Friday, April 17, 2009

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Good Old Fashioned Prayer and Personal Evangelism

Sam seems to be onto something over at Dwell & Cultivate:
... we did something different this year: we didn't advertise -- at least not in the traditional sense of the term. In previous years we have have bought ads in the local paper and on the most popular local radio station. We have sent out direct mail postcards to those in close neighborhoods and, while they weren't as "catchy" as Slumdog Savior, they were designed to be "inviting." While we have rotated different ones of these strategies, we have annually placed a very large banner on our campus with Easter service times. Didn't do that one this year either.

INSTEAD, we went to all our Small Groups and asked them to develop prayer lists of people we care about who don't go to church. We began to pray for God to give us opportunities to comfortably invite them to an Easter service with us. We then printed out simple invitation cards with the service theme, times, location and a map of how to find us ... The result? Our Easter weekend attendance was up over 170 people from last year.
Many of the comments about my "Church-Ditchers" post centered on my supposed disdain for "modern" marketing techniques. Actually, the post wasn't about whether something was modern, but whether it took cheap shots at the church as a means of reaching the unchurched.

But still, sometimes it's good to be reminded that there's something beautiful about simple evangelism, carried out by ordinary Christians and covered in lots of prayer. Almost sounds biblical. Thanks Sam.

5 comments:

  1. How wonderful. We did pretty much the same thing and saw a huge shift in numbers too. I am learning more and more that getting on my knees in prayer is the best line of offense and defense. Then God just has everything else fall into place around me.

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  2. Thanks, Jailer! I'm glad it was useful.

    While I'm here, I would appreciate all the prayers of the cellblock. I have been called in to mediate a conflict involving one of our leaders. It's a bit like wrestling alligators.

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  3. Hi Jailer Please could you take a look at this blog. http://salute2u.blogspot.com/ Blessings to you and your family and that GOD will water your seed.

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  4. I mentioned in a comment on another post that I had been reading William Hendrickson's commentary on Mark's gospel. That comment had to do with Chapter 10, this one with Chapter 11:20-25. Verse 23 would be the central one: "Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him."

    Commenting on the passage, Hendrickson says, "The dramatic figure, in the light of its context, which speaks of faith and prayer, must mean, therefore, that no task in harmony with God's will is impossible to be performed by those who believe and do not doubt."

    The application here is to the "impossible" task of evangelism: How are we to reach people to whom the gospel is a "stumbling block" or "folly"? (1 Cor. 1:23) In the passage in 1 Corinthians just cited, the answer lies in the fact that "it pleases God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe". (vs. 21) More generally, it pleases Him to save those who, in human terms, CAN'T be saved, through the means He has appointed, the most important of which are surely preaching and prayer. If then, we read this passage in 1 Corinthians, or the Pastoral Letters, and really take seriously what He has called the church to do in order to bring the gospel to the lost, and "not doubt in our hearts, but believe" that He will save through these means, then we should expect great things.

    Praise God for this example of a congregation which seems to have done just that!

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  5. I was under the impression that these type of believers do not exist in the Western World because all we hear and see is the post modern christian dogma, be it in a sermon, music or just yet in the fundamental christian beliefs. I stumbled on to this site through a link in the christian business leaders network in linked-in. It is good to see a forum and also hear from a church that believes in the power of prayer, yes real prayer with people on their knees. I hope and pray that there will be a remnant of christians in the US and other Western countries as the Lord returns. I know for sure that the true church is growing by the numbers in the so called third and fourth worlds because their faith is put to the trial every day and they have only one choice - call upon their Abba father on their knees, nothing else. I think it is about time that we readers of this forum get on our knees and pray for a true moody type revival back again in America.

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