When Terrie and I first came to Lancaster in the summer of 1986, we immediately began reaching into our community with the gospel of Christ. For the first eighteen months, I knocked on at least five hundred doors every week—giving invitations to church and sharing the message of the gospel.
But this intense season was never our long-term plan for the sustained outreach of Lancaster Baptist. Our goal was to equip our church family to share the gospel. And we began immediately.
I remember that first Thursday evening after we moved to Lancaster conducting a soulwinning meeting to which one dear lady—Charlene—came. I stood behind a lectern and taught Charlene how to lead someone to Christ. The following Saturday, a few more joined us. Over the years, our growing church family has joyfully embraced our Great Commission responsibility to saturate our community with the message of the gospel.
Covid-19 necessarily adjusted our outreach some. When the pandemic first hit, we didn’t think it wise to go door-to-door for some weeks. We worked on other avenues of gospel outreach—some of which we’ll continue for years to come. (In fact, there have been so many ways that God has sovereignly worked through Covid to prod creativity in methods, and I’m thankful for that. But that’s a subject for another blog post.)
Even so, as a pastor, I was concerned for our church family to reengage in the kind of purposeful, door-to-door outreach that carries the gospel to every home in our community. Although we returned to door-to-door soulwinning last summer, the pause for the Covid spike in our county last fall and some other factors have made the return back slow.
But this past Saturday (pictured above) was was a highlight in our rebuilding process that I won’t soon forget. The morning was one of special outreach emphasis for our church family, and we enjoyed a breakfast together before a biblical challenge and then going out into our community.
For our soulwinning challenge, I shared John 20:21: “…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” It is a privilege to be commissioned by Christ to share the message of His death, burial, and resurrection. That is our calling as Christians.It is a privilege to be commissioned by Christ to share the message of His death, burial, and resurrection. That is our calling as Christians. Click To Tweet
As I looked around the room, I saw hundreds of church members—carpenters, doctors, stay-at-home moms, engineers, teachers, students, and dozens of others—who, understanding their calling to personally share the gospel, had come to do so with their church family. The Lord blessed our efforts on Saturday. Some people were saved, and much seed was sown.
It was a blessing to me to realize that despite delays from Covid, community ordinances, and cultural hospitality to show sensitivity to our community, our church family sees the need to share the gospel and are fully committed to returning to scheduled, systematic outreach.
Why do I share this ministry moment?
I share it first to give praise to God for His sustained motivation in the hearts of our church family. Over thirty-five years of pastoring, I have learned that although people may engage in spiritual activities (such as church-wide outreach) to please me or others for a season, only the grace of God can sustain spiritual energy for decades. It was a special blessing to me on Saturday to see that many at our meeting were men and women who have been in our church ten, twenty, and thirty years—still faithful in outreach.Although people may engage in spiritual activities to please others for a season, only the grace of God can sustain spiritual energy for decades. Click To Tweet
But I also share this encouraging moment to encourage you to faithfully share the gospel. Satan would have us believe that no one today wants to hear the gospel. He wants us to think that, either out of fear for Covid or a distrust of Christianity, people won’t listen to the gospel. But I have found the opposite is true. People are hungry for hope and conversation, and many are happy to discuss spiritual truths. In fact, this past Saturday was one of the best days for me personally over the past months in terms of the number of people who were happy to talk. I was able to share a full gospel presentation with two different men. Neither trusted Christ on Saturday, but both said they will come to church. I plan to follow up in outreach to both.
If you’re a church planter or pastor, don’t let the setback of Covid discourage you from providing church-wide opportunities for gospel outreach. Christ commanded us to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and door-to-door outreach is one of the best ways I know to do that in a community. As our nation regains a sense of normalcy, this is a good time to re-engage in purposeful soulwinning programs if you haven’t already.
And if you’re a Christian—pastor, deacon, or lay person—I want to encourage you to look for an opportunity to share the gospel today. People need the Lord. Don’t let Satan keep you silent out of fear that nobody wants to listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the compassion of Christ for the souls of others and the boldness to speak up and declare the gospel.People need the Lord. Don’t let Satan keep you silent out of fear that nobody wants to listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the compassion of Christ, and speak up and #declarethegospel. Click To Tweet
If you would like to be encouraged in both motivation and methods for declaring the gospel, I invite you to join us October 3–6, 2021, for Spiritual Leadership Conference here in Lancaster, California. Our theme for this year’s conference is “Declare the Gospel.” Every service and session will be centered on Christ and the why and how to share the good news of His death, burial, and resurrection. Additionally, we have added some afternoon opportunities to connect and collaborate with conference speakers as well as the staff of Lancaster Baptist Church. I believe this will be the most encouraging and equipping Spiritual Leadership Conference we have ever had. I hope you will join us.