This past Sunday, we conducted our annual Open House Sunday at Lancaster Baptist Church. (See new photos in gallery at right.) Over the course of a year, we have three or four special days that are designed for the specific purpose of reaching out into our community and reaching souls for the Saviour. These days often require some sacrifices in order to fulfill the mission; however, at the end of the day, the sacrifices always pale in comparison to the spiritual fruit they produce.
There are at least seven ways in which I have observed our church family engage to reach the lost on these days:
1. Feeling the burden
For several weeks prior to these special days, I preach about the burden of our Lord Jesus Christ for souls. It is a joy to see our church family recognizing that Jesus came to earth to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). It is a blessing to see them be moved to action with compassion, even as Jesus was moved with compassion (Matthew 9:36).
2. Sharing the vision
It is one thing to feel a burden; it is another thing to share in the vision. Last week our church family knocked on over 75,000 doors throughout our community, inviting people to our Open House and sharing the Gospel with them. Many were saved in their homes and work places during this week of intense canvassing and soulwinning. As my wife and I were out on Saturday making visits together, we were thrilled many times to round a corner and see members of our church who were sharing in the vision and were out soulwinning!
3. Praying for power
My two favorite aspects of special days are the Saturday soulwinning and the Saturday evening all-church prayer before the special day. What a thrill this past Saturday evening to see several hundred people gather for prayer. They prayed for their pastor, for the visitors, and that God would work in the services in a wonderful way. James 4:2 reminds us, “ye have not, because ye ask not.”
4. Biblical preaching
We often do a lot of special things on Open House Sunday. Some of these may include a video presentation of the church ministry, special decorations around the property, or some new choir songs. But the central theme of the day is always the preaching of God’s Word.
Yesterday, I prayerfully decided to stay in the prophetic series I have been preaching entitled “Times Are Changing.” This decision meant that I would preach from Revelation 17 on “The false church or the true Christ?” This pointed passage speaks of the false church as the great whore and the mystery Babylon—not your typical Open House Sunday message!
Amazingly, as the Holy Spirit worked, dozens of people came under the conviction that they had been blindly following the secular concepts of pluralism and secularism, which ultimately will lead to a one-world church philosophy. In the conclusion of the message, I challenged the people to not follow religious tolerance and blending of faiths, but to follow the narrow path of Jesus Christ.
What a thrill to see God use the message in the way He did! No doubt, the seeker-sensitive church growth gurus of our day would have recommended another passage. In fact, I, myself, may have recommended another passage. But I’m glad I followed the Lord’s leading, and I was overjoyed to see the aisles filled with lost sinners coming to the Saviour.
5. Serving others
Another great aspect of a special day is watching our church family serve. Yesterday we served over 1,400 meals to our guests and those who brought them. It was a thrill to see our members pouring drinks, serving meals, and taking time to meet the needs of others.
6. Souls saved
How do you put a price on a single soul? I thank God for the conscientious soulwinners who took the time to, verse by verse, share the truth of the Gospel. I thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit who brings conviction and new life to those who seek Christ. As I said earlier, we saw people saved during the week leading up to our Open House, during the services, and several were also saved during the meal following the services.
There is truly joy in serving Jesus! Last night, as on many special days over the years, I was a bit tired, as were many of our people. But we were all greatly satisfied within to know that God had used us. There is always great joy in serving the Lord Jesus Christ!
Thank God for special days! May He grant us many more victories like this before our Lord returns!