Signs of an economic resurgence can be heard when earth movers shake the ground, saw blades are whining, and hammers are pounding. When these sights and sounds are seen and heard only a few miles away from a congregation, opportunities will abound to be proactive and reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the case with the pastor and the leadership team at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Westminster, CO.
They decided to be a proactive and begin reaching out to the new residents of a burgeoning community with the idea of launching a satellite congregation. Praise and Proclaim Ministries was invited to come and help train members on how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ — and provide a well-organized and meaningful opportunity to put their training into action.
And we were not disappointed.
On Saturday, September 17th, twenty members from Shepherd of the Valley stepped out of their comfort zones to apply our methodology and approach to go door-to-door and proclaim the gospel. The Lord opened the doors and our teams boldly and confidently planted the seeds of the gospel 114 times.
The campaign was especially blessed when two ladies from the congregation uncovered a wonderful opportunity that came from a remarkable visit at the door.
In love and mercy, God is generous with grace. He extends his love with the hand of forgiveness to people though many reject Him. God’s grace pursues. His forgiveness reconciles. His love is so pure that Jesus resorts to parables to describe it.
We are given the word picture of a father who readily bestows grace and forgiveness to a prodigal son. We are given the images of a wife who is frantically looking for a lost coin – and a faithful shepherd searching for that one lost sheep out of a hundred entrusted to his care.
Every person in this world is valued by God. His love, mercy, and grace is so pure and powerful that He sent us His one and only son to die for us.
His grace may appear as a reckless love that continues to sets itself up for rejection. It is a type of love that is foreign to many of us. The message of God’s grace is an invitation without limits or qualifications. It is intended for all people.
It is reckless love that prompts evangelists to spread the message of salvation to the world.
Located about thirty miles east of Spokane, the growing city of Coeur d’Alene, ID is situated on a large, beautiful lake and is the host to several resorts and a famous golf course with a floating green.
It is also the site of a brand new church called The Vine. And Praise and Proclaim Ministries was invited to launch an outreach campaign in the Coeur d’Alene community.
The feelings of inadequacy are one of the greatest barriers a sincere Christian must overcome to be an evangelist.
These feelings can either paralyze or be a prompt to discover that a Christian’s greatest strength lies outside of themselves.
Proclaiming the gospel is not about ourselves, but the power of Christ in us. The Holy Spirit transforms us from timid, spiritual weaklings, to towering pillars of strength that can do all things… including evangelism.
The Apostle Paul understood that. Readily confessing his weaknesses, Paul knew and experienced that in his weakness there is strength.
He was not alone. Moses. Gideon. David. Abraham. These were Old Testament heroes who were fragile, ordinary men who relied on God to do miraculous deeds in His name.
There is one man in the Old Testament that we will focus on who can serve as a great example on how to be evangelists in today’s world.
“Canvassing doesn’t work because people in my community already belong to a church or I don’t want to offend them.”
This is a statement I often hear from pastors and lay leaders from across the nation. Frustrated by the results and disappointed my negative reactions, congregations are wary to consider any type of stranger evangelism. Scared, perhaps even intimidated, most evangelism efforts primarily focus on inviting people to attend community events or youth programs sponsored by the church.
These are not bad ideas, but I don’t think congregational members need to necessarily give up on verbally proclaiming the gospel to the lost.