Tag Archives: Outreach

Setting Goals for Souls

I recently preached a message titled ‘We Must Be Soul Reachers’.  Matthew 4:19 states ‘And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  This verse embodies the vision of the Great Commission.

Mark 16:15-16  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

We have been focusing a lot this year on the subject of Church Growth.  The church must understand that growth is a Godly principle.  We must place growth at the forefront of our thinking and endeavors.  It requires both a personal commitment and a corporate commitment from the church.

In the message ‘We Must Be Soul Reachers’, amongst other things, I discussed the necessity of setting goals.  As we look at other denominations, we see in several of them, a very strategic and organized effort at outreach.  While we must have the proper tools and an effective approach to outreach, none of that matters if we don’t put the process to practice!  Therefore, I am a firm believer in setting goals!

For example, a farmer begins the planting season with a goal of reaping a harvest.  A doctor begins a procedure with the goal of healing the patient.  A baker begins mixing ingredients with the goal of producing a cake.  We work jobs and pay bills with the goal of getting ahead.  We have been given a goal by Jesus Christ, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Goals assist us in setting our focus and heading us in the right direction.  Goals help keep us accountable.  For example, if I say I am going to reach one person today, when I lay my head down on my pillow at night, it makes it harder to come up with the excuse that I didn’t meet the right person!  I hopefully will focus my day on finding someone to reach!

We closed out our service by having each member set some individual goals.  How many people am I going to reach each week the remainder of this year?  How many new Bible Studies am I going to teach this year?  How many first time visitors am I going to plan to bring to church this year?

We are already beginning to the results of the saints stepping out in faith, and saying, I am going to do my part, and plant seeds, and water them.  Now it’s in God’s hands to give the increase!

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Doubting Christians

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I struggle with our struggle to embrace the super-natural.

Mankind always seeks to understand and explain that which cannot always be explained.  From the beginning, with Adam and Eve, the temptation was understanding.  The serpents tempting words to Eve in Genesis 3:5:  “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Science tries to make human sense of creation.  Medicine tries to make medical sense of miracles.  There are times when the only thing that makes sense is Jesus!

The problem with the church today is we struggle to understand and embrace that God performs miracles!  And that God’s desire is to use us to perform miracles!  There is a true shortage of the use of spiritual gifts active in the church.  Why?  I believe the reason is we fear being ‘super-spiritual’ and the ‘weirdness’ of it, and where it will ‘take us’.

We must understand God’s purpose for the church though!

Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:17   And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Mark 16:17-18  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not stating we are to tempt God with foolish actions!  But we can be directed, spoken to by, and used by God!  If we aren’t, then are we truly Christians?  If we aren’t being obedient to the commission given us, then we can’t claim to be followers.

We can’t forget about spiritual gifts?  1 Corinthians 8-10  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

We are His church, and He places in us gifts and abilities to be His hands and feet on earth!  When we fail to believe in and utilize those gifts, we can’t claim full obedience to Him.

What brings about this struggle?  I believe a lack of faith!  Faith is put to the test through action.  Think about it…we encounter a lame man…we offer charity, we offer love, we offer prayer…but look at Peter and John and the lame man:  Acts 3:6  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

What prevents the church from performing in such a bold manner today?  Remember, Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  

What is our excuse?  Don’t be like Doubting Thomas.  Don’t doubt God’s ability to come through at the right time.  Exercise the Holy Ghost power we behold!

As a camp preacher declared a few years back…when the devil thinks he has me out on a limb…all I can say is…that’s where the fruit goes!  Go out on a limb…exercise faith…believe in the impossible!  The church of yesterday can still live today!

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The Need For Laborers

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Luke 10:2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few:pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

i recently read a post asking where to find laborers for the church.  I myself have had the same thought before.  Bible Colleges are full of young people…wouldn’t it be nice to get a few to come help out at the church and intern for a couple years?  Chances are…not gonna happen!  And yet the church needs laborers.  We need Sunday School teachers, musicians, singers, Bible Study teachers, preachers, and the list goes on!

There are several points to this ‘issue’.

#1 – There a churches with a multitude of ministers sitting on the pews.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s great to have back-up preachers available.  But what did God call you to?  To sit on the pew?  There are unchurched cities across the nation, with lost souls begging for someone to come preach to them.  And we’ve got preachers on the pews.  There are small churches with their pastor wearing his time thin, trying to do it all alone, who would give anything for some help.

