Many disciples long to be more fruitful. For some, it’s been years since we helped someone come to faith, repentance, and baptism. If you want to start crushing it in the area of saving souls, start looking for “invisible” Bible studies. There are seekers right now in your church who have been coming to church for a long time. They might have been asked to study the Bible at one point and weren’t ready. Over time, those people become “invisible” to us in the fellowship. We overlook them and never go back and see if their attitude has changed.
At one point in the growth of the Tucson Church, I looked around the fellowship and thought, “We don’t have anyone studying the Bible! Nothing is going on!” Desperate for anyone remotely interested in the Bible I scanned the fellowship and spotted an older man who had been coming to church for over a year. He had been the first person to study the Bible when we planted the church. At that time he was not open to the gospel. I walked up to him and blurted out, “Mr. Flores, would you like to get baptized?” Surprisingly, he said, “Yes, I would.” I ask, “When would you like to get baptized?” He said, “How about Christmas?” It was already a week into December, and so I said, “That would probably mean that we would need to meet nearly every day for the next two weeks to prepare youfor that decision. Would that be ok with you?” He shrugged and said, “That’s fine, I’m retired. As long as I don’t have to drive at night, I can meet everyday.” We started studying the Biblenearly every day for the next week and a half from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. He got baptized at our Christmas service. I couldn’t see the impact at the time, but he is the patriarch of a large family and has six adult daughters with families of their own. Over the next six months, his decision had a ripple effect as his daughters and other relatives either got baptized or restored to the fellowship. God revealed an “invisible” Bible study.
I recently spent time with a minister in San Diego. He shared that shortly after moving to San Diego he spotted a man in the fellowship with a surly disposition and closed body language. His arms were crossed, he slumped as he listened to the new preacher. When the minister asked others about this man’s story, people shared that he was married to a member and had kids who were disciples. The man had a reputation for griping about the church and the former leadership. Everyone avoided this man in spite of his attending church every week for twenty years. The minister asked the man out to lunch and befriended him. He gently asked for his ideas on how to improve his preaching and the church. In time he asked him if he wanted to study the Bible. The man said yes and got baptized a few months later. Before his baptism the man told the minister, “I need to talk to some people before I get baptized. I want to apologize to my family, the former elder and the entire church for my behavior.” At his baptism, they handed him a microphone, and the man started crying and said, “I’m so sorry for the way I’ve treated you, the church and the leadership. I’ve been selfish and critical, and I’m grateful for the love you have shown me.”
- How to crush it this week: Ask God to open your eyes to the “invisible.” This Sunday enter the fellowship with fresh eyes. Look around at those who have been attending long-term. Go up and ask them if they are interested in studying the Bible or becoming a disciple of Jesus. Help them remove their “cloak of invisibility” and bring them into the light.
Join Rob in May at the “Look Up” Small Church Leadership Conference. If you are interested in growing as a leader, planter or self-supporting minister,register at LookUp2019.Com. You can contact him at Rob@TucsonChurchOfChrist.Org.