BARNS, 'BURBS, AND BOULEVARDS.
(Evidence of the redemptive influence of KDWC churches in the rural, suburban, and urban communities of Kansas)
Each "targeted guest" (cutout silhouette character adapted from a police target) had a label on their front, such as "Lonely Widow," "Laid-off Factory Worker," "Nice Guy Down the Street," "Domestic Abuse Victim", "Rancher," "Kid Who Doesn't Fit In," etc. These "guests" were scattered throughout the sanctuary (see photos).
Pastor David writes, "It was a lot of fun watching everyone's reactions - the chain smoker next to one of the kids made a few people nervous but the two got along great, the young single mother with her preschooler fit right in among some of the older families with grandkids, one family had to politely ask their cardboard guests if they could scoot down a bit to make room, and a single gal in her 20's finally found her tall, dark, and handsome rancher guy (he was speechless, but great company).
"Several commented on how much fuller the sanctuary felt. We hit a new high attendance of 57 - normal is upper 30's/low 40's - so with 26 cardboard guests, we now know what the sanctuary looks and feels like with 83 people present.
"And as we moved toward the message and emphasized the everyday people we come in contact with who need Jesus and need to know that we care, we watched this video portrayal of Casting Crowns' "Every Man". Powerful!
"More than anything, we wanted people to see the "lost" and "unchurched" as real people in our own neighborhoods that they can connect with - not some ethereal idea or concept, but people that many of them already know. And then after our evening Bible Study, the youth and adults gathered in the sanctuary to pray for the people God wants us to reach and for next Sunday's kickoff of "the alternative" contemporary worship service, with several going around the room praying specifically that God would help us connect with these people, open doors for ministry to them, and eventually replace the cardboard guests with actual people.
"Oh, and we met the 'server at the restaurant' at lunch afterwards - somebody one of us already knew (and who had already heard about the alternative service), so she got a hand-delivered invitation - and I don't think I've ever seen someone so excited!
"Can't wait to see what else God has in store for us here."
A hot-off-the-press report from the General Secretary's office of The Wesleyan Church notes the following highlights that are worth a moment of celebration and an expression of thanks to the One we serve.
q Primary worship attendance exceeded 200,000 for the first time in the church's history.
q The increase in worship attendance is a 3.8%, the largest single-year increase since 1997.
q The number of persons saved and the number baptized both represent healthy gains of 7.7% and 9.1% respectively over the previous year.
q In spite of the economy, total giving is up slightly by more than $2 million.