It’s hard to believe we are confronting yet again the newness of another year. And, as always, we look for great things ahead, including Sunday Seminars! Sincere thanks to Kathy Faber-Langendoen for bringing her gifts to some great teaching and leading in 2017! We’ve seen record numbers in attendance, and there’s more to come in 2018 from her, Liz and Ryan Green and Don Faber-Langendoen. Check out the details inside this issue of The Messenger!
Speaking of Don, most of you know he is our Witness and Evangelism Ministry Area Leader and Don’s ministry goes way beyond putting up those cool flags that are flapping in the breeze by The Ebenezer Rock and selling t-shirts with awesome logos on them! To that point, I’m excited about a study he will be leading in the Spring and a sermon series I’ll be preaching that we’re calling: “Evangelism Without the Weird After-Taste.” We’ll be using Mark Teasdale’s book, Evangelism for Non-Evangelists: Sharing the Gospel Authentically. In preparing for that series, I was reading a passage from the Gospel of John 1:23-51 recently.
Check it out:
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Now there’s some really cool stuff here but one thing popped out at me. Simply put, Jesus finds Philip and next thing to happen is that Philip goes to find Nathanael. I’d propose that the best evangelists just may be the newest converts. To paraphrase a colleague, Elton Brown: Philip doesn’t take the opportunity to subject Nathanael to a long homily full of messianic proofs nor does he offer a first century version of the “4 Spiritual Laws” and provide an altar call. He makes the best possible invitation for evangelism both then and now: “Come and see”.
To put this in contemporary parlance, think about how the best reviewers are those who share their observations immediately after an event. If I want to post a review of a restaurant, my best thoughts will be the ones that come immediately when I get home…Or maybe the ones that are tweets or Facebook posts while still in the restaurant.
So, I was thinking about all this because we have been seeing some new folks in and around church and I know that they have been visiting because folks have been saying to them: “Come and see.” I heard it at the turkey dinner. I hear it every Spring at the chicken BBQ. I heard it when I ran into someone from the church, who was talking to a colleague of his. I’ve heard it from several of you when you share that you posted something that was meaningful to you on Facebook right after worship service. And interestingly, one thing these invitations to “come and see” all had in common is that they all came shortly after some experience of fellowship or worship at church!
So, good people of God: Keep it up. Keep spreading the word! The best evangelists just may be the newest converts…or better, perhaps: the ones who immediately tell others about something cool that’s happening in church and invite them to “come and see.” You just might be on the cutting edge of a new church growth movement!
See you in church!