Reconnecting Through Prayer
To Seek and to Save
By Nancy Canwell
There's a church in the North Pacific Union that's on a mission. The active members are diligently seeking out the church's non-attending members. Sure, they could sit and wait for members to come back on their own. This sometimes happens. When there's a crisis or a softening of hearts, some have mustered up the courage to walk through the church doors on their own. But it doesn't happen very often.
This particular church wanted to know what was going on with their non-attending members. Had they moved? Were they attending another nearby Adventist Church? Why did they quit attending? The church wanted to find answers.
The pastor formed a small group of active church members to sit down and go over the membership list together-one name at a time. The clerk was invited, as well as members who had been around long enough to know "who was who." It took two meetings and a total of six hours. When they were finished, the committee was surprised and saddened to realize that although they had nearly 200 members attending each Sabbath, their actual membership was over 450! That's a lot of family to be missing....
The committee members' information was valuable. Many knew if individuals had moved away, whether they were attending a nearby Adventist church, whether they were housebound, etc. And there was also the, "She hasn't been to church since so-and-so hurt her feelings" and "He doesn't come because he's upset about how the landscaping project was handled."
The committee's work is now finish-but the project is just beginning! One of the church elders is now in charge of setting up a visitation program so that each of the local non-attending members can be visited. The church wants to not only invite them back, but also to find out why they left, and if they have any needs the church can meet.
Read the above text again. Jesus didn't come to simply save the lost. He came to "seek" and save the lost. So if Jesus seeks, then shouldn't we? Shouldn't we go out and find our non-attending members wherever they are? We can't build friendships and invite them back unless we seek, find, and ask.
Prayer Focus: Pray that we won't wait for the "lost sheep" to find his or her way home, but instead follow Jesus' example and search until each one is found. And if anyone needs to be carried home, we will gladly do so.
Recommended Resource: "Visitation Team Ministry Description" from Advent Source.