Today’s blog entry is by guest blogger, Dr. Parnell Lovelace.
Recently, I experienced some difficulty accessing information on my laptop. After attempting several times to use the password I had entered previously on the site, it became apparent that the only option was to reset the password. The old password simply was not working. This experience helped me to consider what is often the case with many churches that attempt to access the culture through old entry points.
This week, a funeral was held at our church for a young man that had been murdered in a shooting in our city. Although the young man did not regularly attend our church, we sought to comfort the family by hosting his funeral service. It was clear that those attending the funeral were predominantly either un-churched or disconnected from the church. Before the service, our ministry team discussed security and how to maintain order among the anticipated crowd. It was remarkable to see our pastor removing potential barriers between the church culture and the attendees. He sought to engage them in the following ways:
- He found out the street name of the young man that was killed (One Way) and used the name to integrate into a forthright presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- He opened the service with an upbeat song that engaged the entire audience, asking everyone to stand and clap to celebrate the life of the young man.
- The pastor diffused the anger of some of the deceased’s friends by challenging them to honor the life of the young man and his family. He specifically asked them to refrain from actions that would disrupt the service and lead to potential harm or retaliation.
- He presented an altar call, allowing individuals to respond to a clear invitation to follow Jesus Christ.
The pastor and the congregation reset themselves towards a group of people that had not been reached by traditional methods of evangelism. This required strong biblical convictions and patient bearing with the brokenness of sin. Likewise, we are all given opportunities to engage with others in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable cultural context. However, our call is to reset and allow the Holy Spirit access to these places for His Name’s sake.
Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr., MSW, D.Min.
Lovelace Leadership Connection
Rancho Cordova, California
As the successful founding pastor of 3000 member Center of Praise Ministries, Sacramento, California, Parnell M Lovelace, Jr. serves as an apostolic strategist, merging the Church with the social constructs of urban community. He holds a MSW, University of Oklahoma; MPTH Oral Roberts University, and D.Min., Talbot School of Theology.