Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear West Campus family,

We had a great turnout at our 2015 Fall Festival held at our West Campus last Saturday. There was a great spirit among our volunteers and everyone who came had a fantastic time! We had a number of people register and eleven of those expressed a desire for more information on how to become a Christian. We have followed up with the requests this week by getting each person a Billy Graham "How to become a Christian" guide that also includes how to read the Bible and pray along with the gospel of John.

Also, our children's winter coat giveaway at our downtown location went great earlier that Saturday morning. Many coats were given out and people were shown the love of God in a real, practical way. I am so proud to be a part of a church that seeks to reach out to its community with the love of Jesus!

Looking forward to celebrating Jesus with you this Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dear West Campus family

This Saturday marks week three of college football games across the nation. As teams line up on the gridiron, they are keeping score. The team that wins the game puts up more points than the other. Teams that score points either put the ball across the goal line, kick it through the field goal, or tackle the other team in the other team's end zone. Teams do not receive points for coolest uniforms, exciting entrances, or best tackles.

As a church, we need to focus on the scoreboard and the true measure of success. As we employ our strategy of reaching, creating, and multiplying disciples, this gives us a scorecard to measure our efforts. One "win" that I saw last Sunday morning was the fact we had 87% of people in a small group Bible study. Add to the fact we had other people involved in a small group outside of Sundaymorning and that number is even higher! That is a win as we "create" disciples in small group environments!

I hope to see you not only in worship this Sunday but also in a small group either Sunday morning or one of the other Relationship Principles of Jesus groups that meet throughout the week.

In Him,

Pastor Tommy

P.S. This Sunday we will look at Loving people with our words. I know it will be of help to you!

P.P.S. The Sunday morning small group I am part of is going out to eat at Gezzo's Surf & Grille this Sunday after church. If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you!

Friday, September 04, 2015

9/4/15 FBC McDonough West Campus Update- Pursue Hospitality This Weekend!

Dear West Campus Family,

I recently read a quote from Steve Childers, a seminary professor and leading church planting strategist. He was meeting with some pastors for a seminar and raised this question to them: "You know what the key to evangelism in the 21st-century will be, don't you?" After a long pause he answered his own question: "Hospitality." 

As we continue to employ our "Reach...Connect...Multiply" strategy for this new school year, one of the most important ways we will reach others is through hospitality. The most important tool we have in our toolbox to engage with those outside the Christian faith is our own homes and sharing a meal with our neighbors. 

I am currently reading a book by Tony Merida entitled Ordinary: How To Turn the World Upside Down. Dr. Merida pastors a church in the Raleigh-Durham area and they have grown over the last two years significantly with no advertising at their church. When new people come in and ask about programs they have at the church and how they can get involved, Pastor Merida tells them, "Invite somebody over for dinner." They don't have a ton of programs in their church because they want their people having other people over for meals throughout the week so gospel conversations can take place.

Hospitality is not about entertaining people. "Entertaining" guests is about impressing others; hospitality is about serving others.  Hospitality literally means "love for strangers." Dr. Merida states, "Hospitality is what we extend to outsiders, strangers, and those in physical and spiritual need."

Hospitality is seen throughout the Old and New Testament. It was the heart of the early church. In fact, look at the life of Jesus. He was constantly eating with people, and even gets labeled a "glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" He even eats in the homes of the hated tax collectors, like Levi and Zacchaeus. 

In his book Eating Your Way Through Luke's Gospel, Robert Karris says throughout the gospel of Luke Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal. Luke gives attention to Jesus' ministry at the dinner table. 

Lest we think this is a nice thing for some to do but optional, the Bible commands us in Romans 12:13 "...pursue hospitality." 1 Peter 4:9 states, "Be hospitable to one another without complaining." Hospitality is so important that one of the qualifications for  pastors is hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8)

The Labor Day weekend is upon us. You may be grilling some burgers at home this weekend. Why don't you make it a point to invite some neighbors over and join you? I believe this is one of the best ways we as a church can be on mission for Jesus in our own community. Oh, and as we continue our message series this Sunday about love, this is one the best ways you can love your neighbor as yourself!

Loving God and loving my neighbors alongside you, 

Pastor Tommy

P.S. Thank you West Campus family for my 1 year anniversary cards and gifts. So unexpected yet greatly appreciate. You guys are the best!

Friday, May 15, 2015

6E Strategy

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Randy Mullinax of the Georgia Baptist Convention share what is known as the 6E Strategy of evangelism. Sometimes we label things we do in the church as evangelism that may not qualify as evangelism. He states three things must be in place for evangelism to occur: 1) The lost are present, 2) The Gospel is presented, 3) People are given a chance to respond. How often do churches have I had one & two in place and neglect the third part?

Randy states there are six evangelism strategies we can weave into the fabric of our church. Let me share those with you:
1) Prayer Evangelism:  This is praying for the lost by name. Every small group/Sunday School class should be praying for the lost. One church saw nine people come to Christ in a revival; all nine were on the prayer list.
2) Ministry Evangelism: This is the helping people part by meeting needs (physical, financial, etc.)
3) Team Evangelism: This is where we as church do outreach together. It may involve a visitation night where we go out and make visits as a church but we also provide opportunities for people to write cards and make phone calls as well.
4) The Sunday Morning Experience: Yes, our Sunday morning worship service is an evangelism opportunity. That's why it is incredibly important we have greeters, proper signage, a great children and student ministry, and we clearly present the gospel.
5) Personal Evangelism: This is where people in our church share the gospel. My mind immediately thinks of Bill Sawyer. Some months back I went to lunch with him and then he took me to pick up my car in the shop. He had shared his faith with the cashier and the mechanic and just about everyone else we came into contact with!
6) Event Evangelism: These are block parties, Fall Festivals, revivals, etc. Again, one must remember that the lost must be present, the gospel is presented, and there is an opportunity to respond.

Looking at the baptism rate of our West Campus, there is much room for improvement. What can God do if we put much prayer and action into these six areas? I'm excited to find out!