"MORE ON THE CHURCH OF LOVE!"--MO Sept. 19, 1977 DO No.632
--How To Put It into Practice.
Copyrighted November 1977 by the Children of God
1. I BELIEVE THAT DREAM I HAD IS AN ANSWER TO REACHING SOME PEOPLE WE CANNOT REACH ANY OTHER WAY. You've heard it already, "The Church of Love", where in vision I saw something like a chapel in a home, a "Church of Love."
2. SOME PEOPLE HAVE GOT THE CHURCH-GOING HABIT, but what if they're fed up with the Catholic Church or their own church, whatever it is? Especially young Catholics, when their small children start coming along, feel the need to go back to church, some church, something.
3. THEY REALISE THEY'RE INCOMPETENT AND INCAPABLE OF REALLY REARING THEIR CHILDREN RELIGIOUSLY, spiritually. That's where a lot of the Sunday Schools get their kids, from young couples going back to church for the first time in years after they begin to feel guilty and a responsibility for their children because they want to get them to church.
4. A LOT OF THOSE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO GO BACK to the Catholic Church or their old church. They're fed up with it and know it hasn't satisfied and they just don't want to do it.
5. I THINK WE COULD REACH THEM IF WE HAD SOMETHING THAT EVEN RESEMBLED CHURCH, that met as a regular meeting in our colonies every Sunday morning, which is when most people are used to going to church, or even better, Sunday afternoon. A lot of families want to go for a Sunday afternoon drive. But use whatever time happens to be best suited to your particular community, or the particular people you're trying to reach. In this case this might be the one way we could get ahold of the women and the children.
6. WHAT IF YOU DO WIN THEM TO THE LORD through personal witnessing or home-to-home visitation, whatever, then those who have been geared for church feel once they're saved, "Now I've got to go back to church." For God's sake, you don't want them to go back to what they were in before!
7. THEY SHOULD BE QUITE WILLING TO COME to the group whose member won them to the Lord. When you win someone to the Lord you usually win them to yourself too, right? So they'll probably want to go where you go, if you go to some meeting or church or whatever, savvy?
8. SO WE COULD REACH SOME OF THESE WOMEN, especially if we're already ministering to their husbands and they want to come. The wives will want to see where their husbands are going.
9. IF YOU JUST MADE IT LOOK A LITTLE RELIGIOUS at least ... I made a porch of a house once look a little bit churchy. I had rows of chairs lined up. We borrowed folding chairs from the local mortuary...--ha!
10. THE PARENTS GOT INTERESTED IN COMING TO SEE US at places like Poggio in Italy and Bromley in England, where the women and the children would come out on Sunday to visit and see what's going on. They were especially interested in how we rear our children and so on.
11. OPEN HOUSE, VISITORS DAY, CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT, JUST DO IT! We've used this method, in a way, rather irregularly, unscheduled, and it worked pretty well.
12. I TRIED THIS AS EARLY AS TSC, IF YOU RECALL, WITH A SUNDAY AFTERNOON MEETING designed for visitors. Visitor's day beginning at two or three o'clock in the afternoon. People could even go to church in the morning, go home and have their dinner and then come out and see what's going on. "We've heard about it, what's this?" And it made a nice family Sunday afternoon drive, you know? So if they want to take a Sunday afternoon drive they could come to your colony.
13. WHAT WE DID BEFORE WAS ALL VERY INFORMAL. When they came we just sort of gathered around, somebody sang songs and talked to them and shared testimonies and the Word, and naturally tried to win them to the Lord.
14. BUT IF YOU JUST MAKE IT A WEE LITTLE BIT MORE CHURCHY, you might say, and at a regular set time every week...In other words, if they're now won to the Lord and a little convicted, they feel like they need to go to church or have some form of Christian fellowship.
15. THIS IS THE FIRST REACTION NEARLY EVERY NEW CHRISTIAN HAS, and it's the first reaction most sinners have because that's the way the world has been conditioned. It has been mentally conditioned that if you're a Christian of course you should go to church, some kind of church.
