In 2012 it is our hope at LifeBridge that we can be a church community that is concerned about our friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers who do not know Jesus.
All of us have people in our sphere of influence who we care about and would like to see their lives enriched by beginning a spiritual journey towards a relationship with God. We established a “no-meeting” week policy at LifeBridge where twice each year we take a break from LifeBridge meetings to focus ourselves and our families on God and on rest. This is not a “holiday” from God though – we also would like this to be a week of prayer and outreach to those God has connected to us so we can encourage them to begin a relationship with Him.
February 12-18, 2012
This is the first no-meeting week of 2012. As a leadership team, we are praying for and requesting that all families in our LifeBridge community partner together to participate in Matthew Parties.
What Is a Matthew Party?
It says in Luke 5:29, “Then Matthew held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.” This was a party which could serve a kingdom purpose. Matthew invited his friends to a banquet (a party) so that they could be introduced to and get to know Jesus.
A Matthew Party is a social event where you invite some friends who do not know Jesus along with some Christian friends from LifeBridge. These parties provide a deliberate way to build relationships with others to whom we want to introduce to Jesus. These gatherings can be as creative as you like or as simple as having a group of friends over to play games, eat dinner, or have some coffee and dessert.
Matthew parties are a grass-roots level opportunity to have fun while serving Jesus.
Why Matthew Parties?
Among those professing to be Jesus followers, different studies have revealed that somewhere between 75% and 90% of them came to follow Jesus as a result of the influence of a relative or friend. Relationships are the most effective open door for spiritually reaching others.
Matthew parties are a relationship tool, helping us partner together, drawing upon our various strengths in order to help others connect with Jesus.
Matthew Parties are intended to be part of a mindset to live for Jesus everywhere we go. As we get to know people, they should realize we serve Christ. If they are interested in learning more, we invite them to join us on Sunday morning for The Connection Service and guide them into a Growth Group. This should be true about us, not just at our parties, but wherever we might go.
Who Is Invited?
We need to use some spiritual wisdom in deciding who to invite from our LifeBridge family that could mix well with our invited guests. The idea is that you might invite one or two people from LifeBridge and two people from your network to dinner. The invited “LifeBridge friends” know this is a social event with a kingdom purpose, however we do not want to scare off our friends or make them feel like they are being targeted. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep in mind the following four tips:
1) Relationship: Socialize first. Allow others to see authentic Christian lives and get to know us.
2) Representation: Shine the light. Early in the relationship casually let others know your friends are from LifeBridge.
3) Bridge into the spiritual. As appropriate, introduce spiritual topics into the conversation. Since living for Jesus touches every aspect of our lives from our behavior and language in sports, finances, business, recreation to our decision making, it is not difficult to introduce a Christian spiritual perspective.
4) Share Jesus. When friends demonstrate interest in spiritual matters, we help them take the next step. This may involve inviting them to join us on a Sunday morning or providing a biblical or spiritual resource.
Typically, the Matthew Party itself will consist of the first three steps. We have good clean fun. We casually mention going to church or some spiritual effect that God has made in our lives. If there is food, we could give thanks to God. At some point, we springboard off of a conversation to introduce a spiritual idea or topic. If our visitors want to talk about it, OK. If not, we do not force the topic, we wait for another time.
In the relationship, when someone indicates an interest in spiritual matters, whether it be on the phone or in person, we help them take the next step.
We would encourage all people who attend LifeBridge to arrange and participate in Matthew Parties the week of February 12-18. Start praying now and make plans to have your party that week. It is ideal if everyone in your Growth Group works together in this process and prays for those hosting and those attending parties that week.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please contact David Tonen, Rob Laidlaw or Gordon MacKenzie.