On a recent Sunday, I was honored to preach in a Kentucky Baptist church with more than 200 years of ministry under its belt. We enjoyed a great Sunday School lesson using Lifeway resources. The person who introduced me referenced the well-known Southern Baptist icon, Lottie Moon, as the offering that bears her name was promoted. I then preached a message helping the church prepare for, and pray for, the next God-called leader to serve as its pastor.
But one of the memorable highlights from this preaching excursion came after the worship service was concluded. Accompanied by a member of the church, we went into the community for the express purpose of knocking on doors and sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Here are several takeaways from that time spent in soul-winning endeavors:
1. People need the Lord. At nearly every home we visited, we were greeted by men and women who were either followers of Christ or candidates for Christianity. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and deserve punishment for our sin. The punishment deserved is an eternity spent in hell.
The people we met will one day be in either heaven or hell for all eternity. These front porch visits reminded me that people need the Lord.
2. People are open to the gospel. Several of the people we met were already Christians and were generally appreciative of our visit. We spoke with them about Christ, His grace and their situations. In most cases we ended our time praying for the homeowners as they were dealing with problems of their own. There were others we met who were not saved, but who were open to a gospel presentation. Using the 3-Circles presentation, I shared Christ with two men as we stood outside their home on a cool December afternoon. They were open to hearing about Jesus.
3. The devil is at work. In one case we shared the gospel with a young man coming out of incarceration for drug-related offenses. He seemed genuinely open to the gospel and identified himself as broken and in need of Christ. As we were about to ask if he would receive Jesus at that moment, a friend pulled up in a small SUV and said it was time to go. He told us that he needed to go with his friend.
While not all incidents of this nature are attributed to Satan, some are. The devil is at work while believers are at work spreading the gospel.
4. Churches must evangelize.
The church I visited that day is in decline in attendance and is aware that it must evangelize — not only to reach its community but also to survive into the future. The church has room in its sanctuary for new people to come in and the people in their community are open to their outreach. Churches must evangelize.
5. Believers want to grow in evangelism. Before visiting the church that Sunday, I asked if there was someone who could visit with me after the service concluded. The young man who assisted me on front door evangelism was an absolute delight. As we visited homes together, we also spoke about his life, struggles, successes and challenges, as well as his attempts to share the gospel in his workplace. It was apparent to me that if a pastor, or seasoned soul-winner, could spend time with this young follower of Jesus, that his life could make a great impact for Christ. Believers want to grow in evangelism. While we live in challenging days, let us not lose sight of the mission handed down to us by Jesus. People are open to the gospel and we must go to them.
Would you join me in seeing to it that in 2021 that gospel gets to every home in the commonwealth?
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.