons:
Don’t be ashamed of Jesus
Make sure that your kids know that everywhere is a good place to talk about Jesus, not just at church. When you shy away from talking about the Lord at the work bench or at the dinner table, the kids will shy away from talking about Him at the lunch table.
Every one has a sphere of influence
I believe and I practice house to house evangelism; the old knockin’ on doors method. But rare are the instances when I have been allowed to lead someone to Christ or have them walk through the doors of the church going door to door. Where I do people being reached are those who have some connection with the church members: family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Don’t over look just inviting someone to church.
Don’t give up!
I have gone through seven years of ups and downs, backwards and forwards (mostly backwards). I have seemingly tried everything that I knew to do. I pleaded with God to either grow this church or kill it all together. Limping along, going around in circles was killing me. But all the while God was brewing the smallest wind imaginable to fill the sails of my church.