16. SO IF WE GET THEM SAVED, LET'S GIVE THEM CHURCH IF THAT'S WHAT THEY NEED. But our kind of church would be a lot more informal. You could just use your livingroom, even if you don't do a thing to it, you just meet there as a group. Do whatever would appeal to the people you're trying to reach.
17. MAKE IT A CERTAIN SET TIME EVERY WEEK so they know that every Sunday morning or afternoon or Saturday afternoon or night, you're going to have your meeting. Have a regular once a week meeting for friends and visitors and outsiders.
18. PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD AND HAVE GOOD MUSIC. Maybe you could sing a few choruses and songs that they could join in on. Why not sing a few little hymns? It might do you good to learn a few, that maybe they even know. Then they feel more like they're going to church and they could sing with you.
19. PASS OUT SOME SONG SHEETS WITH A FEW CHORUSES ON THEM. You know what I found out in church and years of evangelistic work teaching choruses? If you repeat the chorus at least three times, by the fourth time you can get the people to join in and begin to catch on. If it's short enough and simple enough, that's about all it takes.--The law of memory is repeat, repeat, repeat.
20. SO I REALLY BELIEVE THE VISION OR DREAM THE LORD GAVE ME ABOUT THE CHURCH OF LOVE...I mean it was so distinct and so amazing! I was so shocked! There were our people sitting there. And I was walking in the front door of the church, and the people's backs are to the front door usually. No, I was not walking in, I was floating in like I'd been taken there by an angel!--And
21. THERE I WAS STANDING UP FRONT LEADING THE SINGING, and it was like church. There were little benches and a little podium with pictures and things to make it sort of look like a little living room chapel or something, like a small chapel.
22. I LOOKED AND SAID, "LORD, WHAT IS THIS?" I was shocked! I thought, "My God, are we going back to churchianity?" Something I have dreaded and abhorred now for years! I said, "What is this?" And the Lord said, "Why, this is the Church of Love!" And so I woke up and it began to dawn on me why the Lord gave me that dream.
23. WE USE FF-ING, WE USE LITERATURE, WE USE EVERYTHING ELSE to try to win people. But many people are so church-geared that you're almost going to have to have some kind of a regular church-like meeting to make them feel they belong to the church, or at least that they're meeting with their religious group regularly at least once a week.
24. I TRIED TO ENCOURAGE EVERY ONE OF OUR COLONIES TO DO THIS as far back as TSC. But of course not everybody does as I suggest, so I don't know how many colonies are actually doing this, but they could all be doing it.
25. I HAD ANOTHER DREAM RECENTLY, "OPEN THE DOOR FOR THE CHILDREN," then after that I had "The Church of Love"--so maybe through the children is the way we're going to get it started and get it going.
26. THE WEAK SPOT OF MOST PARENTS IS THEIR CHILDREN. Bring the kids in first and the parents will follow. The churches have learned to go to work first on the children:
27. "ARE YOU GIVING YOUR CHILDREN ANY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION? Don't you think you ought to at least send them to Sunday School? We'll be glad to come and pick them up, no trouble to you, no fuss, no muss! You'll just hear us honking out front and they can come running and all you have to do is get them ready.
28. "WE'LL TAKE THEM OFF YOUR HANDS FOR A COUPLE HOURS so you can go back to sleep or watch your favourite TV show."--So it was a pretty good deal for the parents to get rid of the kids. Well, finally of course, if the kids really got saved and got interested in the church, then they started working on the parents.
29. THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD IN SOME OF THESE METHODS. Some of these bright church men finally woke up to the fact that they weren't going to win souls by sitting in church, they had to get up and go where the souls were.
30. BUT OF COURSE THEY NEVER GOT AWAY FROM THE CHURCH IDEA that the only thing to do of course was to bring them to church. All our lives we were always taught, well, you can't really witness, only the preacher really knows how to do it, your job is to bring them in to church.
31. IT'S PRETTY HARD TO DRAG A GUY INTO CHURCH WHO DOESN'T CARE FOR CHURCH or preaching or God or anything else. How are you going to get him to go to church? Well, the way they did it was through the kids.
32. THEY'D GET THE KIDS SAVED AND VERY FAITHFUL IN CHURCH ATTENDANCE, and in the church habit and pretty soon they'd go to working on the parents. Besides the children, a church worker would be there every week to call on them and talk to them and try to win them to the Lord, and try to at least get them to come to church.
