by Gene Heinrich
Our preparation for this day hadn’t been perfect, but for a nearly forty-year-old church that hadn’t hosted a public evangelistic event in at least twenty years, we gave it our best. On October 10, Roger Hernandez partnered with the Rockwood church in their outreach.
The church mailed Bible study invitations to every household within a one-mile radius of the church. We passed out GLOW tracts and served hot-dogs at the neighborhood National Night Out. We invited all our neighbors to join us for a community picnic on the church lawn. We mailed out invitations and put up yard signs. Members were equipped with invitations so they could personally invite their friends and family. However, I believe the most significant thing we did was encourage our members to engage in the God’s City:My City six-week small group study and forty days of prayer.
While not every member accepted the challenge to become involved in a God’s City:My City group those that did will never be the same. Not only did they discover the awesome responsibility God has entrusted to them as His followers they also became excited about God’s ability to use them to dispense His love in their city.
I had no doubt that our eight-night evangelistic/revival event would be well attended on opening night. I knew that Roger Hernandez would preach biblical messages. What I didn’t know was what would happen on the third night. Would the members keep coming? Would they rearrange their hectic schedules eight nights in a row?
Yes! At least many of them did. Why? Because Roger is a dynamic speaker? No. Well, he is a dynamic speaker but I don’t think that’s why they kept coming back. They could have tuned in to one of many dynamic speakers on their TVs or through their Internet connections. I’m convinced that they came back night after night because they had been inspired by a renewed sense of mission.
When I reflect on who was there night after night supporting the meetings, greeting the visitors, and engaging the Spirit it was the people who had been involved in the God’s City:My City small groups. They were the ones who came back on the second night, third night, fourth night…and eighth night. Oh sure, I wish more of my members would have supported the meetings with their presence. I wish even more of them would have extended personal invitations to their friends. And I believe more of them will next time because they are seeing the difference it has made in our community.
Maybe you haven't participated in a series of outreach events in years. Maybe your church doesn’t think it will work. After the success we experienced this month my church will tell you evangelism does work – when we do it!
If your church hasn’t done public evangelism in years I would suggest you talk to Roger about the God’s City:My City small group study guide. It will help your members rediscover the mission God has for them. And it will give the Holy Spirit an invitation to invade your church.