Before the days of GPS, I was teaching most of my kids to drive. To be totally honest two of them had absolutely terrible sense of direction. Places they had been a hundred times during their childhood, they had no idea how to get to driving themselves. So I was tasked not only with instructing them on driving technique, but navigation. If you ask my daughters, they would say I failed miserably. They would always want to know what was the next turn even if it were miles away. I sometimes forgot to give them instructions until last minute. So the girls would constantly ask, "Where do I go from here?"
As we as a church continue the process of renewal, you may be asking yourself, "Where do I go from here?" I hope that you are. As we navigate this adventure, that is a question that all of us need to ask because renewal will not occur by our doing the same thing that brought us to this point.
Here is the top ten list of next steps for everyone who is a member of First Christian Church of Chicago:
Read your Bible everyday. The number one way that you will continue to grow spiritually is through daily Bible reading. Only 35% of churchgoers study their Bible at least once a week. That is a good way to experience spiritual starvation. So open your Bible daily and read it.
Be active in weekly worship attendance. A recent study concluded that the only people who increased in mental health during the pandemic were those who attended church weekly. While it may be necesary to occasionally participate in church online there is no substitute for the experience of being together in community.
Follow your church leadership. Blind loyalty is dangerous. However, we ought to begin with a posture of trust with our leadership.
Encourage people around you. We all get discouraged. It is contagious. The cure is encouragement. It is a powerful force to change the mood of those around you.
Share Jesus with people in your life. I realize that sharing your faith is a struggle for most of you. But it doesn't have to be. You can simply live out the joy that you have found in Christ. Others will ask you about it.
Invite others to church. After you have introduced them to Jesus. introduce them to the church. Seeing others light up as they find community is exciting and fulfilling.
Join a group. People will stay with a church when they connect with a group. It is the best way to close the backdoor. When you are involved in a small group, you build relationships in a way that is not possible through the worship environment.
Pray everyday for the ministries of the church and the church leaders. One of the most encouraging things you could tell me is that you are praying for me.
Start giving regularly. If you believe in the mission of the church, then you need to give to it. However, your giving isn't to the church. You are really giving to God through the church.
Volunteer in a needed are of the church. We have areas that we regularly are in need of volunteers. We have some things that we would like to do that we need volunteers to commit to serve. Ask your church leaders about these areas of need. Even if this area is not your preference of expertise, God will honor your desire to fill in a gap.
Have you missed one of these steps? That is your next step.
Your membership and participation in the church is an essential part of following Christ. Be an active agent with the church in seeking the good for our community.