To pastors who read this blog, you are key in helping your people tell the gospel.
After I heard Paul Chelson commenting about how their pastors were doing an exceptionally good job at this, I asked Paul and Judy to write about how pastors in their church are helping people tell the gospel.
Tony Campolo once likened some churches to power plants with lines coming in but no lines to the outside—busily working, humming with programs and resources, creating light and comfort for its workers, but sitting in a dark landscape. We are very blessed that the pastors in our church work hard to make sure our church is not like that power plant.
We have pastors who understand the difference between church work and the work of the Church. Every service starts with an invitation for members and guests to come along as we peel back the curtain of heaven to join in worship around the Throne. There is always the sense that what we are doing is part of a much, much larger picture than we can see in our sanctuary.
Yes, the church work they oversee makes it possible for the lights to come on, the seats and floors to be clean, the clothes to be donated, the children to be taught, the monies to be handled, the Sunday schools to meet, the Bible to be explained, the bulletins to be printed, and lots of other, very crucial tasks that must be done–and we are very, very grateful for all of this. We understand from them that church work is to support, train, and strengthen us so we can reach others for Him.
Reaching others outside the Christian community is the purpose—the work of the Church. Why are we here instead of in heaven with our Lord? We are still here so we can take the Gospel to the Lost by telling them about Jesus and showing what a difference he makes in our life. Our pastors get what the work of the Church really is. One of the pastors said that he would like to see the day when the number of newly baptized adult Christians exceeds the number of babies baptized into our Presbyterian membership in a given year.
To tell and show those outside about Jesus, our pastors and elders run groups for people to bring their friends; they push to start daughter churches; and they support Christianity Explored because they see it as an effective way to take the power of the Gospel to the world around the church.
What does that support look like?
-Three times a year: September, January, and Easter—times when many unchurched people come in for a look at what we Christians are all about—pastors encourage members to bring friends and the Gospel is laid out especially clearly. Christianity Explored is mentioned and people are invited. Flyers are in the bulletins, around the church, in the small groups, and handed out in ESOL, MOPS, Twenties and Thirties, and other groups.
-Materials are ordered and paid for, and rooms are reserved and set up.
-The three Christianity Explored offerings are promoted from the pulpit.
-Pastors ask to be kept up to date with who is coming and what is happening
-The Christianity Explored DVD is used in the New Members class.
The pastors are supportive because they get that the work of the Church is to follow Jesus as he tells us to “seek and save the lost”—and they see that Christianity Explored is one way our church does this. They know that many of our seekers will end up being discipled in other churches closer to their homes and closer to their cultural background. In fact, the pastors gave us a list of Bible-centered churches in surrounding areas for us to steer some of our people to, as appropriate.
They also get that we at Christianity Explored are not about adding numbers to the membership rolls of their local church but about adding numbers to the worldwide, timeless Church of God. Because of the pastor’s and others’ support, Christianity Explored is able to be one of the power lines out, bringing light to a dark world.
–Paul and Judy Chelson