Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Invite Someone to Easter...

Easter and Christmas present unique opportunities during the liturgical year for us as followers of Jesus Christ. These two holy days, or holidays, are so ingrained into the culture of our nation that the majority of people, believers or not, find some way to celebrate these days. Only the most avid of anti-faith and anti-Christian atheist proselytes argue against the celebration of Easter and Christmas. It's an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about the Christian faith and by far the majority of people we encounter are actually far from offended when invited to Church on these special days. Christmas is important, of course, as we celebrate the incarnation of Christ, but Easter presents a unique opportunity to share with others the center of our faith and hope, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A new covenant partner who just joined our church family, reaffirming her faith, expressed that she first came to our campus on Easter a year ago. Don't underestimate the impact you can have! There are many ways to invite people to join us in the celebration of our risen Lord. Here are a few to consider:

1. The Old Fashioned Ask. For the bold and unabashed, the personal communication of a face to face invite is powerful. Often times, whether the person accepts the invite or not, this invitation lets the person know that you care enough about them to personally invite them. Here's a humorous video to help you build up the courage. If people can say yes to them, they can say yes to you! (Note: This video is dated, Easter is on March 31st this year)

2. Using an Invite Card. There are a lot of talented people who volunteer and work at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Each year we send out thousands, yes thousands, of invites out into the community. This is an easy way to let people know about the services we'll have, but when you take a card, perhaps write a note, and deliver it yourself the invite is received knowing that they aren't just a number or a mass mailing, but again someone who you thought of. If you have trouble talking to people directly this is a great option - take advantage of these resources.

3. Use a flyer at your place of business or a place you frequent often. In addition to invite cards, we have created flyers that we can put up at all our community watering holes but we need your help! Perhaps you own your on business and can take advantage of your widow space or maybe you're a regular at a place that has heavy foot traffic. Don't be afraid! See if the owner will consider putting a flyer up for you. Imagine the impact you can have on your community just by taking a few simple steps and inviting them in this non-threatening manner.

4. Take advantage of our new Sunrise Service! Sunrise services, for a myriad of reasons, are probably the easiest of the services to invite someone to. The idea of celebrating the rising sun together on the beach is intriguing and spiritual to a wide variety of people. This year we'll be hosting a sunrise service at Hightower Beach Park at 6:30 am. Our hope is that this would be an outreach to the community and attract more spiritual sojourners than perhaps the other services on our campus.

5. Go Digital! We live in a digital age. More and more, people are using electronic communications whether it be email or social media like Facebook. You can click here or download this digital image (just right click on the image and then choose "Save As") and share it as you see fit. You can also visit our Facebook page and share this digital invite with all of your Facebook friends. Take advantage of this medium and ease of invitation. Sharing funny Easter videos like the one above or perhaps one you find on YouTube are also ways that you can creatively use the digital medium to invite others.

6. Be Missional! Having just finished our study of The Tangible Kingdom Primer, how can we help but consider how we might live out this Easter missionally, as a "sent people" not just as an "invitation people." Think creatively, how can you bring Easter to people where they are, rather than trying to get them to come to church. Perhaps you could host a neighborhood egg hunt, provide an Easter gift basket for your neighbors, invite them over for an Easter-dinner, or ask your neighbors what they plan on doing for Easter and join them!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ezra Weems

While we usually use our blog for spiritual insight and reflection on life at Trinity, I can't help but be focused on such a life changing moment in our lives as we welcome our son Ezra. We've written about Sophia before, so I hope it's ok to use this as one of the ways in which we can share the joy that we have in the birth of our son.

As pastors, Benita and I are both keenly aware of the importance of names in the bible and how each name has a meaning. When we named our daughter we chose Sophia because it is the Greek word for "Wisdom" so often used in Proverbs. We have leaned hard on God's wisdom through her struggles and expect that as she continues down her path that she will have a wisdom from her experiences that she can share with others. Her middle name, Ean-eh, not only connects her with her Korean heritage but also means in Korean "love and kindness" and has a connection to Benita and her sister's Korean names. Our son's name Ezra Jin-Young Weems follows along similar lines. Ezra, of course, is found in the Old Testament and was a priest who played a major role in bringing the Jewish people back to their faith and their God. Ezra transcribed literally means "help" or "helper". His middle name, Jin-Young, is also Korean and means "Spirit of Truth".  Finally we decided together to use one last name, Weems, to bind us all together as one family.

You can read more about Ezra's first day on my personal blog which many of you have already found your way to. This last week has been characterized by a lack of sleep and an abundance of love. It's been wonderful seeing and getting to know Ezra's personality as he develops more and more. He's already begun adjusting to the day-night cycle and is allowing his mom 2-3 hour naps here and there! Benita is doing well also though it will be 6-8 weeks before she fully recovers from the C-Section operation. I'm helping out where I can, especially since she can't lift Sophia during this time and has been asked to refrain as much as possible from the stairs. 

We are so thankful to all the love and support that we've received from our church family. It is truly amazing to have so many brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandparents and family in Christ. We rejoice that Ezra comes into such a loving and supportive spiritual family. Thank you doesn't say enough for how loved we feel here at Trinity. We are so happy to share this good news of Ezra's arrival with you all!