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.

6 ways to be a generous leader during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us. It is a time rooted in generosity, from God providing a bountiful harvest for the Pilgrims and Native Americans to God gifting us with His one and only Son. We celebrate because of the great gifts God has bestowed on us. Of course, the holiday season...

Will you pray and go?

I don’t remember much about that day, but one thing I do remember: it was hot — really hot. The temperature in Newton was near 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day. But we had committed to walk our neighborhood and pray for divine appointments. This was the third time in three weeks we...

A Christmas resource with families in mind

Why did Jesus need to come to Earth? This is just one of the thought-provoking questions included in the Advent family devotional surrounding the coming of Christ to the world. “Advent” means coming or arrival, and Family Advent Devotions, developed by the Faith at Home ministry...

California man comes cross country to plant multiethnic church in NC

Is God behind the North Carolina Baptist effort to plant new churches across the state? Gary Lee says yes. He says God called him from California to plant a new church in Raleigh. In fact, Lee is one of many church planters who have been called from other states and nations to...

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering exemplifies our work

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) has supported missionaries to the unreached since 1888. Currently, Southern Baptists can celebrate having 3,640 missionaries serve and share the hope of Christ in the least-reached places across the world with the International Mission...

Hollifield exhorts NC Baptists to prioritize God, gospel & disciple-making

In his final address to messengers as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), Milton A. Hollifield Jr. challenged N.C. Baptists to devote themselves to the Lord and continue working together to fulfill the Great Commission....

4 keys to creating a spiritually vibrant home

The most-asked question I hear from parents is, “How do we raise kids who will love Jesus in adulthood?” One mom in our church phrased it like this, “What is the secret sauce for raising kids who love Jesus?” In our culture today, these are valid questions, and God left the...

Baptist Children’s Homes offer eternal hope to hurting families

One of the ministries in our state that tugs at my heartstrings is the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) of North Carolina. I’m thankful for the long and rich partnership between Baptist Children’s Homes and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. North Carolina Baptists have...

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!