Do You Want to See More People Saved in Your Church Meetings? - Enjoying the Journey
All of us would like to see more souls come to Christ in the regular meetings of our local church. There is not a pastor that would not rejoice to see sinners consistently responding to the gospel. Some believe that those days are past. Others believe that the church must become more appealing to unbelievers in order to attract them to the meetings. Both are wrong.
Let me begin by clarifying a few foundational principles:
- “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9). Even a backslidden prophet understood this truth! It must be understood that if sinners are saved it is because of the work of the Holy Spirit in hearts. We point lost souls to Christ, but it is the Father who draws them (John 6:44), and the Spirit who convicts of sin and convinces of truth (John 16:8). No method can substitute for the miracle.
- The assembly of the church is primarily for the equipping of believers. The New Testament emphasis is clear that when believers gathered together it was for the purpose of corporate worship, exhorting one another, and being prepared to carry on the work of the ministry outside of the church meeting (Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:25). Church meetings are not to attract unregenerate men but to equip God’s children! And, it is important to note, that most gospel work is done outside the four walls of the church meeting place. The Great Commission does not say “Open the doors and let all of the lucky sinners come find us!” It says, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
- There will be gospel opportunities in the public meetings of the church. Paul spoke of an unbeliever coming into the gathering of saints, hearing the truth clearly, and being convinced that God was among them. The result was that the sinner became a true worshiper as well (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). James 2:2 speaks of both rich and poor coming into the assembly of the church. Yes, every time we come together it is an opportunity to bring others to Jesus!
So, how can we see more people saved in our church meetings?
- Get lost people in the meetings. As an evangelist I can tell you that it is impossible to preach the gospel to those who are not there! The reason previous generations saw many saved in their meetings can be attributed to the fact that in previous generations lost people were very often present in the meetings. Don’t ask people to come; intentionally bring them with you! Some people think the key is to make the church “relative” and so they change everything hoping to interest the lost. The key is for believers to be “relational.” Build sincere friendships for the sake of the gospel. Reach those in your sphere of influence and get them under the preaching of the gospel.
- Create an environment that is welcoming and conducive to gospel work. Churches must be trained to be friendly and to show the love of Christ. Music must aim at exalting Christ and the great truth of Scripture. Distractions must be minimized and petty, meaningless talk laid aside. Concentrate on eternity and let everything point to the greatness of God.
- Preach the gospel. This seems so elementary, but many church meetings are utterly void of the gospel. You can preach messages from the Bible without preaching the gospel. You can use religious cliches and spiritual language without making clear the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. Let every message connect to Christ and every meeting be filled with the glory of the good news. Speak with dependence on the Spirit and the assurance that God will use His Word.
- Train your people to be “watchers.” Spurgeon was known as a powerful gospel preacher, and yet the secret of the Metropolitan Tabernacle was that he had members scattered around the auditorium who were watching for souls throughout the meeting. They would speak to individuals and offer to help them. I have personally found that many people who will not respond to a public invitation may be personally led to Christ after the meeting has concluded. The night Billy Graham responded to the gospel message of Mordecai Ham, he almost did not get saved! Once he was in the altar he turned to go back to his seat and a local businessman from Charlotte saw him. J.D. Prevatt was the one who personally led that young man to Christ. What if he had not been watching for souls?
- Give definite opportunities for people to respond to the gospel. Though every invitation should be unique and it may be done differently in different settings, I believe that the preaching of the gospel should always call for a response to the gospel. You cannot be neutral on truth and the Word must always be applied. Once you have clearly presented the gospel, call for people to repent and believe on Christ! Never leave people with a vague idea about salvation. Be personal and be specific.
One final word. I am convinced that one of the missing elements in most of our meetings today is expectancy – the expectancy that grows out of faith. When believers begin to weep and pray for souls again, and preachers begin to preach with earnestness and brokenness again, and churches begin to seek the lost and look for fruit again, we will see many more people coming to Christ in our meetings.
May God use us all “for the gospel’s sake” in these days.