Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Let Your Church Be All About the One Stray Sheep This Christmas
by Rick Warren
As you know, people will show up at your church for Christmas that won’t show up any other time during the year. Here are three ways to help them see the importance of Christmas –
Remind them that they need a rescuer. Sheep who are lost can’t save themselves. If a sheep’s rescue is completely dependent upon itself, he’s a lost cause. He needs a rescuer. People do too. Lost in the pretty Christmas cards, festive parties and frantic gift-buying is the fact that Christmas is, first and foremost, a rescue mission. The Bible says humanity is enslaved to sin. Those without a relationship with Jesus desperately need Him to rescue them from that sin. Without Jesus, they truly have no hope.
Help them see what Jesus says about their deepest needs. When people show up at your church this Christmas they’re coming with many needs. Many have been crushed by the world around them. They’ve lost marriages, children, jobs—and hope. Only Jesus can recover what they’ve lost. Like the coin that the woman lost in Luke 15, they can’t help themselves—and often they don’t really know they’re lost. But like the woman in the story, their Heavenly Father is searching unceasingly for them.
Connect them with their Heavenly Father. Like the prodigal son, we all need to be connected to our Heavenly Father. Many of the unchurched who will visit your church this Christmas won’t believe God will accept them for who they are. The truth is, no matter what they’ve done, who they’ve hurt or how they’ve been treated, God loves them immensely. He loves them enough to send His Son so He can have a relationship with them.
Jesus loved lost people. He loved spending time with them. He went to their parties. From the Gospels it is obvious that Jesus enjoyed being with seekers far more than being with religious leaders. He was called the “friend of sinners.” (Luke 7:34)
Take the cue from the Good Shepherd in Luke 15 and let your church be all about the one stray sheep this Christmas.