It has been a great first couple of months here at Sanctuary. I am enjoying getting know
everyone, listening to the stories of the people and the stories of the church, and dreaming of ways
that we can share that joy and enthusiasm with the community that is around us. I was fortunate
to go to a training recently about “How to Reach New People,” focusing on the idea that we need
to be a church that is building relationships in our community solely for the purpose of building
relationships. We don’t go out into the community so that we can get the next 100 members
(though that would be nice), we don’t go out in the community so that people think that Sanctuary
is the BEST church. Rather, we go out into the community, we build relationships because it is
what Jesus calls us to do.

Jesus had a successful ministry not because he was constantly thinking of someone as
his next discipleship target, but because he wanted to get to know people, meet them where they
needed him, and offer them his love, support and friendship. Anything beyond that was icing on
the cake. It is also good to note that Jesus had a successful ministry because he went out into the
community. He didn’t sit on the temple steps, or wait in the most holy of rooms within the
synagogue. He walked the streets, he met women at the wells, he ate with tax collectors and
sinners in their homes and in public places. He walked and preached and modeled what it means
to be fully present with another person.

We as Sanctuary are going to begin a journey where we ask ourselves, what could we be
doing out in the community instead of within these walls. Could I hold my next meeting at a local
restaurant or coffee shop? This probably explains why I always offer to meet you somewhere
other than my office! Could that event be held somewhere off campus, in a park or something so
that others can know that we are the church that is in the community, not behind our church walls?
Could I invite someone into my home, not because I want to get them to Sanctuary, but because
Jesus calls me to love and get to know my neighbor, to spend time learning who they are and
hearing their story?

Over the next few weeks and months, each weekly word, via email, will be about some
aspect of reaching new people in ways that perhaps we haven’t thought of before. I invite you to
think about some of the ways you can utilize these ideas as you serve God, as you serve
Sanctuary, and as you seek to be the kind of disciple that loves as Jesus loves and serves as
Jesus serves.

Pastor Melissa