October 9, 2014
Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,
In only a few weeks, this Christian year will conclude. Our English Ministry has been reflecting on what it means to reach out and, together, be an influence for Christ – thus, this year’s theme has been “Confluence.”
I’m happy to report that God has been stirring among us. Our members are more intentionally reaching out to guests and visitors – especially on Sundays. Members of each life stage are increasingly sharing the responsible for reaching out and ministering to their own life stage. We are now paying closer attention caring for brothers and sisters who face life transitions. And since the middle of August, the English worship attendance has eclipsed 100 (the only exception was during the weekend of the EM camping trip).
While all this encouraging, we need to be realistic. For example, like most churches, attendance rises in the fall and spring, but declines in the winter and summer.
Nevertheless, there are indicators of growth in the area of outreach. Last Sunday, I took a survey of our attendees’ Outreach Consciousness. The survey came from Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn, What Every Pastor Should Know. 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church (Baker, 2013), 15. The authors called this a measurement of “Good Commission Consciousness.” Our worshipers were asked to affirm as many of the following ten statements as they could:
Statement – Number affirmed
- I see the primary purpose of our church as sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. – 43
- I have participated in an outreach training event in the last year. – 15
- I have invited an unchurched friend or relative to a church event in the last six months. – 22
- I would support a motion to designate at least 10 percent of our church budget to outreach events and training activities. – 36
- I would prefer that the pastor call on nonmembers more often than on members. – 11
- I would be willing to take a new member or visitor home for dinner once every six months. – 30
- I have intentionally introduced myself to a new member or visitor in the past month. – 38
- I have talked with an unchurched person about my faith in the past three months. – 28
- I have prayed for a specific unchurched person in the past month. – 36
- I would be willing to be a pioneer in a new group or new church fellowship to help reach new people. – 13
I then tallied the number of affirmations based on returned surveys:
No. affirmations/ Number of surveys returned
0 – 8
1 – 2
2 – 2
3 – 7
4 – 7
5 – 15
6 – 10
7 – 8
8 – 2
9 – 0
10 – 1
Of the 62 total received (54, not including blank responses), 11 responded with seven or higher. According to the authors, “If 20 percent or more respond favorably [respond yes to seven or more of the questions], you have a congregation with a Great Commission conscience.”
In sum, I think we are pretty close to an evangelistic breakthrough. It is an encouraging sign! We have some challenges ahead of us. In the near future, I’ll share more about these and some suggestions about how we can face and overcome them. For now, here is a sample of what is your leaders are planning:
3. English ministry fellowship or retreat for married couples without kids
3. High School seniors’ meals and outings
4. Care packages for college students
In the meantime, please continue to pray for me. I am teaching a course called “Theology of Ministry” for Doctor Ministry students at San Francisco Theological Seminary this semester. Here are my students:
I miss engaging people about Christian faith and ministry at a deeper level. So this has been an enriching experience for me. I am eager to have these conversations with more people, especially with folks from Canaan!
Thanks for reading this longer update.
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries