This is the second time I’ve been to Shasta Lake Bible Fellowship; the first time was back in 2009. What I’m always impressed to see is that during each weekend, over fifty percent of their congregation is composed not of their own members, but of folks to whom they are reaching out in their community. This group doesn’t believe in “program” evangelism, but rather “personal” evangelism. The members possess a strong passion for reaching out to those in their community, one at a time. They keep it simple, and it works.
It reminds me of what Jesus taught in the parable of the dragnet:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind” (Matthew 13.47).
Notice that last phrase “fish of every kind.” The sorting doesn’t happen till the end of the age in this parable. And we, as followers of Jesus, are called to do the same thing. Throw out the net. Bring in fish of every kind! Let God sort them out in His good time. Jesus practiced this type of evangelism.
“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5.27, 28).
All Jesus said to Levi was, “Follow me.” That leads me to a point I want to make about evangelism that I think the group in Shasta Lake demonstrates. Life changes come as a RESULT of following Jesus. They should not be held up as PREREQUISITES for following Jesus. As imitators of God, followers of Jesus, and members of His kingdom, we are called to simply go out into the “highways and byways” and say “Come.” We don’t need to concern ourselves with making sure people get their acts together. We are simply to call them to follow Jesus. The following itself will produce the changes in the lives of those who choose to follow. We are not called to police this change or to make sure it happens. We are simply to give the call “Come follow.”
Now I know that this will make “church” look pretty messy. I want to remind us all that it was the Pharisees who had everything neat and tidy. The disciples were a motley crew! If you were in the audience when Jesus was teaching, you may have found yourself sitting next to a prostitute, which brings me to my point. When’s the last time you sat next to a prostitute in church?
Something to think about!
For all of you who were praying for this weekend, I received many comments about what it meant to so many. God showed up! His character of Love was seen in clearer rays and experienced in deeper drafts. So many were thankful for what they had heard and the difference it was making in their hearts. So, I pass that thanks on to you as well. Thank you for praying for this weekend. Your prayers made a difference, and God’s kingdom of radical self-sacrificial other-centered love was enlarged.
I’ll be home this next weekend, but, following that, I’ll be a Walla Walla University. Please keep that weekend in prayer as well.
Much love to you all. Thank you for your support of Renewed Heart Ministries.