Friday, January 30, 2009

Reaching groups, missing individuals

In the midst of some sweet fellowship at a brother's house, i was recounting the awesome experience of meeting my wife for the first time. The same day of her conversion, the same day i learned a very hard lesson about the importance of one. Sure like anyone i could talk about how important one soul is, yet when it came to it, i was NOT encouraged by two lost souls coming to an evangelistic meeting that had an intensified amount of preparation put into it (passing out tracts, tracts on vehicles, tracts nailed to trees, crying out in prayer, much fasting). Yet i was convicted and was brought to great repentance before the service (which i had planned to just throw in the towel) and then I went ahead and preached, and my wife was saved. I was brought to an incredible joy, I remember two days later (on Sun am) being so overjoyed over the grace of God that i was jumping in my pew.
All that to say this: it's very easy to talk of wanting to see the world changed, wanting to see your city changed and yet miss individuals. Do you want to see individuals changed?
Too many churches approach too many things in terms of great numbers, whereas when it's just a few or just one, nothing is done.
For instance, i'm reminded of a brother proposing to his church what would be done if there was an abundance of new believers brought in, what kind of classes, discipleship, mentoring would need to be initiated in order to see these babes in Christ matured.
To think of it now, i wonder if many churches and people miss the BIGGER picture, what is being done for the ONE person? Forget about changing the city, when nothing is done for the individual. If that individual soul, that family is not being taught, being ministered to then the only thing that will take place upon MASS groups will be the implementation of a program.
as my thoughts were circling about this, I also was listening to Paul Washer and he was telling the story of how he and the group he was with was greatly rebuked because they were disappointed at the conversion of ONLY 5 people. Yet they were convicted about the fact that they in addition to taking lightly the conversion of 5 people, were not doing the things they planned to do if groups were saved (contacting and discipling these people).
This is not a rare attitude and we must face it; we fail because our hearts are too hard, not because our results are too little. Can you hear the Lord saying 'if you are faithful in the little things....". Would you be willing to teach a class for new believers? Have a heart for that? Really?? What about ONE person? Would you pour time into one person, to see them grounded in the faith? That's not done through 30min one a week lunch meetings. I mean taking time out of your week, praying with, reading with, teaching and answering questions.
Surely this could apply to many instances, but in light of new converts, and i mean REAL converts: they are like sponges, full of hunger for truth, full of zeal for the Lord. This time is crucial, it's comparable to the development stages of a child, very impressionable. It's at this time that you don't want to extinguish any fire, by your lack of interest. It's at this time that you don't want them seeking elsewhere for guidance. Lead them to the word, expose them to body life, show them as Tozer would say how to be lovers before trying to make them laborers.
Since heaven rejoices over the ONE sinner who repents, then we the church should be just as ready to minister to the ONE as to the many.
If it's only for one it's worth it, if the Lord only blesses you with a few then seek to be faithful in the few you have, rather than dreaming up promises of what you would do if you had many.

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