“As long as we are content to live without revival, we will.” —Leonard Reavenhill
Does God have a specific task and calling for every believer in the local church? Yes! Yes! Yes! Beginning with Christ and His disciples and throughout the New Testament, God teaches believers that we were saved to serve. While the world has always despised serving others and promoted being served, the Bible teaches us the exact opposite. All those who follow Christ should be servants.
In many churches today, there is a dangerous philosophy that has crept in. It is the idea that the pastor and staff are paid to do all the serving. With this philosophy, soulwinning, cleaning, maintenance, vehicle repairs, lawn care, snow removal, hospitality, care for the hurting, widows and fatherless and much more is hired out to staff. The Bible says in Ephesian 4:11-12 that the very purpose of a pastor is to develop believers to serve in the church. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11–12) Yes, the pastor is to serve and one of the greatest ways he can serve believers is by developing them to serve. Certainly, a part of this development, is personally modeling a servant’s heart just like Jesus did for His disciples in John 13.
As a believer, don’t buy into this philosophy that you come to church to be served. You have a vital part in what God wants to do in your church and community. William McDonald aptly said, “Limitation of Christian service to a select class of men hinders the development of God’s people, stifles the cause of world evangelism, and stunts the growth of the church. The distinction between clergy and laity is unscriptural and perhaps the greatest single hindrance to the spread of the gospel.”
I encourage you that if you do not already have a place to serve in your church with your God-given gift, this Sunday, ask your pastor how you can serve. Don’t wait to be asked. Be eager to serve.
I was privileged to meet Jed Duarte, a third generation missionary to Brazil, for coffee as a get-to-know meeting. Very quickly, my heart was blessed by his testimony of absolute surrender. Our theme this year is I Will Follow. Here is a young man who made that decision and is having the time of his life. I wanted to share it, so we sat down for a quick interview. Jed and his family will be with us at Grace Baptist Church on September 30 for the final Sunday of Mission Weeks.
Is your church attendance connected in any way with your spirituality and relationship with Jesus Christ? In an effort to keep church attendance from being a work for salvation, many believers have grown accustom to dismissing the need and obligation of gathering together as believers. They might say, “I worship God on my own.” “I just catch the podcast.” “I am in God’s Word everyday. It won’t matter if I skip the Midweek service.” To be clear, our salvation does not rest on our church attendance. However, your spiritual wellbeing does. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Let’s consider some reasons why assembling with our church family should not be viewed casually.
- The Pattern of the Early Church
From the earliest days in the book of Acts, the followers of Christ gathered together. This was their pattern. They did not gather three times a week, but daily. They gathered for teaching, fellowship, prayer, for the remember their Lord. This was a time to be strengthened in their Christian journey. It was a time to encourage and to be encouraged.
- The Relationships We Need
Our society is quickly becoming a closed society. Neighborhood block parties are seldom. When we get home from work, we park in the garage, close the door and remain cut off from our neighbors. We order on Amazon. We pay at the pump. We bank online. Soon, we will pay for our items at grocery and retail stores through apps taking away one more human interaction. With headphones, people walk through stores barricaded behind their music.What does this have to do with church? The closing of relationship in society is slowly happening in our churches. Christians want quick, downloadable church. Church that does not demand their attention for long. It is popular to rush to the service of choice and then rush back into private living. We need the relationship with one another. Catching the podcast or live stream will give you truth to ponder, but it is completely detached from relationship that is needed. One reason we are not to neglect the gathering of believers is so that we can consider and relate with one another.
- The Stability It Provides
Paul tells the Ephesian believers that the gathering of believers and the ministry of the pastor, along with other God called spiritual leaders, was essential to their stability. In that day and today there are many winds of doctrine blowing. Sometimes it seems like a hurricane of false doctrine. Yet, instead of gathering with their church family, many believers will settle to scroll through YouTube, download a podcast or watch Christian television. Wind tossed and discouraged by unbiblical teaching, they ask their pastor if what they heard was really true. God designed the church body and gave a pastor so “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” The great instability among believers today can be often traced back to a casual approach to their gathering with believers under sound preaching and teaching.
While many will argue that you can be spiritual without assembling with other believers in your local church, the Bible teaches us that we are not to neglect it for our own spiritual good. In fact, we are to assemble more as the end nears. So I ask you, this year, do you need to be assemble with your church more or less?
Everyone has a To-Do list. For some of us, it is kept on a smart device or on sticky notes, while for others it is kept in the head. No matter where you house your list, you are very mindful of all the things you must get done. Let me ask you a question. Do you consider a prayer meeting as an opportunity to get things done? What is prayer all about to you?
Many times when we talk about prayer meetings we think of something that is mechanical and merely a religious routine. We pray because we are expected to and if we don’t we will feel bad. Yet, a prayer meeting is, in reality, an opportunity for believers to come to God with things that need to get done. Prayer meetings can be quite productive. Many people view them as passive. They should be viewed and conducted as anything but passive. John 14:13–14 says, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Notice in the verse that we are told to ask so that things may be done. Prayer meetings are about getting things done—specifically getting God’s will done on earth.
At our church we are looking forward to three weeks of Cottage Prayer Meetings in preparation for Easter and Revival. As you prepare for Easter, take time to call for and participate in prayer meetings so that God’s will can get done in our churches and cities.
There are few methods of evangelism that I enjoy more than door-to-door evangelism! I love getting out, meeting new people, taking time to hear their story and then offering them hope in Jesus Christ. I have had people stop me in the local store remembering me stopping by their door and have an opportunity to continue the conversation. While there are some who would not use this method, I want to share with you some reasons that I still believe that door-to-door evangelism is a method we should employ in our churches today.
- Biblical Method—This ought to be the basis of any method that we employ in our church ministries. Throughout the book of Acts we find that the early church and its leaders were active in teaching the Gospel by two methods. They taught it publicly and from house to house. Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,” I believe that this Biblical method is time honored and very practicable today!
- Measurable Method—We have been commissioned by Jesus to preach the Gospel. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be His witnesses in our own cities and throughout the whole world. We can witness on street corners, at parades and other public events, but none of those are measurable. They do not allow us to know that we have touched the whole city with the message of the Gospel. I believe in using all kinds of methods, but nothing allows us to measure progress like door-to-door.
At Grace Baptist Church we measure our progress with a map system. We have a book of maps in a three ring binder. Members check out a map that with a highlighted street. They take the Outreach Cards that are in use at that time and go out in teams of two knocking on the doors. They turn in the map once they have completed it. The street is then marked as accomplish on our large progress map which is displayed off our lobby.
- Personal Method—Businesses covet word of mouth advertising. Personal endorsements of a product or business are extremely powerful. I believe this is one of the reasons that God told us to go and verbally share Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). He created us and knows that we respond to the witness or testimonials of others.
- Involving Method—Ephesians 4:12 tells us that every believer is a minister. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are all witnesses. I believe that every Christian should be actively involved in sharing Jesus Christ in their community. I believe the church should organize, equip and encourage believers to be obedient to the Great Commission. Door-to-door soulwinning provides opportunity for everyone to be involved.
Recently I shared an outreach vision with our church call Target 45429. It is our goal to knock each door in this area three times before moving on to other parts of our city. There is a large opportunity for many to be involved. Furthermore, there are some who legitimately cannot get out there on the sidewalks for health reasons. I shared with them that we need people to come meet at church while soulwinning is in progress and pray that God will empower those out knocking doors. We also need babysitters so that younger families can be involved. These are additional and important ways for believers to be involved.
- Proven Method—I can think of people right now in our church that have be reached in that past several years by door-to-door. I was recently on a ministry trip with our teens and my wife had the opportunity to lead lady to Jesus at the door. She has been attending her church and has even brought a guest. Maybe you can think of a story of someone in your church reached through door-to-door.
Don’t give up on this awesome method! Get a map of your city, divide it up and determine to knock on every door in your city. You will be amazed how God will bless your desire and faithfulness in the harvest.
My dad is a mechanic for a ministry and taught us early on how to do basic maintenance on cars. I can remember being in his shop as a young boy and learning how to change oil and service vehicles. It is interesting to me, as I think back on those days, that no matter how new or how good the vehicle was, it still needed care. The oil still needed to be changed and the fluids still needed to be topped off.
Guys, you understand the importance of caring for your cars. Every 3,000 or three months you take it to the service shop and get the oil changed. You do this to make sure it lasts and does not leave you stranded when you would least expect it.
While you are very careful to give your car the needed maintenance, do you give your marriage the same careful maintenance? You are wondering how we just jumped from cars to marriage. It’s simple. We as guys can understand that no matter what year or how good a car is, it needs regular maintenance to make sure it lasts. So does your marriage. If we treated our cars like we treat our marriages, we would be stranded on the side of the road of life far more often than we would like to be known. Your marriage needs regular care, just like your car.
This year at Couples Retreat you can stop and give the needed maintenance to your marriage. No matter how long you have been married or how good your marriage may be, your marriage needs maintenance so that it will continue to last. Don’t wait till the check engine light comes on in your marriage at the most inconvenient time. Stop and give your most precious earthly relationship the maintenance it needs.