Love Your Community First

By Michael Sove & Lead Pastor, William Warren

We have had an amazing two months and God continues to bless our church as we love our community first.  A few months back our Lead Pastor, Bill Warren, received from a church consultant some directives to help us break the 500 barrier.  One of the directives was as follows:

You are going to have to focus more on the needs of the community than the needs of the church…love your community more.  How heartbroken are you over the condition of your community?

He journeyed to the Mayor’s office with this question: “What geographical area of Salisbury needs salt and light?”  Without blinking an eye, the Mayor’s representative said, “Princeton Avenue.”  We planned an evangelistic block party for that area.  City officials were delighted with our plans and offered great assistance.

On Saturday, October 16, we went door-to-door in that area distributing flyers in English and Spanish that invited the residents to the block party. We also gave every home a Chick-fil-A coupon as a sign of God’s love for them.  Firefighters accompanied some of our teams and offered to check the smoke detectors in the homes of the residents, giving smoke detectors to those who had none and new batteries for those who needed them.

On Saturday, October 23, we threw our evangelistic block party from noon to 4:00 p.m.  Approximately 500 people attended.  We passed out countless quantities of hot dogs, snow cones, soft drinks, and popcorn.  The kids enjoyed a wide variety of games.  Everyone enjoyed the musical talents of our worship team.  We distributed many copies of the New Testament, evangelistic tracts, copies of the “Jesus” film, and invitations to our special worship service (Double Day) on October 31.  We also shared our faith in Christ; three persons prayed to receive Christ.  A few weeks later we called the people who registered for the door prizes and asked if we could bring Thanksgiving dinner to them.  Forty-one families agreed to receive the food.

On Sunday, October 31st, we invited the community to our celebration services.  Internally we called this “Double Day.” Pastor Bill characterized Double Day as “Friend Day on steroids.”  The goal of D-2 is to double the number of first-time guests.  All year we averaged 5.5 first time guests each week so on this day we were hoping for 11.  This doesn’t sound like much of a goal but it is harder than you think.  We did three things as we prepared for this day.  We selected a four part message series designed for our guests called “Peace of Mind at Last,” distributed well designed invitation cards and advertised with television, radio, billboards and yard signs.

The results were awesome. On October 31, our first-time guests totaled…51! The total number of registered guests (those we received info on for the first time) was 83.  Our attendance was up 100 over our average.  Two persons asked Christ to be the Forgiver of their sins and the Leader of their life!  Our celebration attendance has not backed off and now we are distributing Christmas gifts to over 200 individuals from the original effort to love our community.

Next year we plan to hold two “Double Days” but we will precede those efforts with continued penetration into the community as we learn to “Love our Community First.”

Please keep me in prayer during January as I take two teams to India.  I will return to blogging in February.  I truly enjoy sharing my experiences with you.  God bless you and may He advance His kingdom through you in 2011.



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