Rachel and Cody were new in town. They were visiting various congregations to find one that fit them. One Sunday they attended The Journey Church. As they left worship a First Impressions Team member handed them a four-by-six card. On one side was the church’s vision statement, an announcement about a marriage seminar, and a QR code to register.
It was the other side that most got their attention. It repeated the title of the pastor’s message and the Bible passage: “Inasmuch” and Matthew 25:31-46. Then it had a “Call to Action” which said the following:
“As you journey through life this week, be intentional about seeing the hungry who need food, the thirsty who need water, the homeless stranger, those shivering without adequate clothes, the sick who need a visit, and those in prison who need restoration. See not only their literal condition, but the spiritual encounter they need with someone who loves them unconditionally. Be that person. Act with compassion toward them as though you were doing it to Jesus.”
Then it asked them to anonymously share their encounters with people during the week, and how they were an example of the love of Jesus. Another QR code took them to a page on the church’s website where they could post about their ministry encounters. Soon that page populated with comments from the congregation.
Rachel and Cody attended The Journey Church again the next Sunday and received another card that referenced an opportunity offered by the church. It also had a call to action from the worship theme and message that day. They saw a pattern.
One of the pastors of The Journey Church had already connected with them after their first visit. The couple called this pastor and asked to talk with him about what they were experiencing. They could not see his smile over the telephone. He knew what they wanted to know.
It was about the cards.
This pastor explained the cards in conversation. At The Journey Church the gathering of the congregation for worship was of high importance. Also important were the actions of the congregation as the scattered church throughout the week. They always designed their worship experiences around a theme for the day and a call to action to serve as the scattered church.
They began with the end in mind plus a bias toward action.
Rachel and Cody realized how every Bible passage, the message by the proclaimer, the music, the testimony, and even the video all pointed toward a unifying theme for the worship experiences. They liked that.
They also liked that after worship was over more was expected of them than just thinking, “been there and done that.” They knew they were being challenged to put the theme into practice day-by-day.
As the scattered church, their calling is to make the context in which the church ministers more loving and just. People need the Lord and to have the love of God expressed to them in word and deed.
How does your congregation take the gathered church into its context to be the scattered church throughout the week? How do you design worship with Kingdom impact in mind? How do you know the actions of the scattered church actually take place? Do you have a feedback loop?