Being Intentional: Heather Crews focuses on families and relationships


In our blog post, “Why cultivating spiritual discussions with the unchurched is important!”, we said that we would continue to highlight some church success stories with this approach.

For your inspiration (and a few great ‘how to’ tips), here is an interview with Peter Casillas and Heather Crews, pastor of the Williamsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Crews shares how her church rediscovered the passion of having a mission. For them, following Jesus and showing his love meant focusing on the families with young children already in their church AND those non-member families in their community. Their prayer was that these families could come and learn together.

It all came down to relationships.

Crews and her church realized that if they wanted to encourage these non-member families to ‘try them out’, they needed to create a sense of familiarity—a place where those families felt that they and their children were safe; where they could take their time to sit and digest without people pushing them into a decision or commitment; that had a non-judgemental atmosphere.

In short, everything you’re looking for in a GREAT relationship.

To do this, Crews’s church began thinking not only ‘out of the box’ but ‘out of the church’, really! They organized HANDS-ON events inside and outside of church that were fun and exciting but at the same time were Bible-based and reached deep spiritual truths.

The Williamsburg church was intentional about getting the word out. They posted information on their digital platform, including social media. More importantly, their member families with young children reached out to non-member families with young children in their community, face-to-face, proudly encouraging these people, “Come, you’ll love it, our kids do!”

Their commitment and hard work is getting continued results. For example, 5 new families with young children joined their vacation Bible study program—an excellent result for a church of their size.

During the interview, Crews gives concrete examples of the hands-on activities they did. She talks about the importance of church branding. She explains how they guide their new families to discipleship. She also gives her TOP 3 TIPS for success with this approach. Lots of motivating and informative stuff!

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