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 Post subject: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:01 am
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Hello all,

I am faced with a difficult situation at a church that I have been attending and could use some sound advice form brethren more seasoned than myself.

I have been attending an IFB church in my city since April of this year. One of the main reasons that I sought out this church was because of the fact that their website had “soul-winning” every Saturday morning on their list of activities. I have never been soul-winning, nor have I ever even handed out tracts, but I knew that it is a command of God (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15,Romans 10:13-17). I thought that I needed to find a church that does it and that I could learn to get past my apprehension about doing it in order to be obedient to God.

Two weeks ago, I found out that they don’t actually do soul-winning; they go out for about an hour on Monday evenings and tape church invitations (also containing a brief plan of salvation on the back) to the front doors of houses and wait to get phone calls of those who are interested. Only then will they go out and talk with them face to face.

After I was invited to join them, I asked the leadership if they ever knock on doors and was told by all of them that they did not. I asked them if they would be open to the idea and they said that they would not. The pastor and three deacons answered the same way. One of the deacons even said that he thinks it’s a bad idea, that it doesn’t work and that he hates it anyway. The pastor said that they have not knocked on doors for the entire 15 years that he has pastored there. A deacon, who has been a member since he and his wife were married in 1956, says that he cannot remember the church ever knocking doors. Out of all of the members who I have spoken with, only one of them has ever knocked doors before and would be interested in doing so again.

I have seen a maximum of 6 people attend Sunday morning Bible study, about 30 people attend the Sunday morning service, about 8 people attend Sunday evening service and a maximum of 8 people on Wednesday evenings. I have heard the leadership talking and wondering why membership is so low. I am not one to be concerned about "the numbers" for their own sake, but such a low yield of fruit seems symptomatic for a "First Baptist" church that has been in existence for 60 years.

What I have been thinking of doing is finding a soul-winning church within reasonable driving distance and asking them if I could go with them to learn, then try to get the church I have been attending to go out with me. I want to be obedient to God, but I don’t want to be disobedient or disrespectful to my pastor. I also would have a difficult time receiving biblical instruction from leadership that is being actively and willfully disobedient to what I believe is a direct command of God.

Perhaps someone could help me understand what the point of a church would be that doesn't attempt to win souls.

I feel like I’m trapped between a rock and a hard place. If I stay and try to change things, I may be in danger of being in disobedience to the Word of God(Hebrews 13:17). If I don’t try to change things, I would definitely be in disobedience to the Word of God (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Romans 10:13-17). I also have no experience in soul-winning and have almost no idea of what I am talking about. Also, simply leaving that church, to find another one, would leave what I believe to be a disobedient situation, with no one with a desire to remedy it.

As someone who is a complete neophyte on this subject and situation, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

_________________
Sincerely and respectfully,
Brother Stafford
(1 Timothy 1:15)


“Saying that you like me, but that you do not like my religion, is like saying that you enjoy eating peaches, but that you do not care for their flavor.”


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:56 am
Posts: 3255
Hello Brother Stafford,

My old pastor has a saying;
"instead of being fishers of men, some have become keepers of the aquarium."

I have participated in door-to-door soul-wining many times and it does work. It might help you to start by giving out gospel tracts; you can leave them everywhere and you can do this on your own. If the Lord is leading you to this type of ministry then I would encourage you to surround yourself with other IFB's who are regular soul winners so you can learn.

But just remember, God never asks for our ability, only our availability. In other words, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to start sharing the Gospel, brother. God has the blueprint all worked out, you just need to deliver the plan. Just be yourself, and let the Holy Spirit direct your conversation; the Spirit of God will assist you and help you overcome any shortcomings in your presentation.

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." - Prov 11:30

Please see my comments here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=504&p=3002

And here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=288

And here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=288

_________________
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Psalms 12:6-7


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:12 pm 
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Thank you for your thoughts, Brother Parrish.

_________________
Sincerely and respectfully,
Brother Stafford
(1 Timothy 1:15)


“Saying that you like me, but that you do not like my religion, is like saying that you enjoy eating peaches, but that you do not care for their flavor.”


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:56 am
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My pleasure, and welcome to the forum.

_________________
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Psalms 12:6-7


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:13 am 
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Good subject. My attitude is being changed somewhat on soul-winning. Having felt the need to find a new church after serving in one that was probably similar to yours, I'm finding that the churches that stand strongly for the Bible, the KJB, are also strong on soul-winning. One I've been attending, though not a big church, spends much more comparatively on missions, and is church planting. In fact, I'm planning on trying to go to the first service of a new church next week.

I've known many on this forum have always (in the few years I've known them anyway) been strong on soul winning as well as being strong on the Bible. Anyway, in my limited experience (I've only found two true KJV Baptist churches within a two or three hour drive on good roads in summer, and one I've only visited once) I'm more convinced that Bible-believing, soul-winning and strong churches go together. To answer your question about what good a church is that doesn't attempt to win souls, I consider my previous church to be a social club.

