A Plan for Growth Part 3
Teaching the Gospel Acceptance of sound and truthful gospel preaching must be the primary reason for church growth. If people are coming to a particular church for reasons other than acceptance and belief in God’s word, they are more likely to leave when something arises that makes them unhappy.
There are three specific ways that will be discussed here that can help accomplish the goal of effectively teaching and preaching the gospel. Firstly, the church must develop ways to teach the gospel privately. This can be done by individual members in their homes. There does not have to be specific times or places for this, but it can be done by anyone anytime. Some believe that “One of the best ways to teach is just a person on one side of the kitchen table and another person at the end” (North 101). Small group studies are another way that this can be done. Since Perth does not have a full-time preacher, such studies can be done by any one of the competent teachers available.
Secondly, there must be a development of how to teach the gospel publicly. Ideas such as radio and television, newspaper articles, weddings and funerals (which might be difficult without a preacher), are but a few ways to publicly teach the gospel. Lastly, a prospect list should be developed. There should be a prospect file possessed by the church. Such a file should be periodically checked and considered often. A list can be made by requesting members to write down any family or friends that could be potential prospects. Some call this “friendship evangelism.” Those doing evangelistic work should also make a list of those they deem as prospects. These lists are those people whom would be “considered probably the best prospects for obedience to the gospel” (Hailey 28). They would be individuals whom people know, whom they have had conversations with about God and the gospel. Follow-up with these prospects is a necessity. Because Perth does not have a full-time preacher, such follow-ups would have to be done by members of the congregation. Mailing out cards and information, as well as personal visits are a couple ways to follow-up.
Following-Up with Converts
It is important that new converts be followed-up with as well. Too often churches neglect this important aspect, and as a result these new Christians fall away. Forgotten is the fact that they are babes in Christ. Just as newborn babies are dependent on others for their physical survival, new Christians are spiritually dependent on those more mature in the faith. There are two primary ways to help accomplish this task. Those are developing methods to allow for immediate follow-up, as well as long term follow-up. With regard to immediate follow-up, there are numerous methods that could be implemented. Some of those methods might include: Organizing a new convert class; Having a buddy system; Keeping records of visitors; Members inviting new converts over to their homes; etc. Long term follow-up involves developing a genuine relationship with the converts. There should be regular meetings and discussions on this issue of follow-up. Members need to see the importance of this ministry.