What Is CNC?
What is CNC?
Our ultimate goal is to reach out to the Naturists with the gospel of Christ and bring them to Christ. After all, isn’t that the mission of the Church from the beginning?
One of our members made a very good observation during our CNC in Tennessee when he quoted Acts 1:8 (last part) “…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (NKJV) He explained that to the average church, the naturist resort is the “end of the earth” and they are not quite ready to go that far yet, but to us, it is our “Jerusalem”.
Sounds simple, but how do we do this?
So far, we have gathered together (which is implied by the name “convocation”) and worshiped and built each other up. Why are we gathering? Partly because our name says we do. But convocations have an educational side to it, not just a big convention.
See Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convocation, for a good definition of convocation.
We have a vision, which includes gathering to learn for the purpose of taking what we have learned and applying it at home, whether our home is our family and friends, or our naturist resort. That is the idea anyway.
This may take a very long time at the rate we are going. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. One of the big reasons it will take a long time is because we are right now busy encouraging those we have already at hand and giving them the vision, hope, and back to the “first love”. We are currently working with a bunch of hurt people who are not going to church due to either being cast out for their beliefs in naturism, or just plain tired of the way churches are being run. Some however, are going to church, but are still very cautious since they may be ostracized for their beliefs. Then there are the very rare few fortunate ones who do go to church, involved in leadership and the pastor is aware of their naturism.
The only hopes they have right now are these convocations or gatherings. They first need to be discipled before sending them out to disciple. It has been three years and starting our fourth, and we are beginning to see the fruit we originally planned. (It took Jesus at least three years as well) But fruit is already being seen with some who came and are ready to take this idea and go with it.
Jesus taught the disciples on the mountaintops and streets, but he only sent the twelve out to evangelize. There were far more than twelve disciples when you look at Jesus’ following as a whole. But only twelve were recognized as the leaders, the evangelists and teachers until later (after Pentecost), when they began to pick a few from their large following of thousands.
Yes, the rest of the church (disciples or followers in Christ) also witnessed, but only after they began to live their lives in their limited environment of their new calling. It took time.
There are small few who are ready to drop their church affiliation (and those whose affiliation already dropped them) and pick up this banner and go forward with it. But we need to be patient and continue to build up those that are willing to come and hear what we have to say and to be built back up again with hope and vision.
For a while, we will look like we are serving the “Inside Circle”. But if we look closely at the early church, that is exactly what they were doing. That is what the deacons were about; they served the widows and the members. They were sharing and serving and breaking bread together from house to house (resort to resort) and those that were on the outside was seeing what was going on and saying, “Hey, we want to be a part of what you are doing” and their numbers grew daily. The Church was serving the inside circle, but openly where everyone can see and join in.
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” 46-47 “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (NJKV)
Noticed that GOD did the adding. And the result was that they had “favor with all the people” or in our case, as witnessed at Cherokee and Show Me Acres, we had favor with all the naturists. Some even came around to ask questions and poke their heads in to see what we are all about!
We also have to be prepared for the ever-watchful public eye that will persecute us for what we are doing as well. That will cause our numbers to drop as we have seen in the early church where many fell away when persecution set in. That may happen among our own “lets do it now” leaders we currently have. As soon as family or church gets wind of what we are all about, some nasty grams come our way, we fall back and say, “I’m not as ready as I thought”. That is fine if you are not ready, but we cannot use that person for our leadership for a while. They need more time and encouragement and to see where they will go in the future.
On the other hand, persecution, as we have witnessed over the years, will also help our numbers grow. And this time, since persecution will probably come from the outside (clothed society and church), it will give us more voice and national (or local) attention and we will grow our numbers from the outside as well, which in turn help our growth on the inside.
We have tough times ahead and we need to first build our strength with those we already have and the Christians who are already in the resorts. There are still many Christians in the naturist community that need to be called back into action. Our numbers can grow more than double or triple in the next year just by those being called back. Then we can seriously begin to talk about how we are a witness to those who are not yet Christians.
Now of course, we are still to be witness to them even now, and that is always our life as a Christian, clothed or nude. A good example is the hot tub discussion with an atheist one Saturday night at Cherokee (at a CNC gathering). I slipped out just minutes before it started, so I missed it! They did an excellent job witnessing and that is our purpose. But don’t feel we are losing our vision just because we are gathering and spending time together. Our goals and missions are always the same, reach out and make disciples. Which is better than “saving souls” when you look at what making disciples is all about. Soul saving is not what we were called to do ultimately, Jesus did that already at the cross, though saving someone from their self destructing lifestyle will save them from eternal destruction by pointing them to Jesus and what he has already done for them!
But lets also continue our work on the inside, to be what those on the outside want and ask us to let them join us!
Now for our mission at home: It will take a while, with encouraging letters, emails, and forums, to build each other up. Some of us, probably about half of us at least, hardly go to resorts. Gwin and I go to a resort three or four times a year at the very most (though we would love to go several times a year)! So how do we carry the gospel to those in the resorts when we hardly go, let alone build relationships there? We do it online. But we would love to be more “hands on” than we are.
Sometimes CNC can be like a two day business convention (convocation if you will) that rallies up the sales people with big speeches, loud music, videos and slides, with more excitement and information than they can use at one time, along with group and self confirmations and if lucky, some actual tips to make the next level in their careers, yet when they get back home and hit the old familiar pavement, they suddenly feel like they are alone again.
How do we do this and keep up the momentum at home? Often, smaller groups at home are much better to keep up the vision, however we are serving the inside group. But that inside group needs to be built up, and they need to be actually doing something, not just coming for a social time, though that is needed and good. All churches go through this pattern.
If we focus on only the “outreach”, we soon be associated with the door-to-door evangelists and they do not see what we have inside that brings them to us by God’s calling. They see us coming and they close the door! We should not have to go “door-to-door” except as the early Christians did, when they went from “house to house breaking bread”. That was from believers house to believers house, (just like a non-landed club) not knocking on doors trying to convert others.
So we do go from house to house, from small group studies to annual conventions at resorts across the country. Whether it’s two conventions or a dozen, as long as we have something that the others will want when they see us there. Fellowshipping and “breaking bread” together is extremely important. By doing one, we automatically do the other. And of course, we invite guests who want to attend while at the resort.
And isn’t that what the early church did? Have so much fun sharing and giving that the filthy rich as well as the very poor wanted to join in.
Another thing we need to keep in mind is that not all are called to be missionaries, teachers, evangelists or pastors. Some are called to be helpers, supporters, prayer warriors, healers, and broom pushers. You may have a lot of fisherman out there, but somebody has to stay back to “clean the fish”.
Lets try to keep a balance in our approach. We are not about big conventions of Promise Keepers and Women of Faith proportions. But if we do get that big, then by that time, we’ll know what to do.
May the Lord help us all to be of one accord.
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