07 March 2012

Time to Invite- for Easter Sunday!

one of my professors as i pursued my doctorate at wesley theological seminary in washington, d.c. was dr. lovett weems, director of the lewis center for church leadership. he recently shared this post on inviting friends and colleagues for worship. as we approach easter sunday, april 8, please begin to pray for persons to invite to worship with you. the oak lawn church is such a vital, unique place that we have an incredible opportunity to share God's story with others!   - pastor frank

In the last year, several friends who live in different parts of the country have returned to church after a number of years of inactivity. This is encouraging and counter to the national trend since 2002 of fewer people attending church. There are two striking characteristics among these church returners.

None returned to a church of their former denomination.

All returned because they were invited by a friend.

Inviting friends to church or even a church-related activity is much less common and comfortable today for many church members than it once was. However, the recent Faith Communities Today research on growing and declining churches found that the strongest positive relationship to growth among programs and activities was “the extent to which a congregation is involved in evangelism or recruitment.” These churches exhibit a major orientation toward inviting others.

Does this outward, invitational ethos characterize your church’s members?

Many rightfully admire the remarkable example of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection near Kansas City in growing from a new church start in 1990 to one of the largest mainline congregations in the United States. One of the characteristics of Resurrection from the beginning — and modeled by its gifted pastor Adam Hamilton — is to identify a few important next steps they need to take each year. Adam recently described the three (notice there are not 10 or 12!) priorities for 2012.

One of Resurrection’s three goals for 2012 is that “each member of the church will be called to and equipped for a renewed practice of inviting our friends, neighbors and colleagues.” Pastor Hamilton reminded members that “most people who come to faith in Christ do so because a trusted friend shared their faith or invited them to church. The impact of each of us sharing Christ with others is astounding.”

This is a good reminder that whether your church numbers its members in the thousands or dozens, the call of Jesus to share the Good News with others as a natural result of God’s love for us is the work not merely of a pastor, staff, or a committee — essential as they are — but of all who bear the name Christian.

02 March 2012

Join Us This Easter at Oak Lawn!

Welcome to the Oak Lawn Church! We are very proud to be a diverse congregation, where everyone is affirmed as a child of God. If you are looking for a church home, we'd love for you to join us this Easter Day, Sunday April 8.

We are very excited about Easter Day worship at Oak Lawn this year. We will offer three Easter worship experiences. The first, at 7:00 a.m., will be an informal sunrise  service. The others, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., will be traditional services. A breakfast will be shared at 10:00 a.m., as well as story time for the children at 10:30. We surround Easter with fun, community oriented activities as well. The Blessing of Animals celebrates the beauty of God's creation and honors our animal friends. Easter Eggstravanganza is a day of fun activities for children and families. The Sunday after Easter is "Sneaker Sunday," outdoor worship followed by a picnic. Please join us this year for a wonderful Oak Lawn Easter!

The Blessing of Animals, Saturday March 31
11:00 a.m.

Easter Eggstravaganza, Saturday April 7
10:00-12:00 noon

Easter Day Worship, Sunday April 8
7:00 a.m. Sunrise Service
9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Traditional Services
10:00 Breakfast and Story Time for Children

Sneaker Sunday, April 15
11:00 a.m. Outdoor Worship, followed by picnic

The Peace and Joy of the Easter Season be with you!
- Pastor Frank
For more information about Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, click here.