33. "NOW DON'T YOU THINK YOU OUGHT TO COME AND SEE the church that your children are coming to? Don't you think you're setting a rather bad example for your children by not going to church?" They worked their way up, very clever.
34. OF COURSE THEY'D HAVE SPECIAL CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS in which the children were going to be stars, "and you wouldn't want to miss that, would you? Little Johnny's going to be up there on the platform saying his part. How is he going to feel if his own mother and father aren't there?" So real tear-jerkers bring the parents out to church.
35. THEY'D HAVE ALL KINDS OF CONTESTS IN WHICH IF YOU CAN BRING YOUR MOMMY AND DADDY TO CHURCH YOU WIN a medal or a button or something, and that really did the trick! They wanted Little Johnny to win the contest, so of course they came, because whoever brought the most people to church or Sunday School or whatever it was, they got the prize. Does this sound familiar to some?
36. (MARIA: THEY EVEN HAD THE PARENTS OUT RECRUITING THAT NEVER WENT TO CHURCH!) Yes, they'd get their friends and their neighbours all to come so Little Johnny could win! They wouldn't do it for the Lord, but they'd do it for Little Johnny, and he'd do it for his prize. So the church has figured all kinds of gimmicks to try to get people to come to church.--Everything but going out and winning them.
37. SO AT LEAST MAKE IT A GROUP MEETING AT A REGULAR TIME if nothing else. Have your usual singing and all that you guys do, guitars and all, very informal, and maybe a little Bible study and a few testimonies about the kids or the things that are happening. I think this would be very interesting to all the families, especially those with whom we have already made good contact or won to the Lord and so on.
38. I HAVE SUGGESTED ALREADY THAT YOU DO LIKE WE DID AT OUR HOME IN TENERIFE. We had them come first for a swim and then we sat down and had a little Bible Study, so to speak, with refreshments afterwards, or drinks or whatever. And they liked it. We had 30, 35, 40 people there for awhile, and I was getting afraid we were having too many!
39. SO YOU SEE, SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST GEARED TO THAT. They feel like they've got to go somewhere and meet with some people and hear some kind of music and a sermon to feel like they've been to church or at least done something. So I really believe the Lord is leading us that direction in order to try to reach these people that we cannot reach any other way, particularly the wives and the children.
40. WE REACHED THE YOUTH ON THE STREETS and in some of our clubs and so on. Now we're reaching the men, the fathers, also in clubs and other ways. But I am, and I'm sure the Lord is, concerned about the women, the mothers, and I believe the Lord has given us the answer in those two dreams in particular: "Open the Door for the Children" and "The Church of Love."
41. WHEN YOU WITNESS AND WIN SOMEONE TO THE LORD YOU CAN INVITE THEM, "Come out to the little meeting we have every week at such-and-such a time. We think you'll enjoy fellowshipping with us, you need Christian fellowship now, you need spiritual food and teaching. This is our address and here's the time we have our meetings, please come!"
42. (MARIA: IT'S GOOD TO DO YOUR DOOR-TO-DOOR WITNESSING AND INVITATIONS CLOSE TO THE TIME THAT YOU HAVE YOUR MEETING.) Yes, it's good to do it usually the day before. Most churches do it on a Saturday. They go out on Friday night or Saturday afternoon when they can catch the man home, because if you don't get the man you're not getting the family.
43. THERE ARE PEOPLE YOU CAN REACH BY HAVING MEETINGS. The church has proven that it works, that there are some people you can reach that way. I think the way they do it is one of the least effective and one of the least fruitful, but it yields some fruit you can't reach any other way. We're not reaching many people that way ourselves, and we're not reaching that kind of people, but we need to. I can see where maybe in a way, already in fact, this vision is being fulfilled in what we have done.
44. WE HAVE OVER 800 LITTLE CHURCHES ALREADY, so to speak.--Don't get too shocked and horrified by calling them churches, for that's what the Bible calls them. And we've got them all over the world. They're already meeting at least amongst themselves, but we need to use that as a tool to try to get in outsiders, visitors, friends, relatives and particularly new converts from the outside.
