Two churches separated by the bay but joined together for a common purpose – to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Vallejo, CA and Eternal Life Lutheran Church in Concord, CA launched an aggressive outreach campaign on July 29th and 30th. Members from both congregations were trained on how to go door-to-door to share the gospel, were provided with a well-organized opportunity to put their training into action, and were prepared to take full advantage of the benefits and the blessings from the campaign.
Utilizing the theme, “Finding Freedom,” the congregations went out into the communities of Vallejo and Concord to share how we can find freedom in Christ. At the end of the day, they collectively proclaimed a gospel message to 154 souls.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Eternal Life are located about twenty-four miles apart. The Benicia-Martinez bridge on Highway 680 connects the two congregations and typically takes about thirty-five to forty minutes to drive. On Saturday morning, I helped the members in Vallejo begin to go door-to-door with temperatures in the upper 60’s. Arriving inland to join members from Eternal Life in Concord, temperatures were already close to ninety degrees. The sea breeze from the bay makes a big difference.
The outreach materials included the names and locations of both churches for the purpose of communicating a multi-church endeavor since they shared the same pastor. Both church websites www.goodshepherdvallejo.org and www.eternallifelutheranchurch.org provided a pop-up page to introduce the campaign.
In the months leading up to the campaign, both congregations took full advantage to advertise and promote the “Finding Freedom” theme. Good Shepherd entered the annual Fourth of July parade in Vallejo. They built a small float that introduced the theme while members greeted the spectators along the street by handing out postcards with a gospel message and an invitation to their VBS. A member at Good Shepherd, who is a travelling singer and DJ [www.jamminwithgary.com], set up his equipment and warmly serenaded the crowd with patriotic music. His great voice boomed out Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American” that was a big hit with the crowd. After the parade, the members at Good Shepherd were thrilled that their entry won first-prize in their category.
On Friday evening, members from both congregations gathered at one location for a light dinner and two and a half hours of training to learn the methodology and approach presented by Praise and Proclaim Ministries. By the end of the evening, every person in attendance were able to accomplish the following goals:
- Know exactly what to do and say when we knock on the first door tomorrow morning.
- Be ready and able to provide a simple gospel message.
- Learn a methodology on how to joyfully and confidently share the gospel with strangers, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
On Saturday morning, Eternal Life members gathered in Concord and thirteen members at Good Shepherd in Vallejo to go door-to-door proclaiming for two hours in the morning and in the afternoon.
And the Lord provided the open doors and encouraging stories.
When members of a congregation step out in faith to share their faith, they are met with a remarkable experience. They accomplish a task that they never thought they could accomplish. They quickly realize that evangelism is not about them, but the message they carry. They experience how the Lord provides and keeps His promises when we share our faith with others.
Perhaps the biggest promise is that Christ is with us. His power creates faith through His Word. He uses believers to transmit this message. And in doing so, He provides the power, the opportunities, and His presence. Christians discover the joy of sowing the seeds of God’s Word and trust that the Lord of the harvest will cause these seeds to work faith in the hearts of unbelievers.
The participants were taught the importance of accurately recording the names and addresses of those who expressed interest. The names may be safely recorded, but they will never forget the faces. At the end of the day, members from both congregations personally proclaimed the gospel to one hundred and fifty-four people.
Transformed in Christ. Bold for Christ.
There are several fears associated with knocking on doors. A common fear is rejection — or if the person is going to mean. Utilizing our approach and methodology that focuses on building love and respect, the vast majority of the people respond politely. Another fear is meeting somebody you know at the door.
One member from Eternal Life came across friends from business. When they asked her what she was doing, she took a deep breath and carefully explained that she was out meeting people, representing her church, but more importantly, being Christ’s ambassador to share Good News.
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
The next day, she reflected upon the fact that the words she expressed did not come from her own lips, but the power of the Holy Spirit.
“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be your speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)
Can you imagine the impact on those friends?
After the door-to-door proclaiming came to an end, all of the participants gathered together for a delicious BBQ dinner to celebrate the gospel seeds that were planted.
“Go out and share the gospel. This is what we do as a congregation.” (Pastor William Kant, pastor at Good Shepherd/Eternal Life, announcements after service on July 31, 2016)
Congregations create an outreach dynamic when they emphasize the proclamation of the gospel in all their outreach efforts. They desire to build a reputation within their community that they are a church that goes out and proclaims the gospel face-to-face— trusting that the Lord will bless these efforts.
When congregations rest their expectations and goals on what they can control – proclaiming the gospel and leave the results into God’s hands – they revel in celebration instead of wringing their hands with frustration. When outreach momentum continues to build – this changes the DNA of a congregation. The joy of proclaiming excites and energizes a core group of believers. Evangelism committee meetings change to focusing on how to connect and engage with prospects and visitors while continuing to actively proclaim the gospel.
When outreach momentum builds at a congregation, the Lord tends to provide unexpected blessings by sending people through the side-door.
There is joy in evangelism when fears are conquered and Christians fulfill their responsibility of proclaiming the name of Christ to others.