The church is a going place, that needs going leaders who clearly explain to the body of believers where the group is going and how it is to go. In this, my final expansion of my first thought (the church is a going place), I want to toss out some subjective practicalities for us to consider on how to go. These may not fit every body of believers ... and clearly they are not THE SOLUTION (did someone put that somewhere? I can't find it.). Nor can I point to my church and say, "See, this is how you do it." So why should you read my list? (1) It is free. (2) You came here voluntarily (even if you hit 'next blog'). (3) These could spark some ideas of your own, which I invite you to share with us! To Go.... 1. Establish a Bible study in your home for six weeks. As far as I know you do not need a church sanction to do this. Make sure the study is for building up, not tearing down. 2. Walk around your neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors when you see them. Help them with whatever they're doing. Hey... why not invite them to your house for the Bible study. 3. Put this sign on the church door next Sunday: We are worshiping at the park. Bring a picnic luch, with extra to share. See you in an hour. 4. Hang out at Wal-Mart. Yeah... for like ... two hours. Wander up and down the aisles with a basket. Don't look for sales ... look for people you know. Talk to them. Do not hand them a tract. Invite them to your home for Bible study, or to the park for worship, or to church at the church building if that's what you've got. 5. Have a concert in the park ... call it ... I don't know... Praising in the Park or something ... let it be free, let it be loud, let it rock the park, let it be a time to talk to people you don't know. Give people a cup of cold water on a hot summer day in the park. 6. Buy a dozen cheap umbrellas and the next rainy afternoon go drive around and give them to people walking without an umbrella. Tell them you are giving them this in the name of Jesus. 7. Get with two other people in your church. Pray together for a season about how God wants you to go. Well... then as a trio you go as God directs. 8. Hold up a "John 3:16" sign at a ball game. (OK, I'm kidding) 9. At Church, never sit in your same seat. What...you want people to come to you? GO sit with anyone you don't know and get to know them. 10. Volunteer....somewhere. Habitat for Humanity, the hospital, the soup kitchen, the homeless shelter, boys club / girls club, children's home... somebody in your community needs help so they can help others. Church Leaders.... *Make sure that you do all you can to make visitors to the assembly know that they are welcomed, and welcomed to return, but with no pressure to conform to the rituals. (One form of 'going' is to be open to those who have come directly to you!) *Have a friend attend worship and sit with your family. Good examples speak loudly. *Encourage more things to happen off of the church property. *Release your preacher from some of his tasks, and ask him to spend some time walking downtown once a week, just greeting and talking to people. *Think about what you can do to help the church develop more relationally. Read the books, they have bunches of ideas. Get rid of pews and get round tables. Do not be afraid of small groups. Have more FAMILY activities instead of children/youth/young marrieds/seniors all going in different directions. *Have serious discipleship opportunities provided to the church. *Help people find positive expression for their spiritual gifts. *Open yourself up to all things connective ... reach out to our culture ... make yourself uncomfortable. Light a bunch of candles next Sunday and turn out the lights. Sing and pray to candlelight like your first century brothers. Use movie clips, if someone has a song let them sing it (got Bible for that one!), even go 'unplugged' some Sunday just to shake things up. Sponsor a coffee house at your building and invite the public to hear some Christian music, have some free coffee, and conversation. Better yet, go sit at the coffee house in your community and talk to some lost people (I know some of you just fainted). Forgo formality, embrace ritual. (Formality pretends we do not know we are sinners; ritual turns our eyes to God who forgives us and gives us life.) Rituals in worship include communion, scripture reading, prayer, responsive readings, and greeting/invitation rituals. For the more creative, prayer stations - readings - testimonials - and art. *Be strong and clear on moral issues as directed in Scripture; Be clear about the basics of our faith; be clear about who we are and where we are going and how to go. Express these things often. Remind. Convict. I'm just tossing these things out as they come to my mind. Perhaps you are disappointed? I am too. For all my talk about being a going people, my ideas seem pretty elementary. Still, if I am not going currently, taking one of these and running with them for a bit may push me out of my comfort zone, into a place where new ideas can propel me further into the world with His light. Your ideas / remarks / reactions are solicited.