#2 – There are those who God places a call on, but for some reason, they never respond.  Perhaps they don’t know God’s voice, and therefore don’t hear the call?  Perhaps they are scared and uncertain to answer.  Perhaps they have had a need for security and ‘responsibility’ placed within them from childhood and their ‘common sense’ won’t allow them to transplant their family without the security of their home and job?  Perhaps they are in a situation where their leadership doesn’t want anybody to leave for the fear of lower attendance numbers?

#3 – People sit every Sunday and Wednesday in pews across the nation, but never want to get involved.  Involvement, whether it be teaching Sunday School, getting involved in the music, or whatever it might be, requires time.  Their time is spent devoted to their job, their family, and their entertainment.  They don’t want to give up their precious time to work the harvest.  And so the fields remain under-staffed.

#4 – There is also a lack of training.  I completely understand the concept…’I’ll do it myself so I know it’s done right!’  I have problems in that area as well.  But churches need to spend time and focus training people.  Teach others to sing, play instruments, teach Bible Studies, preach, teach Sunday School…  The more availability we have of laborers, the greater the harvest!

And while I’m at it, we should be learning at the feet of our elders!  They won’t be here forever!  They paved a path for the church to be where it is today!  The boldness that took, the focus it required, the wisdom they learned in the process…we should desire to gain from their experience!

So…now…with that being said…get in the field and begin to labor!

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Change

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The big question…

Should things change?  At what point, is change too much?  What about all the differences between churches?

The 17th chapter of John speaks on the age-old statement, we are in the world, but not of the world.  Where do we draw the line on what we accept while in the world, but not allowing ourselves to be of the world?

There are some things that should NEVER change!

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Our God never changes!  His expectations of us don’t change!  His Word never changes!  It can not, and will not, be added to, taken away from, or changed!  His great Plan of Salvation does not change!  Holiness does not change!  His instructions to us, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’, does not give room for change.  He doesn’t change, and if we are expected to follow after him, there is not room for us to change.

But that brings me to change…

Evangelism

I believe as the world around us changes, we must begin to think broader in our efforts to evangelize the world!  Don’t get me wrong…there are things we SHOULD and MUST stay away from!  We are not going to enter the devil’s playground to seek out followers!  BUT, we live in a fast paced world, that is heading on a fast track to destruction!  Standing on a street corner, or passing out tracts, is not getting us where we need to be!

So what is the solution?  I don’t have a simple answer!  I believe we must invest more money, time, energy, and focus on evangelism!  Don’t grow weary in doing His work!  Go after souls with more stamina than you ever have!  I applaud those who go unwaveringly through their efforts in radio broadcasts, jail ministry, nursing home services, block parties, home fellowship groups, bus ministries, youth and sunday school van runs, and the list goes on!  Don’t get defeated because only one shows up…keep going!

Music

Music has ALWAYS been a source of conflict within the church.  Look at Lucifer…the chief musician…kicked out of Heaven!  One must tread carefully and cautiously in the ministry of music.  Evaluate your purpose…your intent…your heart in every decision made in music ministry!  Spend hours in prayer…take time to fast!

But now to get to my point…there is always the group that doesn’t like any new music.  ALL songs should be from the hymnal!  Then there are those who believe the hymnal is ‘old fashioned’…throw it out and only sing new music!  I can imagine the grandparents in the church back in the days…when the current hymnals first came out!  “We shouldn’t be singing this new stuff….where’s our old music!”

Psalms 98:1 states ‘O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.’

By all means…keep singing the hymnal music…celebrate our beautiful and rich heritage…but welcome a new song…offer up a new praise!  Regardless of the song…as long as it’s words, it’s beat, and it’s intent is to celebrate Jesus Christ, sing it with all your might and lift up your praise!

Visuals

I just gotta go here…I can’t help it!  We live in a visual age!  First impressions are everything!  You may have to paint your building!  You may have to rearrange the platform!  The decor might need updating!  As a matter of fact, the whole facility may need to be put aside, and there may be a move in the future!  Don’t get me wrong…the intent is not about the building, or the decor, or the color…the intent is about EVANGELISM!  And the ‘visual affect’ is what gets someone in the door that wouldn’t have come otherwise, and once there the same ‘old’ HOLY GHOST POWER and ANOINTING begins to do a work…I would call that a SUCCESS!

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