“Those are two nice ladies. You must have a great church.”
A gentleman working in his yard had just met two members from King of Kings Lutheran Church in Little Rock, AR. They had just come by his house to introduce their church, proclaim a short gospel message, and personally invite him to their Fall Festival. He was impressed. Several minutes after they left, he told us that he would consider coming to church even though he belonged to another.
He was not alone. Others were also impressed that members of a nearby church were out meeting their neighbors and were interested to learn more about the small WELS church in Little Rock that has a big heart for Jesus.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries received the privilege of partnering with King of Kings Lutheran Church to launch an outreach initiative from October 26-27. Members received training to verbally proclaim the gospel and immediately were provided with an opportunity to witness their faith.
Kings of Kings Lutheran Church began in the 1970s. Initially, it surged with growth but has diminished in size over time. The WELS Board of Home Missions recently provided funding to re-start the congregation and Rev. Joshua Shandor was assigned from the seminary to be a full-time pastor in the summer of 2017. With close to fifty communicant members, the congregation was ready to aggressively move forward and reach out to the surrounding community in West Little Rock to proclaim the gospel.
The congregation is in a great location and surrounded by new businesses and housing developments. Located off a road that generates a consistent flow of traffic, the congregation is utilizing static and temporary signage on the property to communicate with the community.
After receiving training on Friday evening, members from King of Kings Lutheran went out into the community to put their training into action.
And we made some important discoveries.
Praise and Proclaim introduced a new postcard design and message for this outreach initiative. One lady told the two-person team that she was about to throw the postcard away, but the message weighed on her mind. “A New Season. A New Start. The time is right to begin again.” Many people at the door commented about the design and message.
They also were familiar with the congregation and its location. Several people made comments that they saw the outdoor sign that invited people to come and attend the Fall Festival.
Since Little Rock could be considered a part of the Bible belt, a higher percentage of people expressed that they already belong to another church. Yet, there was an encouraging number of people who told members that they didn’t feel connected at their church. Either the church was too far from their home or it had grown too big. They appeared ready and willing to visit King of Kings in the future.
It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word that an unbeliever receives faith. Outside of the Spirit, people will reject the truth of the gospel. They are not rejecting the messenger, but the message. And this rejection can be expressed in several ways.
When people utilize the Praise and Proclaim approach to go door-to-door to proclaim the gospel to strangers, people will politely express their lack of interest after they have been treated with love and respect. Sometimes, people may be a little gruff. Other times, people may quickly close the door after expressing a lack of interest.
There is another strong spiritual element at work that believers must keep in mind when carrying out evangelism work.
WELS Mission Counselor, Rev. Ed Schuppe, attends the Praise and Proclaim training with congregations he is counseling. At the end of the day, he will express to those who participated, “Satan is not happy with you today.” Jesus tells us that there will be gospel seeds that will be plucked away.
Believers who step out in faith to share their faith with others should not be surprised when they receive rejection or even encounter an unnerving situation. One two-person team from Little Rock encountered a man who evidently had mental issues. He not only rejected their arrival, but loudly cursed their efforts to proclaim a message of Truth. Could there be a demonic influence in his response?
Pastor Shandor reminded all of us that those who suffer for the Name have been counted worthy to receive it. (Acts 5:41) There are many promises, and assurances given by God for those who step out in faith to share their faith with others. One of the most important promises that he gives is that his Word works and that he is always with us. Banking on those promises and assurances, believers can step out of their comfort zones and boldly give reasons for the hope they have in Christ.
King of Kings Lutheran Church is a small church with a big heart for Jesus. May the Lord continue to bless the ongoing gospel ministry and the work of spreading the gospel in Little Rock.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries is currently participating in the Gospel Outreach With Media conference hosted by the Christ in Media Institute at Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN). Please see the article, “Engage and Proclaim” written by Dave Malnes of Praise and Proclaim.