A Needy but Strategically Located Church

Published on 04/05/22

A Note: A reminder that this is a continuation in a series of communications, that lay a foundation for an explanation of what our next step in ministry will be. I don’t desire to be preachy, but I hope to ethically inform those who have so faithfully supported us through the years. We want you to know what you can expect of us in the future. Typically, I have kept these to one page. However, this one is a bit longer.

A Needy but Strategically Located Church

Late last year Deb and I received a prayer request concerning a church family located in Des Moines, Iowa. They had lost two pastors to Covid, and as a result, were without a pastor. Having followed the church for years, this both burdened my heart, but also stirred my interest. About 25 years ago, a leader in the same church asked me to consider becoming its pastor. My responsibilities at the time were such that I regrettably needed to decline. I have been aware of the church ever since, and have watched as the neighborhood, where the church building is located, has become a global community. Indeed, when Deb and I visited recently, we noticed three or four (maybe more) international groceries located within easy walking distance of the church—but I am getting ahead of myself.

Having read on their website, “Interim Pastor Needed”, I contacted the church leadership and offered to minister to the church family during its time of need. We were able to fill in during February, for which we were very thankful. Deb and I traveled the 90 miles to Des Moines for three Sundays and I spoke five times. The church is Northridge Baptist Church, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the eager-to-succeed church family.

Here are some of the things I touch on, (as I did at Northridge), when teaching about ministering in the global community.

Our Personal Preparation—where to begin Before we can do something, we must be something. To become faithful gospel witnesses, we must become: 1) people of the Book, 2) those who walk in the light, 3) faithful to our local church 4) and engaged in Christian service. The Biblical Story—the priority of reconciliation While the glory of God may be foundational to our understanding of the Bible, God’s work through history to reconcile mankind to Himself is the central theme of the Bible. Helping people become reunited in their relationship to God should also be the church’s primary focus from which all its activities flow. The Evangelistic Relationship—the context of evangelism We often think of the Christian world as totally separate and distinct from the non-Christian world. This cleavage prevents us from effectively ministering the gospel. However, effective evangelism begins with organic, authentic friendships with not-yet Christians. These friendships can naturally flow into evangelistic relationships and evangelistic Bible studies. These evangelistic Bible studies produce Christians, and then baptized Christians. The Good News—the evangelistic message If we are not clear on what a not-yet Christian must know and do to become a Christian, then we will not be able to help the not-yet Christian to become one. A person must know they are lost before they can be found, and one must know what faith is before exercising it. The Evangelistic Process—the evangelistic Bible study Although justification happens instantaneously, arriving at the point of new birth, usually takes time and is a process. The gospel messenger must know how to enter and how to develop the evangelistic relationship. This often involves an evangelistic Bible study. The Gospel-Centered Church—organized for effective evangelism The church is described as, “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1Tim 3:15) I like to paraphrase this, “God’s household, the launching pad for ministry, the stability and protection of the truth. The church is a living organism and when healthy, is growing and multiplying. Individuals are becoming Christians and then mature Christians. Just like anything living, there are processes which help the organism to thrive. (Focused Preaching, Relevant Services, Stairstep Discipleship, Organized Prayer, Tailored Program, and Wholistic Ministry) Philip the Evangelist—characteristics to be embraced We are all commanded to be evangelistic, but God also gives evangelists to the church. Philip the evangelist is an example of such. By studying Philip, we can discern characteristics which accompany the biblical evangelist. The Globalized Opportunity—the Sovereign’s leading “All authority is given to me, therefore go…” Our all-powerful, sovereign Lord has both commanded us and provided for us, so that we are able obey Him by making disciples of all nations. We should seize the opportunity. Northridge now has an interim pastor—Dr. Dean Taylor of Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary. Our responsibilities at Northridge are now complete with one exception. We will continue to pray that the Northridge church family will thrive within its global community. May the world hear the gospel because of the Northridge ministry.

Tomorrow: Continued Education and Networking: