We often worry about a lack of growth in the church. We wonder why there are so many empty seats or why this or that family stopped coming. But wondering often seems to be all we do. Instead of just wondering, though, maybe we need to take it upon ourselves to find out why… and do something about it….
Instead of just wondering, we all need to look in the mirror and see the evangelist Jesus has called each and every one of us to be. I know it’s not always easy to do. The fear of rejection isn’t one we like to dwell on. But as Christians, we need to remember whose we are and why we are here.
So let’s take a look at several verses in the Bible that call us to share the Good News of the Gospel and that tell us why and how to be Jesus’ disciples.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20
These are Jesus’ final words to his disciples (and us) before He returned to heaven. It really doesn’t get much simpler or more direct than this. We are to bring others to Christ in baptism for the forgiveness of their sins and teach them to obey all that Jesus commands us to do.
You realize, of course, that in order to do this, we also need to be living obedient and faithful lives. You also need to understand (big sigh here) that going and telling isn’t just about preaching. You can go and tell through your acts of compassion, hospitality, generosity, hands-on service, and by praying with others. When you do it in the name of Jesus, you are spreading the message of the Gospel.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” ~Matthew 9:37-38
We have a huge responsibility to help ensure the future of the church by raising up generations of young people who are doctrinally sound and committed to preaching, teaching, and leading the local congregation. Our church buildings aren’t usually lacking in people who come on Sunday mornings to get their “dose of Jesus” or to feel good about themselves. But we need young people who are willing to be trained to step into the role of elder, deacon, preacher, teacher, and mentor.
This is going to take personal investment on your part. You are going to have to invest yourself in the lives of the youth in your church by spending time with them, mentoring them, encouraging them, talking to them, teaching them, and letting them know you really love them. Trust me, though, everyone is blessed beyond measure when you do.
1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. ~1 Corinthians 9:22
I’ll be the first to say that the best person to effectively minister to a young couple struggling with infertility is an older couple who has dealt with the same heartache and found strength in God to get through it. And likewise, the best person to help a widow through her grief, the person who just got the cancer diagnosis, or the parents of a rebellious teen is someone who has faced these situations by relying on their faith and their church family. But just because you haven’t faced a particular situation doesn’t excuse you from reaching out to someone in need.
When Paul says he became all things to all people, he meant that he expressed empathy and extended a helping hand, a listening ear, and a shoulder to lean on. He listened to their needs and met them the best way he knew how—even when that way meant finding someone who could be more effective. You can do the same.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” ~Isaiah 6:8
Jesus died for you! The very least you can do for him is proclaim his goodness, mercy and love. God created you with your own set of talents and abilities. Use them for him!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. ~Romans 1:16
This is where the whole fear of rejection thing comes in. Often times we don’t speak up because we don’t want to be made fun of… or worse. But when we don’t speak up (or take a stand or set an example) we are essentially saying that Jesus’ death was of no value or consequence to us. We are turning our back on the Savior. Besides, there is nothing to fear. Nothing anyone else says or does can separate you from the LORD’s sustaining grace and love.
The last verse I want to share with you is this:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
We are not alone. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. The Spirit allows us to be bold, gracious, loving, truthful, compassionate, and gracious in our evangelism. And in doing so, we can be assured of hearing those precious words, “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
~ By Darla Noble