We have to go back to about this time of year, 11 years ago. I had just arrived at my first appointment as a United Methodist pastor, at Dunaway UMC, in Clark County, KY.
It was a small church, and to be honest, I was not sure what to do! Other than that my mentor Howard Willen had instilled in me the value of visitation-- in homes, hospitals, jails, wherever. So I made a card with basic info and hit the road. I had a map of Clark County and was intent on visiting every house in my end of the county. And I I'd. Each house once, many houses twice, a few, when led by the Spirit, as many times as I felt I needed to!
But pretty quick into my time there, I kept finding that someone had been there before me: Ark of Mercy Church of God! They even left a card at the parsonage!
They had a real dynamo of a visitation person, Sister Anna. She was a spry older lady. I would tell Dunaway that I was so sick of hearing about Ark of Mercy! I wanted them to hear that Dunaway had got there first! (Now, I was not really sick of them! I admired them!)
But one day they really got me good. Sister Anna came out of a house in a hurry-- she had seen me working the other side of the road. "Brother Aaron! Come quick! There's someone in here who has accepted the Lord! You need to pray with them!"
I was rejoicing, but I was also wondering, when will the Methodists get this serious?!?!
So now here I am in Morehead, having a flashback. Two families I have seen out and about that I have invited to church tell me they already have a church, Crosspoint. I have the sinking feeling they are going to be Morehead's version of Ark of Mercy. I don't know that they have a a hard core visitation going on, but it seems that lots of folks go there.
I don't know what they do to be so successful. Don't care. I admire them for reaching people with the gospel. But rather than worry about it or imitate it, this is what I want to see: the people of Morehead UMC to simply invite friends and family and total strangers to worship. If each family-- not even each individual-- invited one person, we would not have room!
It's just that simple.