When we began the Love Works outreach a few weeks ago, we weren’t sure what the response would be. After twenty-seven years of our fall outreach being doorknocking alone, it was exciting to see what would happen when we combined doorknocking with serving our community.
In a word, the response was incredible!
I can’t begin to describe what the Lord has done in our church and our community these past two weeks. I’m sure we haven’t yet seen a fraction of the fruit to come, and what we’ve already seen has been amazing.
Yesterday morning we had our Love Works Sunday with a Neighborhood Barbecue following the service. I want to share what God did for us—how His love worked!
God’s love worked in the hearts of God’s people. As exciting as the fruit of new salvations that we’ve been seeing, it has been a thrill to me to watch our church family plunge in with their sleeves rolled up to share God’s love. From serving meals at rescue missions to a concert on the boulevard, our church has let God’s love compel them to serve.
God’s love worked in opening hearts. Sometimes in our care to avoid the social gospel, we neglect meeting needs in people’s lives. But even Jesus met physical needs that He might have entrance into hearts. Over and over this month, we’ve seen people open to talk about spiritual matters because we extended Christ’s love to them in a tangible, practical way.
God’s love worked in creating joy in our church family. If you’ve followed the #loveworksav hashtag on twitter, you’ve seen that sharing God’s love with others brings joy. People were excited to be getting up at 4:00 a.m. to give coffee and donuts to early commuters. They were enthusiastic about serving meals to the homeless. There truly is joy in serving Jesus.
God’s love worked in fostering gospel-driven relationships. The Christian is to be a steward of the gospel in every relationship of life. But sometimes in our busyness we neglect to nurture relational gospel conversations with our neighbors and co-workers. One of the exciting parts of this month was watching our church family think of creative ways to show love to neighbors and co-workers in the name of Christ. Several have already shared with me how these acts of kindness gave them opportunity to lead a neighbor or co-worker to the Lord!
God’s love worked in creating evangelism opportunities. After serving public school teenagers in a variety of venues, our son and youth pastor, Larry, as well as some of our youth staff were able to personally lead several teens to Christ. Others were saved at the rescue mission, and more were saved in other venues. All of these are people who we are not as likely to reach through our usual doorknocking efforts, but the Love Works projects connected us with them in a way that opened opportunities to share the gospel.
God’s love worked in impacting our community. The Lord gave us the opportunity this month to impact our community in a definite and Christ-honoring way. We were able to serve over 1,200 meals to the homeless, 500 cold drinks to students at Antelope Valley College, 100 meals to local high school sports teams, 1,800 hot dogs and lemonades at the Farmer’s Market, 2,500 snacks to commuters at metro stations, and pick up trash from over 100 acres of vacant lots. And all of this made a definite impact.
God’s love worked in soulwinning. Every Love Works project was accompanied by the gospel, and we continued our usual doorknocking this fall. Many of us noticed a warmer response to the doorknocking as people in our community had seen God’s love displayed through our church in recent days. As is the case every year, our church family was able to lead many to the Lord out on doorsteps, even before the Love Works Sunday.
God’s love worked in creating a platform to showcase God’s love. Any Sunday guest who comes to Lancaster Baptist Church will be welcomed. But there’s something about being welcomed beyond, “Glad you’re here” to “We love you”! That was exactly what hundreds of guests who came yesterday found. From greeters in the parking lot to banners by the barbecue, we wanted our guests to know that God loves them, and we do too.
God’s love worked in the response to the gospel. I preached yesterday morning from Luke 9 on the feeding of the five thousand. I pointed out that God’s love is abundant, miraculous, and most of all, eternal. I preached the gospel—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I invited people to receive the gift of God’s love and personally trust Christ as their Saviour. The response was overwhelming as scores of people were saved. Christ’s love works! The love of God softens hearts to receive the gift of God!
Yes, God’s love worked! And to God be the glory! We praise Him for every life He has allowed us to touch with His love, for every soul saved as a result of sharing His love.
Our Love Works projects continue through the remainder of this month. I’m looking forward to the final week of October when we see how God’s love is working on foreign fields at our annual missions conference.
And now we have the opportunity to continue to show Christ’s love through nurturing these who just trusted Christ. Being involved in seeing someone come to Christ is a trust. We believe it is our responsibility to love and nurture these young Christians to grow in grace.
Looking back over the past few weeks—and especially this weekend as many trusted Christ as their Saviour—I want to say one more time, to God be the glory! He has done great things for us!