Gospel Meeting??? What’s that?
(When a church invites a guest speaker to preach a series of biblical messages a few nights in a row). Originating in a period when our culture was without all the media and screens that entertain us, Gospel Meetings once held a place of respect and interest. Unchurched guests attended, connected with the message and committed to the host churches. Baptisms and re-commitments to Christ were normal occurrences as well. A large percent of church evangelism centered on inviting a friend to come to a gospel meeting. The Billy Graham campaigns were basically super sized “gospel meetings” hosted by several denominations (“revival” being the preferred term outside of churches of Christ). What’s happening with these today? How has evangelism taken a nose dive in today’s culture? What does God want us to do?
It happens every spring. Foliage is in full bloom. My car turns yellow-green with a film of pollen, each one a tiny suitcase of DNA so small you need a magnifier to see it. How many pieces of pollen does a typical pine or oak tree produce each year? What percentage of these get to a flower and actually fertilize a seed? How many acorns does a typical oak tree produce each year? How many acorns actually grow into another tree? What if the trees decided to stop wasting all that energy on pollen and seeds and focused on more “important” matters like wood production?
God designed the trees to generate a lot of pollen and seeds. Because they keep doing this, forests are filled with them. If they ever stop, when they die, the forest will die too.
I think Christians are called to follow this plan too. We need to scatter the seed of the word of God and not give up. Gospel meetings were seed spreading events. Now that they seem ineffective, what should we do? What does God want?
Bruce Leonard, from the Jasper Church of Christ spoke with me about doing a gospel meeting there next November. We talked about the details a bit and discussed this plan. (Nothing is set in stone here, just brainstorming).
They usually begin on Sunday and finish on Wednesday. We came up with this idea:
Do a meeting about making disciples for Jesus.
1. Begin on Wednesday – Friday teaching, equipping and motivating the congregation on what is, and how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ today. Perhaps making Friday evening a prayer meeting where the congregation presents and prays over names of neighbors and friends that need to follow Christ.
2. Saturday morning meet and go out to the neighborhoods inviting everyone to come to the church that evening for a big cookout, games and dinner speech! Make it a fish fry or hamburgers and hotdogs or some other festive event with yard games and lots of interaction. The fun is the fruit.
3. The dinner speech is the sowing of the seed!
4. Invite everyone to come back Sunday for a celebration of worship and praise to the God who made us and sent Jesus to save us. This is the beginning of watering in preparation of God giving the increase.
Can this possibly work? Can God use something like this to revive evangelism in “gospel meetings?” This must all begin with prayer, asking, seeking, knocking that God prepare us and hearts of others for His saving work.
One more idea on the gospel meeting revival. Make the Saturday a “Neighbor Day” and do a VBS type plan with classes for kids of all ages where they go and eat, do crafts and have Bible class, while the adults eat together at the dinner speaker’s presentation of the gospel.
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