This Sunday as we launch into our new series, we are going to make a change into how we go about closing out our experiences. The reason we are doing so is because we want to be as effective as possible at doing the very thing we exist to do – Connect People to God.
Connecting People to God. That is what drives us, inspires us and directs us. We want to see people who don’t know God come to know Him and for those of us who are Christians to continuously increase our trust in Him.
As we asked what it means in a practical sense to Connect People to God, we determined that we have two key responsibilities:
- To Position People to Switch Seats – (we talk about three chairs – click for more). We use the word position because we can’t do the unique work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation and total surrender to Christ requires the Holy Spirit to work within and open the eye of individuals. We can’t manufacture or produce this. Yet we can do all we can to position people to be open to it.
- To Encourage Everyone to Identify and Take Their Next Best Step – Again we can’t take next steps for people, but we can make it as easy as possible for them to do so. As everyone is in a different place in their journey and in their life, each person’s actual step will differ. Yet we can ensure they get prayer for wisdom to know what to do, courage to do what know God is telling them to do and then tools to help them actually do so.
In order to make it as easy and clear as possible for the above to occur, we want to finish each experience by giving people an absolutely clear next step or two as well as the opportunity for people to declare their personal faith in Jesus.
In a nut shell, this will involve us doing the following at the end of each experience:
- A Next Step Response – Ask people who want to be included in a prayer for a specific next step or two that ties in directly to the content of what was covered.
- A Link to Jesus – Tie what we have been talking about directly back to Jesus and his love for us demonstrated by the cross.
- A Prayer for Salvation – so it is as easy as possible for people to place their faith in Jesus.
- The MC Wrap Up – give a specific and clear HOW to those who wanted to be included in the specific prayers, let them know we are here to do whatever we can to help them move forward.
After this, we have decided to take an approach that leaves the individuals in control. This means they can come to us, but we won’t go to them. We want them to remain in control of what happens. Please note, this doesn’t mean we aren’t doing anything. We have systems set up to help people, support them, encourage them and get alongside them. We will be ready, yet we want them to initiate it. In Acts 2:42 it says “They (early Christians) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals …” We want people to devote themselves, to take the step.
All this will happen via THE HUB. There will be new Christian packs available. People ready to pray with people who need further prayer. Other resources that tie into the next steps. Everything will happen in the one place so it will be very easy for us to direct people where to go.
We are praying and believing that this approach to how we finish each week will help us do a better job of Connecting People to God as it will make it much easier and clear for people to switch seats and/or take their next best step.
What really excites me is it forces to us week in week out to bring everything back to Jesus. He is the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith. He is the reason we do what we do and allows people to see that while what they have heard may be helpful, what matters more than anything is a person’s faith in Jesus. We want people to leave every week with more faith, more trust in Jesus than when they came in. They leave with a greater faith in the fact that Jesus is who he says he is and will do what he says he is going to do.
An example of this in practice based on a message about friendships is:
- NEXT STEPS PRAYER Ask people if they know they need to find some wise friends, or courage for those who know they need to remove themselves from some foolish friends to raise their hands. Then pray – that God would highlight some people who would make great friends, that he would give them the confidence to establish new friendships and the courage to pull back from friendships that are having a negative impact on them. …..
- LINK to Jesus – we have spent the last 30 minutes talking about friends, yet the most important friend we can ever have is Jesus. The good news for us all is Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, that means no matter who you are, what you’ve done or where you currently are, Jesus wants to befriend you. In fact Jesus loves you and values you so much he doesn’t simply want to befriend he, he was willing to die for you. There is no greater love than for someone to lay down their life for a friend and that is what Jesus has done for you and for me. He did it because all of us have fallen short of the holy and perfect standards of God and therefore created a gap in our relationship with Him ….
- Give people the opportunity to pray a simple prayer for salvation.
- Then have the MC come up and give a specific and clear HOW to those who wanted to be included in the specific prayers. If you know you need to surround yourself with wise people, please head out to the Next Steps area and ask about Groups where you will be able to surround yourself with people who are heading in the direction you want to be. If you know you need to withdraw from some friends, and the thought of this scares you like nothing else, our prayer teams would love to pray for you …… For those of you who prayed to place your faith in Jesus and what he did for you on the cross we have got a gift for you that contains a bible and some other material we have carefully compiled to help you as best you can, this is available from THE HUB right after this experience.