Sunday, September 7, 2014

Moving Forward - What's Next for Freedom Church?

The meeting we held was very educational for us. It's often been said that we learn more from failure than from success. The informational meeting stands as proof of that. For those who are curious, no one came, not even a couple of people who had offered to help do some of the work at the meeting. Not one person joined us. To say the least, we were disappointed and a little hurt. However, from such beginnings and missteps, we learn to go forward. That is precisely what we are doing. So, first what did we learn?

In truth, we weren't ready to hold a meeting yet. We hadn't generated enough interest in helping nor had we shared the vision with enough people. In order for anyone to want to help with a ministry, they need to hear the vision. Our initial hope was that by holding a meeting to share the vision, we would connect with people of like mind but that was not the case. Of course, it didn't help that we were foolish enough to hold it on one of the most traveled weekends of the year. When the date was set, it was simply because it coincided with a vacation that was already scheduled not even thinking about Labor Day being Monday. Oops.

Second, we didn't promote it well. The thinking was that if we did the first with people we knew, it would be a friendly audience for the first one. Call it a test run. We did try some promotion using Facebook which was an utter failure. Let's just say that the expectation set by the ad manager and the reality were something entirely different. We will still use it but not to promote an event. Since trying it, I've checked for results with people who did the same thing and the results were always less than stellar.

This is hard. We knew there would be stumbles and missteps. We expected opposition from several directions. On neither count have we been wrong. That doesn't alter our resolve to see the Glory of God in what He called us to do. It does mean that we need to check our methodology and make certain we're doing this the way He told us to do it. Some changes are being made but the vision and direction are not.

Going forward, we are not going to hold informational meetings like the one we just attempted, at least not until the Lord tells us otherwise. We are looking for other opportunities to share the vision with congregations to raise funds and support for the mission. Local churches may hesitate to let us in as perhaps they see us as a competitor for people and tithes, but that isn't our heart. What we have been called to do is so unique that most of the people in any given congregation may support our efforts and encourage us but are not likely to join us. That was the experience we had when we were serving in the inner city of Peoria and there is no reason to expect a different reaction now. We need the help and the finances that they can provide either in one-time offerings or a monthly support as a mission organization.

In the short term, we will be starting some of the ministries that Freedom Church will be offering to allow us to connect with people better. One of the first will be the small group ministry. Soon, we'll be starting at least one group with more to be added as leaders and hosts become available. Not only will this provide the opportunity for people to come and join in Biblical teaching and discussion, but also a chance for someone who doesn't know Jesus to be introduced to Him in a safe and less intimidating environment than a traditional church service. We'll be announcing other ministries as they come on line.

As often as time allows, we'll also be posting short video messages. These will be more than just updates on our progress or vision casting. The message of Freedom Church is more than a vision. It's the law of liberty, the freedom brought by the shed blood of Jesus. That's what we'll share. Simple Gospel messages and short teachings. There will be updates and vision videos periodically, but the Gospel is the heart of our mission so that's what we'll share.

As  a true launch, we are planning something very special. No details quite yet, but it will be all about finding freedom in Jesus and provide the church at large with some real teaching and resources. When we are ready, we'll share more details here and all over the place. When we say it's something the church in this area needs and is right up Freedom Church's alley, we aren't kidding. Even if someone has no interest in joining us, they will want to come to this.