Brother Stafford wrote:
What I have been thinking of doing is finding a soul-winning church within reasonable driving distance and asking them if I could go with them to learn, then try to get the church I have been attending to go out with me. I want to be obedient to God, but I don’t want to be disobedient or disrespectful to my pastor. I also would have a difficult time receiving biblical instruction from leadership that is being actively and willfully disobedient to what I believe is a direct command of God.
If you find a soul-winning church within reasonable distance (whatever that is), why not visit and get to know the church and some of the people? I don't know if you may have specific duties holding you at your present church. I'm somewhat of a neophyte in this respect myself, but I think I would be reluctant to have someone I don't know at all join me when I go soul-winning. You may want to gain their trust first so that they know you're not some kind of loose cannon that will say the wrong thing at the wrong moment, or show up with pink hair or something. And you might want to make sure they're not some kind of nuts also.

Another question I have is if you would really want to invite someone you meet while soul-winning to a church that doesn't believe in soul-winning. Would it affect the person your witnessing to when/if it becomes obvious that you and the church aren't in agreement? It would be better if you had a strong Bible believing church to invite any prospects to. But what do you do it there isn't one in a "reasonable" distance?


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:26 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
Another question I have is if you would really want to invite someone you meet while soul-winning to a church that doesn't believe in soul-winning. Would it affect the person your witnessing to when/if it becomes obvious that you and the church aren't in agreement? It would be better if you had a strong Bible believing church to invite any prospects to. But what do you do it there isn't one in a "reasonable" distance?


That is a point that I had never considered and a very valid one. I have decided to leave my church. A member called me the other day and asked me if I could help with church decorations. I told him that I probably wouldn't because it looks like I will probably be leaving the church. When he asked me why, I briefly told him, in confidence, about my concerns with the lack of soul-winning; I didn't accuse anyone or badmouth anyone and thanked him for his call. About ten minutes after hanging up with him, the pastor's number came up on my phone and I let it go to voice mail. Apparently, the member with whom I spoke in confidence, "tattled" on me to the pastor and now the pastor want to "have a word" with me.

It all seems very childish to me. and, after reading your thoughts I quoted above, I would not feel good about inviting newly saved people into that sort of atmosphere.

Now, on with my search. Don't you just love vetting a gazillion churches?

As far as not being able to find a good church within reasonable driving distance, I believe we should either:
A) Relocate to an area where there is one. Yes, I think it's that important.
or
B) Start a new one. Find a good church somewhere that ordains pastors and sends them out to start new churches and ask them if they would like to start one in your town. Yes, I am considering that option as well.

_________________
Sincerely and respectfully,
Brother Stafford
(1 Timothy 1:15)


“Saying that you like me, but that you do not like my religion, is like saying that you enjoy eating peaches, but that you do not care for their flavor.”


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:29 pm 
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Hi Brother Stafford,

I trust and pray that leaving the church is something God is leading you to do, and that your not doing it just based on my promptings. I was asking questions also as I'm in a similar situation except the church I attended now has a pastor who believes that every word of the Bible is divinely preserved, and while the KJV is a reliable translation of the divinely preserved Bible, it's full of mistakes and errors, because while God promised to preserve His word, He didn't have to tell us where it is, but we can be sure it isn't in any version we have today, even though we call them Bibles and the Bible is infallible, inerrant and plenary. Blah, blah.

I had an encounter last week that bothers me some. I ran into someone in the parking lot of a local store, the first thing that bothers me is that I couldn't place him, but apparently he recognized me and volunteered that he hadn't been to church this year, and asked me how the new pastor is working out. Ideally I should have been able to tell him how wonderful everything is and encourage him to come to church, instead I found myself unprepared and mumbled something about how I no longer go there and have been attending a church about ninety miles away. So I guess that's partly what had me thinking about what you tell potential prospects and the importance of the local church. At the same time, I don't see how I could have continued to go to the church when I'm in such disagreement with the pastor, and have a hard time even respecting him, despite his form of godliness (2 Tim 3:5).

I think you have some good advice:
Brother Stafford wrote:

As far as not being able to find a good church within reasonable driving distance, I believe we should either:
A) Relocate to an area where there is one. Yes, I think it's that important.
or
B) Start a new one. Find a good church somewhere that ordains pastors and sends them out to start new churches and ask them if they would like to start one in your town. Yes, I am considering that option as well.
It not easy relocating in a lot of circumstances, and may not always be possible, thought I recognize it will be possible if it's God's will.

And aren't Christians to be out in the world, precisely for the sake of evangelism? I think the early church in the book of Acts was scattered pruposely so that they wouldn't be lumped all into one big local church congregation while the rest of the world perished. So that leaves option B, start a new church, and that seems to be a daunting task (again, recognizing there's no such thing as a daunting task to God).

