It’s as apparent now more than ever that our churches need to engage the community around them. We meet weekly in our church buildings for corporate gatherings, but do we leave ready to share the gospel and make disciples in Jesus’ name?
The video above exemplifies the need for the church to engage the community around them. We’ve asked three ministry leaders with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to give reasons why churches and individuals should have a missionary mindset in their communities. Here’s what they had to say.
The community around the church is lost. — Marcus Redding, Strategic Focus Team
In John 4:35, Jesus says, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
We have to lift our eyes to the lostness around us. Statistics tell us there are more than 5.8 million people in North Carolina who are not following Jesus Christ. Somehow, it seems that we have missed the harvest in front of us. Take at look at this map to see if a pocket of lostness is near you.
Through the years our focus has shifted from, “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations,” to “we can’t get people to come to church.” But what was Jesus’ command?
The Strategic Focus Team exists to help in the development and application of disciple-making ministry with an Acts 1:8 focus. Contact us if we can partner in efforts to impact lostness.
New life for existing members. — Lonnie Reynolds, Church Health and Revitalization
Reaching outside the walls of the church is pivotal for revitalization. When we engage those outside of the church we are reminded that we, too, desperately need the power of the gospel.
When we reach out, we’re most like Jesus, whose mission was to seek and to save the lost. And once more we are reminded of our very own need for the gospel to dwell richly in us. So, as we go, may we go in love. May we go in a posture of service and be reminded that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is news worth living for every single day.
Why is reaching outside the four walls of the church necessary for a church to be revitalized? Because making disciples who make disciples is the final, and perhaps most important, command that Jesus gave His followers.
Disciple-making is for both longtime followers of Jesus and those who have not yet heard His name. Sometimes we as believers have this misconception that the power of the gospel is only for those who have yet to become His followers.
However, Jesus modeled for us that the gospel is most powerfully communicated in the context of relationships. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “We didn’t just share the message [gospel] with you, we shared our very lives with you” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
The BSCNC Church Health and Revitalization ministry seeks to help churches evaluate how they can best serve their community so that the local church can reach its mission of making disciples. If you think your church is in need of revitalization, check out this resource or contact us.
Working together advances the kingdom. — Zac Lyons, Great Commission Partnerships
The partnerships seen in the New Testament are founded on relationships and are for the advancement of the kingdom (Galatians 2:2; Colossians 1:5-6; 4:11). There are at least three components seen in these partnerships: prayer, participation and provision.
First, partnerships need a prayer strategy (Colossians 1:3-8; 4:12). We need to be partners who wrestle with God in intercessory prayer on behalf of those with whom we are laboring for the spread of the gospel.
We need to be partners who wrestle with God in intercessory prayer on behalf of those with whom we are laboring for the spread of the gospel.
Second, partnerships need participation in ministry alongside their partners (Philippians 2:25-30). Paul says that Epaphroditus “nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking” from the church at Philippi (Philippians 2:30). We need to be partners who are willing to take great risk for the sake of Christ.
Third, partnerships need provision (Acts 11:27-30; 12:25). When the new church at Antioch learned of a famine over the whole world, they responded with great generosity. Rather than caring first for their own needs, “everyone” according to their own ability determined to send relief. We need to be partners who are willing to make great sacrifices in counting the needs of others as more important than our own.
The office of Great Commission Partnerships is committed to the development of these kinds of partnerships for the spread of the gospel. Help us know how we might help you and your church.
The gospel is meant to spread within the context of relationships. We see through countless examples of evangelism, church planting, church strengthening, and revitalization that seeds of the gospel are sown in our going, in our serving and in our love for pockets of lostness that surround our communities.