Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grand Opening worship

This Sunday, January 31 at 10:30 a.m. we are celebrating our Grand Opening worship service at Chain of Lakes Church. We are worshipping at the Lino Lakes Senior Center—1189 Main Street. The Senior Center is located a half mile east of the intersection of Main and Lake Drive (#23).

I’ve used all sorts of metaphors to describe this service. First it’s a Grand Opening—we are opening our doors to the community. We’ve done a lot of advertising and direct mail for this Grand Opening. We are praying that many people in the community will come and check us out. Second, last week in worship I compared the service to the Opening Day of baseball season. We will have special guest speakers and special decorations and special food. Since we started worship in December we at Chain of Lakes have gone through spring training—preparing ourselves for Opening Day. Finally, to use New Church Development language this is our launch service. When new church development pastors get together they talk about how many people attended the launch service. I’m sure I’ll be sharing the attendance of Sunday’s worship service with many people in the future.

We have a marvelous service planned. We’ve organized the service around the theme of celebration. We’re celebrating our Presbyterian connection—Chaz Ruark, the Executive Presbyter of our Presbytery will speak and we will recognize delegations from other Presbyterian churches; we’re celebrating children—my daughter, Hannah, is singing, and we will have a special Children’s Time; we’re celebrating history—John Ivers will give a talk about the history of Chain of Lakes Church and we’ll hear a reading from Acts about the start of the church; we’re celebrating the future—in my sermon I’m going to share some of the dreams we have for Chain of Lakes Church; and we’re celebrating gifts—Richard Marshall, the co-chair of the viola section of the Minnesota Orchestra and his wife, Melinda, will share their music along with Sue Ruby. All three of them were generously loaned to us for this service from Valley Presbyterian Church. We are asking everyone to bring a Haiti Hygiene kits at the service. These kits will be given to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Contents of a Haiti Hygiene kit can be found on the blog I wrote on Thursday, January 21.

This promises to be a marvelous service, and we encourage people from the community to come.

Which leads me to my last request—and this one is aimed at the people from Chain of Lakes Church. And that request can be summed up in one word—invitation. I shared on my Facebook Page this week and the word of the week is “invitation.” Last Sunday in worship I shared that most people who join a faith community first came to the community because of an invitation shared by a friend or family member; I also shared that less than ten percent of people who join a church first attend because of an invitation by a pastor. When I encourage people at Chain of Lakes to invite I don’t do it to pass on the work of evangelism; I do it because research shows that lay folks are more successful than pastors in bringing people to a faith community for the first time. I am working on my ten percent this week—I’ve made a number of phone calls extending invitations. But I am also spending time encouraging everyone at Chain of Lakes to invite.

Two Sundays ago we passed out invitations to the Grand Opening after worship. I was touched when Nancy Amundsen got out her address book and started filling out envelopes. Now that is serious inviting!! (See the picture at the top of this blog).

Wherever you reside would you take a moment right now to pray for our Grand Opening service. Pray for the three “P’s.” People, presence, and preaching!

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