The Access Strategy
So, if our purpose is to make disciples (or as we say, lead people into growing relationships with Jesus Christ), how do we do that? How do we pull it off?
Well, Jesus seemed to have only one plan for accomplishing this, the local church.
Maybe when you think about a local church you imagine a steeple, pulpit, robes, ritual, and tradition. And maybe Access Church rocks that image a bit. But the Bible teaches the church is any group of Christ-followers who are pursuing intimacy with God and community with each other. Jesus thinks of a group of people that are making a difference in the world around them. Access Church is one of those local churches. We’re not just a campus ministry or people blowing through town. With our whole hearts we have embraced this city and this mission.
So if making disciples is the destination, and we are the local church, then the question becomes, “How do we get there?”
Since this whole thing is about relationships, we find it helpful to talk about our strategy like you would a home. Perhaps you’ve read my previous post on our foyer, living room, and kitchen.
We describe the foyer as an environment intentionally created for those outside the church to come and learn how God and the Bible matter in their lives today. There are plenty of other churches that are primarily for church people on Sunday mornings, but this church, on Sunday mornings, is also for those who are still asking significant questions about God.
Why is is this important? Because our culture is asking more spiritual questions in this generation than ever before. But this generation is also attending church in the lowest numbers ever in our nation’s history.
Christians, and the church, as USA Today said this week, are suffering from seriously low approval ratings.
We wanted to create a church for people that don’t really like church. That’s our foyer. We’ve seen this work in 17 other cities across North America. We know it’s working because people who don’t even understand or agree with our message are inviting their friends!
The foyer isn’t for us. It’s not for the volunteers. It’s not even for you. The foyer is for your friends. For this community. And mostly for God, who deserves their worship.
The best sentence I’ve found to describe this foyer strategy to people is to say, “We are more concerned with reaching people than we are with keeping people.”
When you understand our purpose for the foyer, becoming a part of a small group (the kitchen) becomes even more important. The fact that our Sunday morning environment is for unchurched people means that community groups become even more important for believers, and November 4—GroupLink—should be in HUGE red letters on your calendar.
Access Church has a clear strategy for getting there, because we believe that navigation is every bit as important as destination. Therefore, we must provide environments that provide clear opportunities for life change to occur. Some of these environments we’ve already launched. But there are so many more that we want to launch in the months to come! Later this week I’ll reveal exactly what those are, and when we plan to launch them.