“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18b-20—Jesus
I don’t know about you, but I was so very encouraged as I watched the baptisms of Jason and Tanya Larrabee last week. Their baptisms on top of the baptisms of the three young people in the few weeks before just iced the cake and made me feel like we are truly making a difference in some people’s lives. And, isn’t that what it's really all about…the reason we “continue to meet together with glad and sincere hearts”… the reason we develop our various ministries and hire our various ministers and hold our various classes and worship times…don’t we want to make a difference in the lives of folks around us? Don’t we want to make a difference in each other’s lives?
The scripture I’m quoting above is known as “The Great Commission.” It was the last great set of instructions that Jesus gave his followers just before he ascended back to Heaven. It has been the call to action for His church for the many centuries that followed; right up to the present day. “Go.” “Go make disciples.” “Go make disciples of all nations.” “Baptize them.”
And then, to paraphrase: “Teach them to GO.”
It seems to me that it is time for Southeastern to revisit that call.
In early December, we had our financial presentation. Numbers. Ministries. Giving. Budgets. We listened to a bunch of stuff that could make our eyes fog over. However, to all our joy, near the end of the service, a young woman came forward to be baptized. To close out that service, I stood up for the closing prayer, but before I prayed I pointed at the baptistry and said: “That is why we have our budgets.” My heart was warmed by the enthusiastic response that the church gave as I heard “Amen!” being shouted in the room.
I know our congregation loves to see lives changed. I know we want to regularly use that rectangular pool of water behind the curtain. I know we believe in evangelism.
We DO believe in The Great Commission!
I just know we do!
The question really comes down to What are we each willing to do about it? Are you willing to put yourself out there? Are you willing to involve yourself in the process of helping a friend, co-worker, neighbor, family member, or even a stranger to find their walk with God?
Or, do we only believe in Evangelism by Osmosis?
Evangelism is a dirty-hands kind of thing. You have to get down into it with people. You have to be willing to invest yourself. You have to challenge folks to be open with their lives and their hearts, and apply the scriptures to themselves to bring about personal change…and it really helps when you model that for them. (And, that modeling starts with the leadership. We, the elders and ministers need to challenge ourselves to model this for the church! We need to get our hands dirty too.) But, I get ahead of myself….
Evangelism really all starts with an invitation.
We have to be willing to invite someone. Invite them to church. Invite them to study God’s Word. Or, maybe just invite them to be our friends. Be outward. Be loving. Be giving. Share the faith that God has provided us. Can we do that? Will you do that? I think that was what Mike & Lisa Fleetwood did with the Larrabees.
Imitate and repeat!
But, let’s initiate this with the question of desire. Do you want to help change someone’s life for God?
If you do, and in response to this article, I want to challenge you to find your nearest elder or minister and tell them so.
Walk right up TODAY and say:
“I want Southeastern to evangelize, and I want to help.”
I hope to hear from you!
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20—Apostle Paul