On occasion I've also attended church locally at churches I don't feel that I could ever be a member of as I'm not in agreement enough, and I'm also planning on being involved in a Bible Study with some friends. I'm not sure how involved I should get, but I do feel the need to maintain some Christian fellowship locally even if I can't be in full agreement with them.

I wouldn't be too concerned with your friend telling the pastor, though it would be bad if you made it clear you meant it to be confidential and he had agreed. Otherwise I would think it was good that your friend and the pastor cared and were concerned enough to call. And sooner or later it will be obvious to the pastor that you're no longer attending.

Anyway, that's pretty much where I'm coming from, and I have some idea of what you're facing.


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:17 pm 
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This is a devotional reading for today, Sept. 7, from "One Day at a Time" by William MacDonald. (MacDonald I believe was a Brethren, who as I understand, wasn't KJVO, but at least leaned towards the Majority Text. In any case I tend to like most of what he says.)

Quote:
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Co 6:17-18)

What should a Christian do when he finds himself in a church that has become increasingly liberal and modernistic? This church was founded by men who believed in the inerrancy of the Bible and in all the other fundamental doctrines of the faith. It had a glorious history of evangelical fervor and of missionary endeavor. Many of its ministers were well-known scholars and faithful preachers of the Word. But the denominational seminaries have been taken over by a new breed, and now the ministers coming out of them preach a social gospel. They still use biblical phraseology but they mean something completely different by it. They undermine the major Bible doctrines, give natural explanations for the miracles, and scoff at biblical morality. They are out front in advocating radical politics and subversive causes. They speak contemptuously of fundamentalists.

What should a Christian do? Perhaps his family has been associated with this church for generations. He himself has contributed generously over the years. His closest friends are in the church. He wonders what would happen to the young people in his Sunday School class if he should leave. Shouldn’t he remain in the church and be a voice for God as long as possible?

His arguments seem plausible to him. And yet it vexes his righteous soul to see people coming to the church for bread week after week and getting nothing but a stone. He values his associations there and yet it grieves him to hear his Savior condemned with faint praise.

There is no doubt what he should do. He should leave the church. That is the clear command of God’s Word. If he removes himself from this unequal yoke, God will take care of all the consequences. God will assume responsibility for those Sunday School students. God will provide new friendships. In fact, God Himself promises to be a Father to him in a closeness that can only be known by those who are unquestioningly obedient. “The blessedness of true separation is nothing less than the glorious companionship of the great God Himself.”

Of course, I think you still need some wisdom to know at what point their views on soul-winning, and whatever other views they may have, makes them "unbelievers", "unrighteous", "darkness", "Belial", "infidels", and idol worshippers (2 Cor 6:14-16). But it is serious if you feel your differences with the pastor and the church are such that you can't submit to them. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:43 pm 
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Thank you for your support, Brother Jeff; it comes at a most welcome time. I have, indeed, left my church and the prospects are very disheartening. I have expanded my search out about 45 minutes so far, and still cannot find one. I think this is a good opportunity for some serious fasting and prayer - for both of us.

I just want to be with other Christians and learn how to serve and obey God and share toe Gospel properly. Running through the gauntlet of false teachings and doctrines is getting very disenchanting.

_________________
Sincerely and respectfully,
Brother Stafford
(1 Timothy 1:15)


“Saying that you like me, but that you do not like my religion, is like saying that you enjoy eating peaches, but that you do not care for their flavor.”


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 Post subject: Re: When your church forsakes soul-winning
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:22 am 
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Thanks for your prayers and all Brother Stafford. I appreciate them and am praying also. Please keep us updated how the search goes.

I guess with trials there tend to also be blessings and ups and downs.

I missed the grand opening of a new church plant last week, Sept. 11, but made it yesterday. It's 30 miles or so past the other church I've been attending, took me well over two hours. One blessing is that I would have a hard time believing anyone in the world had a more scenic trip to church. Over The Rim, though the canyon, down in the Hole, up over the pass, across the state line, all in about 120 miles. The aspens are changing, and I even followed a rainbow for a long way.

Now for the ups and downs. I started at about 7,000 feet, go up to about 8,000; then down to less than 6,000; then a very sudden steep ascent to 8,431 feet (the high point of the trip, other than getting to the church), and a quick descent back to about 6,000 feet (quicker if your brakes fail, but you'd never make the switchbacks and have a steeper descent going off road), and all kinds of changes in between. So even if you take an airplane to church, I still probably had more accumulative altitude changes. I don't know how many times my ears popped.

While the trip would still be beautiful, I'm just not sure how big a blessing I would consider it in winter. Though I do love all the "Avalanche Area, Do Not Stop", "Reduce Speed When Icy" (duh) and "Turn Around and Go Back to ... When Flashing" signs.

If I had a point I guess it would be that it is encouraging to see a new Bible believing church being planted, and I'm anxious and pray that it will grow. Makes me realize the value of a real church, and not to take them for granted. Besides those two churches there is another one close to 130 miles away over another pass that can be at least as treacherous in winter. So I don't know what I'm going to do long term, although God has a plan.


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