Church Growth: False Models vs. Incarnational Evangelism

The most outrageous “false model” I have encountered happens to be the following: A local congregation back home spends about $15,000 dollars to pay preachers for a huge Gospel Crusade for the year and no one does follow up on contacts, or even goes out into the fields to really invite others. Fact is, over 80 % of those in the crusade are already members. The
thought was “If you spend it, they will come”. Not in this case!

Incarnational evangelism involves Spreading the Gospel, by firstly PREPARING-
learning the important matters such as Love, Justice, mercy, and salvation. Secondly, PRACTICING- those things on a day to day basis, by assisting all in need, as best you can, whether in material or spiritual things. And lastly, patiently CONTINUING to be an example by showing fruits that you have read, understand and believe scripture. In time, you will have an audience to read scripture with, or answer questions for. This will be the end result of you taking part in their lives FIRST!

This concept is hard to understand in a society built on overnight success, instant coffee,
microwave meals, or ready-made fast food. We don’t want to wait patiently for
good things, cultivating, learning and maturing as we grow. In Christianity, God has no timeline—his goal has always been to guide the spiritual transformation of “quality” people. So what are we in for these days……Quality or Quantity?

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MinistryJournal 2008 (no.13)

Robby John
Harding University
3/31/08
Weekly Journal

It will have been one year, since I started working with this congregation, in about 2 hrs. Time has gone by so quickly and I have often wondered, what good have I done while being here. It seems that the brethren are more excited and intrigued by all the learning ,they are still open and ready for-I think they really have changed, as I have, for the better, though the increments may be slow and small, yet it is visible. Within all this concealed thought and reflection, I got a shout from God on Tuesday evening.
Br. Joe, is about 81yrs of age and he is married to a great Christian woman, lee. She has a lot of body aches, constantly, yet he takes care of her. She often argues and talks rough to him, even at Church meetings. She’s a sweet, yet troublesome lady, who has encouraged all at Church. She often says that Joe is too forward-he likes to talk about the Bible too much, with everyone he meets for the first instance. She says all he does all day is read (the Bible) and write (scriptural references, on the bills he posts in the mail). To her, it’s a waste of time- she wants to go out in the park, where they live, to meet people; maybe catch a parade sometime (though she knows her frail body won’t allow her.
Recently, Joe was found guilty as charged, of striking up biblical conversations, with people he met at wal-mart or by the side of the road selling fruits, or even newspapers. I observed that he had actually gotten another prospect (the former will be mentioned later). His name was D. McKenna; relatively young (about late thirties), who weighed about 80 pounds, confined to a wheelchair, being paralyzed from the waste down. As I drove by the Church, I observed their cars parked outside, on a few occasions, as they utilized the church building, to study.suprisingly to, me, D still drives and gets around fine with his chair ,by himself.
To make a long story short, Joe called me on Tuesday afternoon and said we might have a baptism today and if I knew where we could go. Well, there are no lakes or rivers close by, so I called up a sister, who has a pool and she agreed to have us come over, if necessary.
There I was, at the house, working on projects, waiting, as the Angels were also waiting in heaven. The call came, hallelujah—I was so overjoyed and just couldn’t’ stop jumping around the house, as my wife made ready towels and such, for us to depart.
Upon talking to D for a bit, we took his confession and I held him and went into the water. Things got a little out of hand, as I eased back, and mistakenly went into the deep end of the pool. What a sight, to see those on the side of the pool grab my shoulder, to rescue me from toppling D over. (Besides, it was my first Baptism In a pool; I’m from the Islands)
When we finally got it done, we hugged him and welcomed him, into the family. In moments like these, I really understand what mission philosophy should be. Here it is, Joe has been seeking and searching and being ridiculed, yet he never gave up and because of his persistence, a soul was saved. The Angels could now rejoice and turn to wait for the next in line. As for the other person Joe met, who hasn’t been baptized yet; well, he still comes and visits .he was there on Wednesday and he also brought a friend.
I think God has taught me a valuable lesson in all of this: though we wait for fruits to bear, it doesn’t mean that because we are made to wait, the soil isn’t good and fertile and the watering is not sufficient. Only God gives the increase, as we Christians plant and water continuously. When the increase comes, it is always worth the wait. I can’t wait for next year.


2008 Ministry Journal (no.7)

Robby John
Harding University
2/03/008

Weekly journal of reflection

This week was not so bad; very eventful, in terms of emotions stirred within me and discussions with others, concerning church related topics. It started off as a typical week, yet at the very end, things got a little tedious.

Myself and another brother from church (one of the leaders), had just gotten through with disposing of the Churches’ trash, at the local city dump. We made our way back, stopping off once, to acquire some grapefruits from land which a sister at the church owns. Upon arriving at home, the brother informed me, as I proceeded to exit the van, that I needed to be aware of some “grumblings’ among some members
Essentially, I was told that people did not appreciate the fact that I didn’t show up for a cookout, at one of the schools in a not too distant town, which provides care, housing and education for, orphan kids. The school is open to the general public, yet orphan kids have house parents and so on, who supervise and take care of them, as they go to school.

I related to the brother, that I couldn’t be at all the functions ; that I had other obligations stemming from preparing all the lessons for Church and also, trying to increase my efforts in doing Ministry in the surrounding area, where the church is located and also, staying in touch with the sick brethren within our own congregation.
He proceeded to remind me that this was an obligation of the “Minister” of the church and that they did expect me to be there more, yet also, apologized for it not being part and parcel of my “job description”, which I never received.

All in all, I was very frustrated. I talked to my wife about it and I just decided to keep on keeping on. I will be at the activities as I can make it, but still, I cannot endorse the church only attending to a school, which is well taken care of already, yet neglecting their own body and the community they reside in. so, it remains to be seen. I constantly felt that God was reminding me of the true state of ministry within a setting of immaturity and calling me to be mature and understanding. My emotions say I don’t really need this, yet my spiritual mind says, accommodate as you can, without neglecting the spirit-led ministry. I pray that God gives me strength to be loving and kind, yet still be an example of maturity and not neglect those in the body, who do need assistance along with those in the community as well.

I feel fine now that I am able to write out some of these thoughts. Praise the lord that he has counted me worthy to feel an inkling of what servants of before, had as an ongoing struggle with church growth. Thank you lord and May I prepare myself to greet even more, so that the image of Christ could be formed in me, in everyway