Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 8, 2006

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! 2 Cor 5:17 (NLT)

Don’t ever underestimate the power of the Gospel to reach and transform a life! Don’t ever write someone off as unreachable by or disqualified from the love of Jesus. Don’t ever undervalue the power of a Biblically functioning community.

Three weeks ago, while at the nametag table, I met John (not his real name). He looked distraught and as I introduced myself to him, he told me this was his first time at church. His sister had encouraged him to come. I asked some basic questions and walked with him into the Worship Center and introduced him to a few people before the start of the 9:15 gathering.

After the gathering, we talked some more, and I learned that John’s wife had, the previous week, left him for another man. It was this situation which caused him to wake up to the brokenness in his life and home. I asked two questions:
Can I pray for you regarding this?
Has anyone ever shared with you how to have a relationship with God?

He answered yes to the first and no to the second question. After praying for him, I placed in his hands a four point outline of the plan of salvation and asked him to read it tonight, and for him to email me to reconnect. I invited him to come back next week.

Even though I didn’t see him, he returned the following week, and then came back again last Sunday. After the gathering, the first words out of his mouth were, “I want to follow Christ.” Since coming, he had attended our Celebrate Recovery program and was drawn not just by the message, but by the love of our community.

After praying in the sanctuary, we walked together to the Resource Center, where I gave John his first Bible (he is in his late 30’s), directed him to the book of John and talked about a follow-up process with him. John left with hope! While his marriage was still uncertain, he had hope in God to guide, empower and direct his life…for all eternity.

Let’s exegete this experience and learn some things:
Be on the lookout for guests and assert yourself to introduce yourself to them. We have many people like John who visit every week, and do you want to know the number one reason guests don’t return for a second time? They found their experience to be cold and unfriendly.
Wear a nametag. It is simple, but writing your name on a nametag and wearing it puts our guests on a level playing field in knowing names.
Ask some questions. In asking, you are learning about the person and trying to establish common ground. It gives you some handles on how to connect our guests to a person or ministry that would be relevant to them. It shows our guests that you are interested in them.
As the Holy Spirit leads, offer to pray or share the Gospel with them. I have never had anyone refuse my offer to pray for their circumstances. Our Gospel pamphlets are called Would you Like to Know God Personally and are on the back information table.
Be open to follow up. You never know how God may use you to change the life of one of our guests. You can be a blessing to someone this very Sunday!

John contacted me this week and told me his wife called and wants to reconcile the relationship. He told her that one of the conditions in the reconciliation is that she come to church with him this Sunday…looks like we will have one more guest attending!