Well it's 2 days until August, depending on wether this post counts as Friday or Saturday, and I've been reflecting alot on last July 30th - click here - and the year that has passed since then. Maybe it's the contrast between Matt Cook's group that is just coming back from Pakistan this weekend, or that we're not going on a trip to the Olympics this year, but whatever the case, it's been on my mind to reflect alot lately (see athensBlog one year contest) and God gave me a few moments today playing basketball to consider the people He has connected us to right in our neighbourhood. As I was bouncing and shooting, God showed me just how multicultural the area is and how He has brought many people to us.
The most obvious, and I'll repeat the link - here- was our Chinese/Jamaican neighbours down the street Tien, Mindy and Paula, who I wrote about last July 30th. Tien, who is 6, often drops by quite unexpectedly and even invites himself over for dinner. :) They are about 8 houses down from us, and we've had many good chats with them since meeting them last year. They are right across from our Chinese friends Sherri & Fung, the first neighbours we met on the street. Their house caught on fire the first week we moved in and through miraculous circumstances they ended up at our place filling out police reports while Hayley tried to watch their 2 kids, along with ours. A few times we have visited them with the Jesus video, books or other chinese Christians for meals (we even took Isaiah & Isabelle along once for the fish-heads :). In fact, just yesterday Hayley had a good chat with Sherri about putting her son in daycare.
Thinking about daycare now, I look over to about 5 houses in the other direction where Kip and his daughter Erika live. Erika is in the same class in daycare as Lukas. Come to think of it Lukas is the only white kid in the class...maybe even the daycare! Thank you Lord for this area! Next door to Erika is Stany and his two daughters Lydia and Cadia, from Somalia. Last year both girls came to the daycamp and they even came to church once! Hmmm...come to think of it Kamran & Anila and their family from Pakistan also only came to church once, for Christmas, even though we've had many good bible studies. A new girl who moved in down the street Katherine, and her mom came once. Rebecca, from the daycare, and her mom only came only once. Names flooded my mind - Quentine, Jamoy and now the latest person who only came once is Kimberly. Man, I thought, there have been alot of people over the past year who we have built relationships with, gotten on a spiritual level and then brought to church, but only came once. Why is that, I began to wonder as my lay-ups bounced off the rim. Is it only me? Do other full-time workers face this dillema?
It must be a good thing that these people are at least coming. Or is it? Why are they coming and not staying? Does everyone have this problem at their assembly? Does every assembly put so much effort into outreach, but make so little connection to "church on Sunday". Why are people so drawn to us and our outreaches, but won't come for the "main event" on Sunday? Why don't we talk about this more?
As I thought of these questions, our neighbours 2 doors down came outside (which is rare, the husband is a limo-taxi driver and is barely home) to drape an Iraqi flag over their car. It seemed like after a while they were trying to attach it on the antenna, but took it inside when they were unsuccessful. I haven't made much contact with them at all, and wondered what would happen if I did? Would they also just come for one Sunday?
It made me wonder if I should put my efforts into making more contacts, or instead seek ways to connect the existing contacts to "church on Sunday". It also made me wonder if I'm alone in this dillema, or if others are experiencing this "disconnection"?
So I thought I'd blog and ask all of you - How do you connect people with church? Maybe others have ideas? What has worked for you? What has your church done? Do you find there is a "disconnect"? Am I crazy here?