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.

5 reasons your pastor should take a sabbatical

The word “sabbatical” has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It has one meaning in the academic community, another meaning in its biblical usage, and still another in many secular settings. For the purpose of this article, I define sabbatical in...

Baptist state convention to host community blood drive

In response to critically low blood supplies in the region, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is hosting a community blood drive at its offices in Cary on Thursday, June 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following is more information about the drive. WHAT:The Baptist State...

Grandparenting: Embracing a God-sized vision

“Isn’t it great to be a grandparent? You get to spoil them and give them back to their parents!” This is a common response when people find out I am a grandparent, but it reveals an incorrect and incomplete view from a biblical perspective. My wife and I are enjoying this phase of...

How to create a comprehensive disciple-making strategy for your church

As summer arrives in full force, it may be difficult to think about fall ministries. Planning, recruitment, schedules and programming lie ahead, but have you ever asked the question, “What if our preschool, children’s, youth and adult ministries were viewed as layers in one...

11 fun ideas to serve children (and families) this summer

One area of concern school teachers have noticed about children returning to school after months of virtual schooling is the delay or regression of social skills. Time away from in-person interaction has caused a lag in the social and emotional development of many children. With...

Twitter hashtag focuses on the good work of Southern Baptists

On a website that often makes social media look terribly anti-social, many Southern Baptists have been sharing some positivity with the Twitter hashtag #ThisistheSBC. As the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting looms, social media posts and conversations about the...

A ‘Revelation 5’ vision for North Carolina

Near the end of his life while exiled on the island of Patmos, quarantined if you will, the Apostle John was given a foretaste of the future. Part of John’s vision recorded in Revelation 5 includes a picture of thousands and thousands of people from every tribe and language and...

On mission through the Cooperative Program

For almost 100 years, the Cooperative Program (CP) has been the primary way Southern Baptists “do” the work of ministry together both here and abroad. Standing on the firm ground of the Great Commission, the CP is an effective tool that galvanizes the missionary zeal of our...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!