Extending the reach of the church

May 14, 2020

It is rewarding when men who are far from God turn to the Lord. Jim began to minister to unchurched men in our city just three weeks into our discipleship group. He wanted to replicate our discipleship outside the church.

Jim recruited two buddies who were not attending church, and together they began to study God’s Word, share their struggles, pray and care for one another. Three years later, what started with two men has grown to 20 men who were once far from God, but who now meet weekly in three separate groups.

In a recent interview, the men explained what they most value about their groups. They said they hungered for male friendship, particularly as they got older. They desired an informal agenda, allowing them to focus on whatever needs a friend had. They wanted to hear what God had to say in Scripture. They needed a safe place where they could let down the façade and talk about anything. One called it an “unfiltered” opportunity to share with others who understood and cared. They found all of these things in their groups.

Like all of us, COVID-19 limited their groups from meeting. So their groups opted to stay in touch through text messages. This past week, they couldn’t stand being apart any longer. So one group of seven met in the open driveway of a member’s home while socially distancing.

It was a sweet time of renewed fellowship in which they spent several hours catching up, talking about challenges as well as victories, and praying for one another. Next week they’ll continue the outdoor meetings as they begin to worship and study the Word together “live” once again.

What if more of us extended similar invitations to those outside our church buildings? Such groups might help people come back to our churches. What if we did not insist that people attend our services, but helped them to develop into house churches where they are?

The potential to recoup for the kingdom those who have walked away is real but largely untapped. Sometimes all it costs is our willingness to engage them in non-traditional ways in hopes of leading them back to worshipping the Lord. About 16 men who previously had trusted Christ but had walked away from church are back praying, studying Scripture, caring for each other and sharing their faith.

Because Jim intentionally worked his spheres of influence, inviting men to his home to seek the Lord, he is helping reconcile people to God. The joy, fellowship and empowerment that Jim experiences pale to that which he will experience at the coming of our Lord Jesus. On that day these men will be Jim’s hope, joy and crown of boasting in the presence of the Lord (1 Thessalonians. 2:20). Not only will they be a reason for his reward, but they will be what most glorifies the Father (John 15:8).

Could God use you to extend the reach of the church into your community?


by Steve King  /  DiscipleNC Catalyst  /  Friendly Avenue Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C.

SBC leaders commend CDC guidelines to churches

Southern Baptist leaders commended to churches the new federal guidelines for restoring in-person worship gatherings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, even as efforts to resolve conflicts between state governments and faith communities continue. The Centers for Disease...

How to make discipleship part of your family’s rhythms

Honestly, most days are a blur. Mornings are a flurry of getting ready for school and work. Days are a blur between work deadlines, after-school activities and traffic. At the end of most of my days, all I want to do is sit in my recliner, kick my feet up and relax — but there’s...

Mayberry doesn’t exist anymore

“Barney Gets His Man” is a favorite episode from The Andy Griffith Show. In that episode, there’s a high-speed car chase, Andy carries a gun and an African-American citizen can be seen in the background when the criminal is apprehended. If that’s the only episode you ever watch,...

EC hears updates on budget, COVID-19 impacts

Days after some churches resumed indoor services following a federal court ruling that lifted statewide restrictions on worship gatherings, members of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) executive committee heard updates on how the COVID-19 pandemic has...

Hollifield announces plans to retire as NC Baptist leader

Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), has announced his plans to retire effective Feb. 28, 2021.Hollifield, 70, has led the convention for 14 years and has served for a total of 27 years. He was elected as...

Why prayer should be a priority

How many times have you heard or maybe even said, “There is nothing else to do but pray”? In reality, shouldn’t it be the first thing we do? A couple of days ago, I was putting some new books on my shelf. I turned my back for a second, and the books started falling like dominos....

Don’t go at it alone: Coping with stress amid COVID-19

Elsie Eller, 84, is a one woman town — literally. She lives in Monowi, Nebraska, the only incorporated town in the United States with a population of one. Eiler is the clerk, treasurer, librarian and mayor. During Elier’s youth, Monowi was a small farm town, occupied by some 150...

10 questions to consider before regathering

The possibility of churches gathering again soon has raised several important questions, including: What date should we regather? How do we greet folks from a social distance? How do we take the offering? How will we accommodate our entire church family when we must deal with...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter and events email.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!