There are churches, ministries, pastors, people all across the nation, across the world who have all sorts of ideas of how to reach the world for Jesus Christ. However, all these ideas are nothing more than guessing. The only way we are going to reach our community, our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pray, get the Holy Spirit’s plan, and follow it. However, you have others who say this is a good idea, but…
“But we’ll give away an iPad. We’ll have a big event and we’ll build it around giving away this iPad.“ Or maybe it’s not an iPad, Maybe it’s a big screen TV, a bicycle, a phone – something. Then you have this big event. You start advertising and tell people to come listen to this message or this band and after you listen, we’re going to give away this iPad or whatever it might be.
You have the event. You pray about it. You ask God to bless this outreach. You preach your message, tell people about Jesus and then, hopefully somebody gets saved. Hopefully somebody gives their life to Jesus Christ. And God will bless it. But only so far. There’s a limit to how far He can bless it because it is your plan.
But you give away this iPad. And then you have people coming to get an iPad. You have one iPad and you give it away to the one person. Then you have a group of people upset because they didn’t get an iPad. They get frustrated and they leave and never come back to your church. Or they make friends and come back. But maybe they get upset and never come back.
Yes, you told them upfront you were giving away only one iPad. But they’re still upset. You have a crowd of people who have come to get an iPad, not hear about Jesus. I know what you’re thinking – then what should we do?
The Lord Jesus Christ told us exactly what to do. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me, “ – John 12:32. He didn’t say if you lifted up an iPad, or a big screen TV, or a phone, or anything else. He said if you lift Him up.
This isn’t about growing your church. If you want to grow your church, you need to revaluate your priorities. This isn’t about growing your church. Growing your church comes as a result of what you do. Outreaches are not done for the purpose of growing your church. This is about reach the lost world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is about changing someone’s eternal destination first and foremost. That should be our number one goal. If they come to our church, great. If not, and they’re going somewhere else where they are getting fed the Word, that’s great too. It’s not about growing a church, it’s about growing a Kingdom. Jesus said He would draw all men unto Him, His Kingdom, not a church.
Jesus said if we lift Him up, He’ll draw all men unto Him. You may say that you’re doing that and nothing seems to be happening. Well, the scriptures say other things too. It says to follow the Holy Spirit. Get His plan for what you should do, and do it. Preach Jesus, follow the Holy Spirit and watch the Kingdom grow.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. – Psalm 127:1
Notice in the scripture here it says that unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain. Notice though that the people did get the house built. It is possible to have church, do church, do outreaches and do it all in vain. We must get God’s plan and do it.
I had a friend that went to a church growth conference one time. He was invited by someone else, and after leaving this conference, another guy he went with asked if he learned anything. The two tried not to say anything, but eventually came to the mutual conclusion that you can have church without God.
During this whole conference, they told how you do this thing or that thing and how they have statistics on how to grow churches and what works. Sadly, this was years ago and they still have church growth conferences and are still spewing the same non-biblical, worldly junk that they were when my friend went. Yes, there are some things you can use and implement. But if we’re going to live our lives, build our churches, and reach our world – we have to do it according to God’s plan, and not our own.
We can’t just throw the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s plan out the window. Unfortunately, I know of one church, one of the biggest in the nation- if I said the name, you’d know if right away – and what they do is anything but God’s plan. The church has “campuses” all across the nation. Before one of these churches is opened, people go into a community and do research and see about the young people, the people with kids, and the older people. They do research and have people fill out surveys. When the church is opened, they have the walls painted a certain color to make people feel better. The worship and announcements are a specific amount of time, and no more. The sermon is infused with a video clip, a power point presentation, some form of media to keep people’s attention. And the whole thing lasts a specific time and no longer, no shorter. There is no room for the Holy Spirit to move.
But that is exactly what we need. We need the Holy Spirit to give us the plan. We need the Holy Spirit to anoint His plans as we carry them out. We need the Holy Spirit to pull on people’s hearts as an invitation is given to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We need the Holy Spirit to change the people’s lives. We need to get God’s plans and do them, not ours. Then, what we do will be blessed, be a success, and have maximum impact on our community and world.