“SHBC Connections Ministry exists to help our guests move from a positive first-time experience at church all the way to deep relationship with God and the body of Christ.”
We want people who visit South Hill Bible Church to move from being a guest, to being a friend, to being family. Another way to say this is that we want people to move from being casual in attendance to being committed in attendance all the way to being a core part of SHBC.
The deepest and most significant connection for all of us is to be connected to God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no more important connection. But we are also called to connect to each other, to be “joined together”, which is what being connected means. The Apostle Paul uses two different analogies in Ephesians as he talks about this connection to each other. In chapter 2, the church, the people of the church, is referred to as a “building”. In him (Christ) the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:21-22). Do you see it? We are being “put together” (connected) in Christ to make the church, God’s dwelling place in the Spirit.
The other analogy is of a body, a human body. Hear what is said in Ephesians 4:16, From him (Christ) the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. We are being “fitted and knit together” (connected) in love. Love for God and love for each other is the connection that will not fail.
When a person is casual in attendance, they are not yet vital to the health of the body. We reach out to them in love, from the very first time they set foot in the door. Through that encouragement, that positive first experience at church, we continue to connect with them so they become committed in attendance. But even with committed attendance, they are not yet connected in the way that God desires. God desires, and we do too along with him, that people become core to the church at SHBC. A core person is one so vital that their absence is noticed. Ministry doesn’t happen in the fullest way because the core person isn’t there. That is the goal of Connections Ministry: to bring a person into such deep relationship with God and others in the church that they are flourishing in their growth in Christ and their service to God in the church.
What does the process look like? Ideally, we want to have a clear path for our guests to see and follow. We want them to know the next step in the process as it applies to them, personally. Though the steps will look different for a young family or a single adult or a senior citizen, the markers along the path are the same: from guest, to friend, to family; from casual, to committed, to core.
The starting point is most often Sunday morning. What are we doing at SHBC to create a culture of connection?* We are initiating an intentional ministry, called “SHBC Connections”, as a guidebook for this journey of connection. It is what might be called a formal ministry. It has a facilitator/resource person in me, Brad Pearson. We will have intentional, structured plans for enhancing connections. We will have training for our volunteers. We will think and plan and create beyond the Sunday morning first contact. All of this is essential to healthy, formal ministry.
But the most important factor in creating a culture of connection at SHBC is YOU. When you consider yourself to be a part of the welcome team, the hospitality ministry, the Connections Ministry, all the time, you are creating a culture of connection. You are demonstrating the welcoming, gracious love of God to our guests.
Pray about how you can be a part of the formal SHBC Connections ministry. This may be the ministry opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Now is the time to start serving! Pray about how you can be a part of the informal, yet probably more vital, “culture of connection” at SHBC. How are you being intentional in expressing love and encouragement through a welcoming attitude and action each week?
If you are interested in serving in SHBC Connections, contact Brad at the church or by indicating on your Connection Card on Sunday.
*thanks to Chet Roshetko for this conceptTags: Brad Pearson, Connections, Ministry, Service