45. WE'RE GETTING A LOT OF PEOPLE SAVED and getting a lot of converts, but where are they going, what are they doing? Are we continuing to minister to them? Of course some people you can't follow up, but some people, if they live locally, you can invite them. That's what they're accustomed to.
46. YOU CAN INVITE THEM TO COME, AND YOU SHOULD VISIT THEM REGULARLY and try to follow them up. You can invite them to your little home meeting, your little once-a-week, designed-especially-for-them, church-like meeting for mothers and children. If they're going to come at that time, get the children in and hope the parents will follow.
47. WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GETTING SAVED besides those who drop everything and drop out and decide to join? What are we doing with the other people? What are we doing to follow up our own converts who do not drop out, who can't drop out?--Like mothers of children and whatnot.
48. WHAT IS A YOUNG MOTHER GOING TO DO? Her husband has a job, she has to take care of the children and the home, and maybe he didn't get saved and has no idea of dropping out of his job to leave his family and his home to join us. But this way at least we could minister to them a little if we invite them to the colony for this little visitor's meeting.
49. I TALKED TO MARIA ABOUT THIS EVEN IN TENERIFE. I was just scratching my head and racking my brain about reaching these people in this way, until I got it straight from the Lord, then I knew it was mandatory. I know that's what God wants us to do. I even told her then, "If we had some kind of a little chapel or a regular meeting or something for some of these people to come to, they would come, and bring their children." (Maria: That's where our couples are going to be used to good advantage, because it'll have to be more teamwork.
50. THE MEN FALL IN LOVE WITH OUR GIRLS AND THEN THE WOMAN COULD FALL IN LOVE WITH OUR MEN TOO!) Yes, or if not, at least the woman feels that her husband is safe because it looks like "after all, this woman's got a husband, so she's not going to try to steal mine."--That's what the women are always worried about in the world, that some woman's after her husband, to take him away. But if we had something which included the women and the children....
51. WE'RE REACHING CHILDREN IN A LOT OF PLACES like orphanages and hospitals and places like that and on the street and whatnot, but what are we doing with them? How are we following them up? How are we teaching and training them?
52. WE NEED SOMETHING THAT IS MORE LASTING, more effective. We deliver the babies, spiritual newborns, but then we walk off and leave them, they're little spiritual orphans, both adults and children.
53. WE DEFINITELY NEED TO DO SOMETHING WHICH WILL BRING THE CHILDREN IN and let them bring in the mothers and the fathers. They'll all feel like they're going to church or religious service. They'll have their own religion, their own religious group and their own meetings.
54. I'M SURE THAT THIS MUST HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE WAYS THAT EVEN THE EARLY CHURCH WORKED, because they had meetings in the homes, churches in the homes, and I'm sure that others were invited to come. In fact it's described in the Book of Acts several times about how to act when a stranger comes into your meeting and so on.
55. THIS MEETING WOULD BE DESIGNED FOR THE OUTSIDER, the friend, the visitor, and it's no time to have anything really far out that they totally wouldn't understand and that would blow them away.
56. I SUGGEST THAT THESE MEETINGS ARE NOT THE TIME TO HAVE A HALLELUJAH MEETING--a Pentecostal talking-in-tongues-glory-hallelujah praise meeting! It's too Pentecostal and it would scare a lot of people. But our kids, that's the way we do, we just like freedom and we've had that freedom--they're not used to trying to gear it for anything else.
57. BUT EVEN JESUS SAID, "I HAVE A LOT OF THINGS TO TELL YOU, BUT YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO BEAR THEM NOW." (John 16:12.) We ought to keep that in mind when we have visitors, that some of our doctrine and some of our customs are a little too strong for visitors, and we need to tone it down a little bit and not scare them half out of their wits to where they go screaming out the door and never come back anymore!
58. YOU DON'T GIVE STRONG MEAT TO BABES. (Heb.5:12-14.) Some of them aren't even saved or babies yet, and when you start socking it to them with the strong meat it's no wonder that they can't handle it and it blows them away.
59. SHOW THEM LOVE AND USE PLENTY OF WISDOM. Try to give them the things they can take. Try to give them the things they can understand.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family