It’s been a little over two years since Tammy and I attended the second of two standing-room-only workshops by Martha Grace Reese on her book Unbinding the Gospel. Since then, our elders have studied the book, our Evangelism ministry is utilizing her ideas in its plans and an adult Sunday school class is currently reading and discussing the book. Needless to say, it is having an impact.
Our Evangelism ministry was planning to coordinate an all-church study of Unbinding Your Heart (the companion devotional/study guide to Unbinding the Gospel) during Lent. Then, this past September, Martha Grace Reese called me directly to ask if our church would like to join a group of churches that would be planning through the year (with her help and the help of a coach) to study Unbinding Your Heart in the fall. We agreed and the planning is already underway.
The group of churches in which we are a part include three Presbyterian Churches from Ohio and one other Disciple’s congregation in California. I have had two conference calls – one with Martha Grace Reese and the
other with our coach, Cathy Townley. They will help us and the other churches to work towards the maximum participation of our members in the fall. The churches with which they are currently working have 85% to 125% of their regular Sunday attendance participating in the E-vent (the “E” is for Evangelism). Our next step is to offer another chance to study the original book (Unbinding the Gospel) during the Lenten season to anyone that would like to learn more – and to those who might help facilitate small group discussion during the E-vent in the fall. The 2nd Edition of Unbinding the Gospel includes a 40 day prayer and devotional section.
On Wednesday evening, February 25th, we will begin a six week, 40 day study that will finish on Wednesday of Holy Week (April 8th). Not only will this study help us to be better prepared for launching our congregation-wide E-vent in the fall, but it is also a wonderful way to pray, study and prepare for Easter.
God is already working in our church in powerful ways. Once we made our goals less about institutional survival and more about sharing the Gospel in real and meaningful ways, the very things that cause anxiety in any church
began to turn around. Attendance, new members and offerings have all increased. However, we understand this is the result of seeking to be the church Christ has called us to be. As Jesus said, “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
What can YOU do to “seek first the Kingdom”? You can pray daily for your church and its leaders. You can plan to participate in our Lenten study of Unbinding the Gospel. And, when fall begins to draw near, you can offer your
prayers, support and help as we undertake not just an Event, but a transforming and revitalizing church-wide sabbatical – seeking first the things of the kingdom. It is going to be an amazing year.