Friday, September 16, 2005

Sunday is the Big One!

My kids are talking all about this Sunday's Fall Kick-Off. Hope you're plannning to be there. Hope you're inviting others to join us. Here's the invite card and email I sent to the congregation earlier this week. . . .

Dear Grace Church Family,

We are just days away from our 2005 Fall Kick-Off this Sunday, September 18. THIS IS THE BIG ONE! Many thanks to all who have made reservations! IF BY CHANCE YOU HAVEN'T RSVP'D, BUT ARE PLANNING TO COME, PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL THE CHURCH OFFICE NOW! We are expectantly planning and praying for 1200 at our big day. It looks to be a great day together.

I thought a few reminders might be helpful. . . .

1. REMEMBER, our one outdoor worship service will begin at 10:00 AM! If you show up at 9:00, you will be happily put to work on last minute set-up details. If you arrive at 10:45, you will have missed most of the service. See you at 10:00!

2. PARKING: I want to encourage you to arrive early and park in the nearby city parking garage on the corner of Morro and Pacific streets. It's free on Sundays. It would be so neat to offer all nearby and available street parking and our parking lot to those from our community who join us as guests. What a great way to welcome and serve our visitors!

3. ARRIVAL: Upon arrival you will be met at our entrances by our Welcome Team who will fill out name tags for you as you walk to our seating area. Please help us by entering at the designated entry points. Guests will have red name tags, while regular attendees will be given gold.

4. SEATING: We have reserved 800 chairs. We're praying it's standing room only on Sunday! Please move as far to the middle and fill in any empty chairs in your row. There will be a designated area for families with young children who prefer to sit on the grass, but please bring your own blanket. Ushers will help seat you and offer you a worship folder for the morning which includes all songs and Scripture readings. Throughout the day be looking around you and warmly welcome any guests within your immediate vicinity. "Welcome to Grace" is a wonderful way to greet new faces! Introduce yourself and your family.

5. LUNCH: Lunch will be served at 11:30, immediately after we worship. Our commitment is to serve our guests first. Planning for food has been an enormous challenge. We have done the best we can, but in the event that we run out of food, we don't want any of our guests to not be fed. All guests will be given guest bags with a yellow meal ticket in them. They will be asked to fill out that ticket and present it for their free lunch. They will be given a raffle ticket to be placed in the raffle box for a chance to win the prize of their choice. (Don't worry, you'll get a ticket for raffle prizes, too! You're going to want to, because the prizes are incredible this year!) While you're waiting for your turn to eat, pick up your chair and bring it to the designated chair area. Also, be looking for, welcoming and helping guests find the food line.

6. FUN: Included in your worship folder will be a map of the park with fun zones clearly designated. Fun (volleyball, face painting, slip 'n slide, sumo wrestling, etc.) officially begins at 12:30 PM. Be listening to the K-Life folks as they make announcements and draw raffle tickets throughout the afternoon. Be looking for, meeting and greeting guests all through the afternoon!

• Be thinking of who you might still invite to join us. Follow up with those you have casually invited and ask them if they think they're going to make it. Are there a few friends and families that you could invite by email? At the bottom of this message we've included of a sample email you might send to friend or two. If you don't like what we've written, create your own message. The title of my message is "Jesus, a New and Living Way" from Hebrews 10:19-25. I will be talking about how the Gospel is all about a new way to approach God, a new way to view and experience the world and a new way to relate and live with others. This Sunday will introduce our Fall Vision series that will focus on Gospel community. . . . who we are and who we're becoming. Let's model true Gospel community this Sunday!

• Pray like crazy in advance of Sunday, that we would be salt and light in our little world. That we would be the church, all that God intends. That God would work among us and through us. That we would faithfully and joyfully celebrate, proclaim and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ. That our Great God would exalt His Name!

One final thought. . . .in the midst of all this excitement and hard work, let's remember it's not by might, not by power, but by God's Spirit that folks are won to Christ. Let's abide in Jesus the true vine. Let's be faithful to do our part and expend ourselves for the glory of our gracious God. Let's make it clear that Jesus is a new and living way! I'll see you on Sunday. I can't wait. . . .

Because of the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim

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