Plenary Session 1 (contintued- part 2)
Americans who describe themselves as Christians- 86% in 1990 to 76% in 2010.
“I have no faith” has doubled in last 20 years- 13%- 26% of young adults.
Old conservative approach Adam grew up in has been rejected by young adults. 40% of young adults are not pursuing a spiritual life in any organixzed fashion.
These people need people in the church to see them as Jesus saw them. “Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus met them where they were, at their point of need- food, healing… weddings.:)
If your congregation is going to view non-religious people with compassion, it’s because they’re leaders see them this way. They need to see what lengths you will go to to connect with non-religious people.
3-4 Simple Ideas for how to meet people at their point of need (these are not hard, but they require intentionality)
1. Reach young moms.
Where might you start in connecting with them?
Adam showed a video about COR’s “Building Better Moms” ministry- BBM. (My wife and I are expecting our first child this December, so this really hit home.)
Adam interviewed two leaders from Building Better Moms. The provide moms fellowship and a way to serve in projects together. Both ladies spoke about how they were definitely “nominally religious” before the program. Some moms get involved in BBM before attending a worship service.
Adam asked what moms are feeling who don’t have a network of friends. The ladies said, “Alone, wanting more information, support, especialy those who don’t have family near by.
Currently 13 groups and 547 moms involved. Middle school moms are one of the highest attended groups!:)
UMW average age is above 65, and they’re not having any more babies. A young mom doesn’t find the same connection she needs from women her age.
Find a couple of young moms and support them apart from UMW. Then develop mentoring relationships between older women and younger women. UMW has the greatest evangelistic potential in the church.
Churches often try to figure out ways to make it harder for non-members to have weddings there. They charge more, etc.
Print friendly, exciting materials, ask that couples visit the worship service a couple of times to see how it feels to them, hold pre-marital counseling classes with a counselor.
Couples who aren’t part of the church get to meet couples who are. That last meeting is with a pastor. When the pastor prays for them it may be the first time a person has prayed for them since they have been adults. Adam incorporates the couple’s story into the wedding ceremony- “Anything you say and write can be used against you in your wedding ceremony”.:)
Much of the material is from Adam’s book Leading Beyond the Walls (a great book!)
Adam shares his own marriage story. Adam and LaVon got married when they were 17 and 18 respectively! After 28 years of marriage, they have become different people. They grew apart and then came back together. They fell out of love and back into love. Marriage is about promising to love each other forever.
Marriage, from a Christian perspective, is a sacred calling. You will be the chief sanctifying instrument in your spouse’s life. When I don’t feel love but I still do love, I begin to eventaully feel love again. Adam prays for his wife 5 times a day. Adam prays for his wife when he kneels next to the bed in the morning and at night. He listens to her breathe, then he thanks God for her and asks to be faithful to her and a blessing to her and to be the husband God wants him to be.
Adam shares from Colossians 3- “compassion, kindness, bear with each other, forgive whatever grievances, let teh peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and be grateful…” It’s the best wedding advicve he knows, and he invites them to church.
Adam’s wedding homily- first 3 minutes is their story. The next 5 minutes is about Christian marriage. He starts with Adam and Eve (Gen. 2) God forms a human out of dust and places him in paradise, but God saw that something was missing in the man’s life. God formed the “new and improved model” of the man. man- “She is like me and yet maddening different from me.
Then tell their stories. “This is what you said you love about ___”. “This is why you said you want to marry ____”.
“Some of the married couples in this room don’t feel in love with each other right now. You love until you feel in love again.”
Adam has 8 stories he tells in wedding sermons. He rotates them. One is about a married couple in which the wife developed a brain tumor. They had two elementary age children. The husband called Adam and asked him to come to visit. The husband had just finished bathing dressing the wife and fixing her hair and makeup. He carried her down the stairs, made sandwiches and placed bites into her mouth.
This marriage was no longer about sexual intimacy, excitement or fun. It was about a promise to love and to care to have and to hold. Denise asked that her ashes be scattered at COR.
Then tell an uplifting story.:)