Have I mentioned how much we love our church? Oh yeah, forty times or so. I think I mentioned before when we changed churches we expected to have to swallow quite a bit. It turned out quite the opposite. Instead we are constantly, even still, amazed at how much we love it and how excited we are. And not just over the people but the underlying principles that govern the church's actions.-
At a recent leadership meeting one of our pastors highly recommended the book The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman. We ordered it and began reading it aloud as a family at dinner (which is at noon) today. We've never been a family that has had a big interest in evangelism as is commonly practiced in our society but this book definitely has our interest. One thing we have been amazed at is how successful our church has been at reaching unchurched people and they do it with a large dose of REALITY. Being real and relevant while loving people not only draws them but keeps quite a few of them growing and in turn serving others. We immediately felt that not only would this be a place where we could give, but that there were things we could learn here.
Back to the book. The first chapter describes Jesus' stradegy. He concentrated heavily on teaching and mentoring a few, while at the same time serving the multitudes. He "favored" a few because of His love for the multitudes and He had a plan to multiply His work on earth.
"Yet, strangely enough, it is scarcely comprehended in practice today. Most of the evangelistic efforts of the church begin with the multitudes under the assumption that the church is qualified to preserve what good is done. The result is our spectacular emphasis on numbers of converts, candidates for baptism, and more members for the church, with little or no genuine concern manifested toward the establishment of these souls in the love and power of God, let along the preservation and continuation of the work."
"Here is where we must begin just like Jesus. It will be slow, tedious, painful, and probably unnoticed by people at first, but the end result will be glorious, even if we don't live to see it. Seen this way, though, it becomes a big decision in the ministry. We must decide where we want our ministry to count - in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Really it is a question of which generation we are living for. "
Several of us remarked on this last passage and how like homeschooling it is. How so many parents are giving up the approval or recognition from their peers and society because they are thinking ahead to the next generation. And how like Jesus' plan it is to spend the most intensive teaching time on a few.