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.

Seeking sending churches

One of the biggest obstacles to planting effective new churches is a lack of qualified, prepared planters. In recent times, before COVID-19, I sat in a room with evangelical church planting leaders from across the nation. In presentation after presentation these national leaders...

‘Reimagine’ resource addresses today’s realities, tomorrow’s possibilities

How does your church see this COVID moment? On a recent webcast by the Barna Group titled “Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” panelists posed the question, “Is this an interruption or a disruption?” An interruption means that this is only a temporary interference in our lives,...

Farewell, with thankfulness, gratitude and prayers

After more than 27 years as a staff member and more than 14 years of leading the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), the time has come for me to bid you farewell as your executive director-treasurer (EDT). I am retiring at the end of this month, so this...

Board approves annual meeting date changes

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors approved date changes to the next three annual meetings, elected an interim executive director-treasurer and heard an update on the search for a permanent executive director during a meeting held Tuesday,...

Endowment established to honor Milton & Gloria Hollifield

A new endowment has been established to honor longtime Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr. and his wife Gloria for their service and contributions to Baptist life in the state.State convention officials announced...

Upshaw elected interim EDT; Search committee provides update

Brian Upshaw, who has served in a variety of key leadership positions with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), has been elected as the interim executive director-treasurer of the state convention effective March 1. In this role, Upshaw will oversee the work of...

Suicide: The elephant in the sanctuary

“Pastor, come quickly! He’s going to kill himself!” Those words still ring in my ears even though it’s been many years since the night one of my church members frantically yelled them into the phone as soon as I answered. It's rare for a pastor to receive a call like that, but...

The vanishing Bible Belt: The secrets southern churches must learn to stay healthy

Ed Litton’s congregation needed a wake-up call. So, one Sunday night, he rounded up everyone age 50 and over and told them, “We’re gonna die.” In this case, he wasn’t talking about individuals, but the church. Sure, they were in Mobile, Ala., in the heart of the Bible Belt. But...

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!