Dear Friends -
Acts begins with Jesus sending his followers as his witnesses, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses... ” It ends with Paul, imprisoned in Roman still proclaiming the gospel. Acts 28:30, 31, “For two whole years Paul stayed there (Rome) in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance.”
The role of Jesus’ followers has not changed. We still live under Jesus’ command to be his witnesses.
It may seem harder to fulfill that call today. I once asked Rev. Sam Knappenburger what he did in the 1960's to attract so many people. (Sammy had served Franklin First UMC when they built their education wing.) He said, “Our problem wasn’t getting people to come. They came in droves. Our problem was to figure out what to do with them once they came.”
It’s different today. Visitors do not come in droves. Families do not move into our area in great numbers. Those who do move here often aren’t looking for a church. We have to go looking for them.
But this does not mean that the Lord is not drawing people to himself. The good shepherd still roams the hills in search of lost sheep he may bring back to the fold. No, the change is not in the Lord. The change is in our culture, and in our church. Reaching people for Jesus Christ requires different skills today.
That is why I want to encourage you to attend the outreach seminar “See All the People” on September 28 (See related article). I believe the seminar will both inspire us and provide practical training for success. If a number of us attend, perhaps 6 or 8, we will be able to bring back ideas that will help the entire congregation.
Many people who don’t attend or even like the church, think highly of Jesus. Many are looking for a purpose in their lives. Many are seeking something or someone through whom they can make a difference in our world. All this makes successful outreach in our time possible.
So please mark your calendar and plan to attend “See All the People.” See what God may do through us when we see all the people he is seeking today.
- Pastor Byron
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