Praise God for the outreach trip to West Virginia. I would say it was an excellent trip, but how can you feel good about something when you see so much pain and suffering. West Virginia currently leads the nation in the opioid epidemic and has the highest rate of drug abuse and overdoses per capita. West Virginia opioid epidemic
For some churches in the area of SE North Carolina this yearly outreach event has been an opportunity to bring clothes, jackets, toys and backpacks with school supplies to the kids in these surrounding communities. Volunteers from the area cook a big meal here one day for anyone to come an enjoy. While I think that it is an excellent thing to meet some of the needs of the local community through good works, donations, and love. There is no greater love than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
” I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
(3 John 1:4, King James Version)
While everyone was helping to setup for the big meal, the volunteers were tripping over each other to grab a chair or table in order to be a part of the set up. I appreciated seeing the willingness of the volunteers to do something to get involved. I then made a comment to a brother “I would be nice with so many willing people that some of us could go out into the community to share the gospel and talk with people.” It was then that he replied “They are planning on going on a prayer walk around town soon.” Now in the past some people I have ran across think prayer walking is a waste of time and have often criticized it as a way to give the appearance you are doing missions but not actually sharing the gospel or doing anything meaningful; even taking the “easy way out”.
However, I have seen and believe that both are vital to effective ministry. Whenever a planned outreach takes place and the gospel is planned to be shared, all these works need to be covered in fervent prayer. After we got back from helping a local man, suddenly a brother ran up to us saying “Hurry, they are already heading out for the prayer walk.” A huge group of at least fifty people came streaming out of the community center building to prayer walk. I knew that it was going to be difficult with so many people to have any meaningful conversations with local people. So myself, my son, and my son’s friend set off in another direction armed with a box of bibles to go door to door. As we set out, we knew we had an army of Christian soldiers praying nearby!
Now, if you have not learned or ever participated in the old Southern Baptist, Lifeway produced, F.A.I.T.H evangelism even though many churches have abandoned it for the “latest and greatest” evangelism methods and strategies, I believe the principles are still some of the best ever produced. We started by knocking on doors. When someone answered the door we invited them to come to the community meal if they were interested. After the invitation we asked if they would like a bible if they didn’t have one. After that, we started very simply by employing faith evangelism approaches. Now it would be too long to share all the details of all our encounters at houses, or in the middle of the road with locals walking by. The resulting gospel outreach of our small team of three and surely those covering the city in prayer was that we had an 85 year old man pray to accept Christ, as well as two young men and a young women probably late 20’s receive Christ. One of the young men in particular has been struggling with life that has lead him in and out of jail and is currently jobless. This particular young man has agreed to let me call him on the phone at least once a week to undergo a type of brotherhood/mentorship to try to help him through some things he is going through now. That particular area we spent most of our time has a very high rate of crime and drug use as well as a high rate of unemployment. What once was a thriving coal and timber town is now economically depressed as those sectors have somewhat closed down with nothing to replace it.
This is missions. The mission is everyday, the mission is your family, your friends, and especially the disadvantaged and struggling areas of your community. The mission is where God directs you to go today. What are you going to do about it? Hopefully you will respond in obedience. Will you be Christ’s salt and light in the hard areas of your community? Or any particular area for that matter? Pray about it as a Church and start being intentional to get involved. IT IS HARD WORK! It requires lot’s of prayer, it requires being prepared for spiritual battles against you and your family, it requires sacrifice and sometimes little praise. Who do we serve? Are we really grateful for what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us? Then let us live every day in proof that we are! As always please keep in touch with us anytime by email at email@example.com.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:10-13 (King James Version)