Bible Think Tank

This site is designed to help you interact with others about God's Word. I further some thoughts we developed during morning and evening gatherings at church. I have my NT translations from the original Greek to English. Also, I have book reviews and other current events.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fellowship News Article


Two articles have gotten my attention recently in Fellowship News. The first is “A Missionary Mandate for the 21st Century” by Colby Weinhofer (Sept 2007 and Oct 2007) and the second was “Having Missional Impact” by Dave Gundrum (Dec 2007). Without restating what these brothers have already written, I’d like us all to continue the conversation our denomination needs to have about effective, longterm outreach to our spiritually dead neighbors.

Our Fantastic Message

I believe that the Church has a phenomenal message. What Jesus brought to humanity is a beautiful thing. Namely, that I the rebel against God have received mercy by a lovingly gracious Creator. In that mercy, God satisfied His wrath against me by punishing His one and only beloved Son, who is our Savior, Christ Jesus. Not only has He soothed His anger against me, but He has brought me into His family, put His Spirit in me, declared me righteous, and continually makes me more like Jesus until the day He takes me home to be with Him forever. What a truly fantastic and (in many ways) unbelievable message!

Let’s Get The Job Done

In many ways, the Church is like the Jamaican bobsled team that has found itself broken down only a few meters from the finish line. We, who alone in the world have a great and lasting message of hope from God to mankind, have only a few steps to go before we finish what Christ commissioned us to do.

While we have only a few steps to go worldwide, it seems that the Church is losing footing in areas that once were shored up. Europe, once the bastion of Christianity, has thousands of beautiful, empty church buildings. New England, once the home of the Great Awakening and her sequel, now is a very spiritually cold area. America, wherever you turn does not seem very Christian. While much of the missional conversation discourages us with the onslaught of terrible statistics, I would like to encourage, uplift, motivate, and otherwise stir up our spirits.

At last, our job is nearing completion. Let us not grow weary in well doing. Let us send out our finest and brightest to the uttermost in missionary service! Let us plant Bible Fellowship Churches where Christ’s light in a community is all but snuffed out. Let us talk with our neighbor about Jesus. Let us stop merely memorizing that verse and begin to live it when Jesus said “let your light so shine before men that they would see your good works and glorify Your Father who is in heaven!”

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I am convinced that our hesitancy in outreach is all about the “how.” We know the “why” of outreach. We know the “what” of outreach. We need work on the “how” because we do not want to look like door-to-door salesmen or cult members and we do not want to sell Jesus short of all the majesty and glory that is due to His Name. So the “how” is important.

There is a two-pronged approach to effective outreach. First, there needs to be church-wide outreach activities. We need to run events that are both “safe” enough that unbelievers will come and “safe” enough that our people will invite outsiders in. These events ought to have some perceived-needs addressed. Financial seminars, sports ministries, support groups, soup kitchens, and countless other ministries are perceived-needs-based ministries that let a spiritually sick and dead community know that we care and want them to be made whole.

The other, equally important, prong of effective outreach is one-on-one discipleship. All of us need to know our neighbors. We need to care about our neighbors. When you hear them fighting, let them know you pray for them. When your kids are in soccer league together with theirs, sit with them at the game. Have them over for dinner, let them return the favor. Be with your neighbors. This is, after all, what the Almighty God did when He took on flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) with us. “You shall call His Name Immanuel which translated means ‘God with us.’” People want to know that we care. Don’t you like to feel cared for? The lost are no different than you, except for their eternal destination.

And now, let me offer a shameless plug. This October, your pastors are invited to attend the BFC Ministerial Convention. It is for everyone on ministry staff at your church. Our theme this year is “Reaching Your Jerusalem” in which we will answer the challenge of how we can fulfill Jesus’ commission of being His witnesses and making disciples of Him in our local communities. Make sure your pastors go.

As for all readers, pray about your level of involvement in the Great Commission. Pray that God would lay some soul upon your heart. Pray that God would stir in your church, our churches, and the Church Universal the burden to reach lost souls with the great message of hope that we hold within us.

Now more than ever, we, the Bible Fellowship Church, need to be “an expanding fellowship of churches united to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”

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Blogger Tim Bertolet said...

This is a good article. I look forward to seeing it in fellowship news.

It's too bad you don't have time to delve into the issues more. In this respect so many of the fellowship news articles are mere teasers. It seems to me that years ago they used to be longer (maybe not, that could just be the perception of a young kid).

I think sometimes people are getting hung up over "missional" and "emerging" as terms where there are a bunch of people doing just what the church has always done: taking the gospel to our neighbors. (Granted there are factions of 'emerging'/'emergent' where gospel doesn't mean what it used to mean and so neither does 'missions'--but you steer clear of this)

You know, another way to follow this up would be: "what does it mean to love our neighbor?"
Sometimes I think we are so intent on withdrawling from our communities to our church activities so that we only socialize with church families and we ignore our neighbors or other non-Christians we know. I really liked your idea of having people over for dinner and stuff like that--sometimes we only do that with people we go to church with.

See you Sat.

3/07/2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger Timothy Schmoyer said...

sometimes we only do that with people we go to church with.

word up!

Christian school. CCM.

3/07/2008 10:17 AM  
Blogger Frances said...

You could even help your kids search for soccer news articles of their favorite teams. This way, you enjoy quality time with them.

8/16/2012 1:44 AM  

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