Many of you readers know we are starting or planting a church in Oregon right now. We are missionaries. When I say, "we," I mean my wife and I. My two eighty year old parents are with us, while we start. We are also raising support at the same time, so if you are a pastor or church member out there, we are looking for fellowship in the gospel. In other words, we need support. We will do this in Oregon, and once the church is started, we will go elsewhere to do that again. I would love you to contact me about support. You can get my number and a workable email address at the website of our new church, which is really still a mission (jacksoncountybaptistchurch.com). Please call or email. Thank you. I repeat, we need your help.
We started a church in California in 1987 in the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay, north of Berkeley. What I like to say, because it is scriptural, is that we began evangelizing there, and then a church formed out of those who were saved. Some might think that's just technical, but it is the right way to think. We are building the kingdom through evangelism. We want to get a church started, but we are also wanting to evangelize the area. The two are very closely related, but they are not the same.
Without using gimmicks, which we use none, what does someone do in starting a church? How does it happen? We should look at the Bible. When I think of what should happen, I think of what the Apostle Paul did in Acts. Barnabas and Paul went to Cyprus and they evangelized. When they were done there, they went to Asia Minor and evangelized there. They moved from place to place in Asia Minor too. As a church forms out of evangelism, a pastor, who is trained, must be left. He might be a pastor from somewhere else or trained right there on the ground.
I'm going to tell you what I'm doing right now, because I'm in the midst of doing it. It's not as if you couldn't be doing the same thing where you are, because this is not some secret. It is very basic, which is what you read in the New Testament.
Begin covering the area with the gospel. I spend a chunk of the week going door-to-door. Perhaps you wouldn't do it, because of Covid-19. It's not been a hindrance at all. The worst that happened was an older man with a cane, who left his house with insane anger in his eyes and asked if I had left the tract on his door. I said, yes. He said, that's littering. I just looked at him, because it was a patent lie. He was angry, because he hates Christianity. I was holding my mask in my hand right in front of him. He said, where's your mask? He wasn't wearing one. I just looked down at my mask I was holding. I was standing there outdoors with no one, besides him, within 100 feet of me. There were two obvious points. Where was his mask and why did he walk within six feet without one? I was talking to no one within six feet and carrying a mask. I asked one question, where's your mask, sir? He didn't answer. He said, "I'm calling the police." It was fine in part because he confronted me on my way out to my car.
I want to keep preaching the gospel. Today I went 2 1/2 hours. I had four conversations. Two were with younger men, both who claimed to be spiritual, one more skeptical and the other more pantheistic. They were both long conversations and one of them might have a future. The other two were with an older religious man, who didn't know the gospel, and he couldn't keep talking, but he was interested in meeting again to hear the gospel. The other was a woman who had just finished dialysis, but she did want to know the gospel, except she was too tired. These kinds of conversations happen almost every time I go out. I'm trying to go out 2-3 hours 6 days a week.
So, I want to get coverage. This is fulfilling, preach the gospel to every creature. It is sowing the seed like the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, making sure it falls everywhere.
Second, out of the coverage, you can get some evangelistic Bible studies. I just talked about people two paragraphs ago, who were potential for an evangelistic study. One of our original group is starting in on an evangelistic study with someone I met door-to-door, who was interested in a Bible study. Maybe it will keep going, maybe it won't, but these are available for people.
My wife does these evangelistic studies. She's got one going herself, and maybe two. When you have ladies, it helps if your wife can do this.
Third, disciple converts. When someone makes a profession, we give a Bible and we have an initial study. Then we get into a thirty week discipleship. Everyone goes there. If someone is really saved, he will follow Jesus Christ. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. That voice is scripture. I assume true believers want the Word of God.
Included in discipleship is corporate worship. We hold services: Sunday School, Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and then a midweek time. We want to get someone to all of those. In those times, you reinforce the individual discipleship or individual discipleship reinforces the services -- either/or, it doesn't matter. People learn how to pray, to give, to sing, to fellowship, to live holy, to be separate from the world, and to minister.
We immerse new believers. This is part of making a disciples in addition to teaching them to observe all things Christ commanded. Lord-willing, we will be baptizing at least five adults on Saturday. We are renting a motel room with an indoor pool that we can reserve for just us for an hour. We are looking forward to more.
Help the new believers learn how to evangelize. This is perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry. After a church is started, an evangelist or missionary should be leaving other people to continue the work. They can't do that if they are not trained to do that.
Fourth, every person in your new group has a circle of influence. Start talking to everyone that all of them know. They have family, brothers, sisters, parents, children, aunts, uncles, co-workers, and friends. Start getting evangelism appointments with every possible person. This is actually where the most people listen. People's lives change and they are the best testimony to other people.
This is what I see. A new convert talks to her best friend. A new convert talks to a co-worker. A new convert talks to a sister or brother. A new convert talks to her parents. There are a lot of these people. One person might have ten to twenty other people.
Much more is required to get a church started, but these are four basic activities that work together to see it happen. This will spread the gospel and it will get a church started, two closely related jobs.