This blog was completed by Mr. Damien “Chip” Dizard, and after he sent it to me, I could not resist the urge to post to my blog. Please feel free to give feedback! Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. Enjoy!
Church has been a mainstay in my life for years. I remember my dad parting my hair from east to west every week before church. I remember being told when in church all the earth should keep silent.
I remember church like it was yesterday. I grew up at Liberty seventh day Adventist church. I remember moving around from building to building until we finally left.
I remember my mom and my dad spending hours at church board meetings and then coming home frustrated with things. This is how I remember church.
I never had a bad experience at church. I just never had an experience.
In my college years I got tired of going to church. Or if I went it was to check out a girl or grab a free meal. Back then, the hype church was Capitol Hill SDA where Wintley Phipps was the pastor. I attended Columbia union college (now Washington Adventist university) and the fellas made sure we had the fresh cuts and suits in order to impress the ladies and be seen.
But I was tired. I was tired of the same thing with no comittment. So I quit church. I left without a trace. I would show up for special days and to tell my parents I was going and I gave money occasionally. But I had no real connection, and my friends which weren’t into church didn’t understand why I went to church anyway.
Years later, my big play sister Sharon invited me to a church. It was in the ghetto of Baltimore and the name was Miracle Temple. She said I should come and hear the preacher. I wasn’t really interested, but when someone you respect invites you and feeds you after, you oblige. I went on the first Saturday of the year in 2000 and a preacher named Freddie Russell was talking about vision. I was confused, I didn’t think I was in a business setting, but he had a powerpoint and was stating where the church needed to go. I was intrigued and wanted to know how a preacher could give a powerpoint and not a hell-fire breathing sermon on the first day of the year. It was Y2K and everyone was afraid that the end was near. Pastor Russell may have missed that memo.
After church I introduced myself and I came back again and again. I invited people. They came with me. I even attended prayer meeting. This was different. This was the “unchurch.” In the next few years I joined and became lead webmaster and then in charge of media, but it was all because from an invite from a friend.
How can we use friendship evangelism in our local churches? In the next series of blogs I will lay out how to make our churches more “seeker” friendly and how to reclaim them for the 20-30 crowd.