Encouraging, Living, Reaching


Are You Seeing People Saved In Your Assembly?

Are You Seeing People Saved In Your Assembly?

I have many friends in assemblies across Ontario and parts of the US.  Many of them keep in touch with me regularly through email, text or the odd phone call/Skype.  A topic of discussion that has come up recently is the number of people we are seeing saved in our assemblies in North America (and in the evangelical church in general).  Usually, and I want to emphasize that it’s not always the case, the reports of how many are being saved are discouraging.

As I think of my assembly over the past 15 years we have seen maybe 10 saved from the community. This doesn’t include the children of the Christian families within the assembly of which we are so thankful. That number burdens my heart.

Other parts of the world

Reports from other countries in the world are not so dismal.  Parts of South America, Asia and the Middle East are exploding with the gospel and many are being saved.  New assemblies are starting up with several hundred in attendance. We praise the Lord for His work around the world!

A sinner who repents

Let’s be clear that whenever anyone turns to the Lord there is rejoicing in Heaven and there is rejoicing in our hearts.  Every person who comes to Christ is a miracle and a great work of the Lord. We do not want to downplay the value of a single soul.  Whether it’s a boy, girl, man or woman all are precious and hold eternal value.

The story of the Lord as a shepherd seeking out the lone lost sheep comes to mind.  We can’t underestimate the heart of the Lord in seeking out a single soul.

What has changed?

As we read the words of the Lord in John 4:35, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” and read the adventures of the apostles in the book of Acts we get a sense that seeing a few people saved in an assembly over a decade isn’t what the Lord intended.

The question we can ask ourselves is, “What has changed?”  Is it that the fields are no longer white for harvest?  Some would suggest that is true by saying people are more secular now and they don’t want to hear about God.

Is it that the Father isn’t sending people to labor into the field?  This would imply that the Lord is less concerned now about seeing souls saved than before.  It suggests that God is the problem.

A decline in evangelism

A much greater probability is that the church has in many ways pulled out of evangelism. This includes personal evangelism and community efforts where the local church were an integral part of the community around them.  Many saints in assemblies don’t even know the names of the families immediately around the assembly building far less have an ongoing relationship with them.

Doing the same old thing

Some churches and assemblies are carrying on efforts that worked 50 years ago but are less effective today. My father speaks of children’s work in the 60’s where hundreds of children would attend whereas today clubs struggle to get even 20. New and innovative ways of reaching out are less common and there is a reluctance to change the way in which evangelism is done.

Busy schedules overtake time to reach out

The North American culture for the average family is hectic. Kids are busy with school, sports, music and friends. Parents are working more and spend more time in front of the TV than ever before.  It’s hard to get families to commit to regular outreach activities.

A greater focus on personal wealth and entertainment often replaces the desire to see men and women won for the Lord.  Sadly for many believers the American Dream has become their dream too.

Where have all the prayer warriors gone?

It is a rare thing to see a church completely saturated with prayer. I don’t mean there is no prayer meeting, most assemblies have one of those.  I refer to an assembly that is committed to real, soul searching and earnest prayer.  It is sad that one of the things we are asked to do is pray for the salvation of others and yet it is rarely mentioned at many meetings.

Could it be that we just don’t have enough people in our own lives we are witnessing to?  If every person in your assembly had 1 person they were actively reaching out to, how long would our prayer meetings go?

Revival?

Revival won’t happen in our assemblies without a renewed desire and commitment to reaching the lost bathed in prayer and carried out in action.  I speak to my own heart first. We need to be constantly before the Lord asking for boldness to witness to our family, friends and neighbors.  We need to be serious about praying for the lost.

Only then can we start top see those numbers turn to the positive and our assemblies grow as the Lord intended.

Crawford Paul

Crawford is an elder at Thorold South Gospel Chapel in Ontario and has a passion for the assemblies. He and his wife Beth serve in various ways within the assembly to build up and encourage the believers. He is president of Believers Stewardship Services Canada, an organization focused on helping individual Christians, local churches and Christian organizations with financial, legal and governance matters. Check it out at bsscanada.org

3 Responses to Are You Seeing People Saved In Your Assembly?

  1. Ron Hofman

    A lot has changed since I first started attending an assembly (1975). Prayer meetings were well attended, and open-air meetings were held. Then permits were required to preach on the street corner or in the park. Eventually, it became so unpopular that it ceased.
    As a former teacher, at one time I could speak freely to my students. Eventually, that was frowned upon, and finally, discouraged altogether. And in my final years teaching, I was not allowed to speak.

    Our society has changed, but the need to spread the gospel message has not. Are we afraid? What we see down here is only temporal. But I’m afraid we are afraid.

  2. Anonymous

    When the Church began, there were no “tent meetings.” There were no “outreach programs.” There was no “gospel meeting.” And there was no “assembly head-count” to worry about, because nobody had any idea what was going to happen or how big what they then called “the Way” was going to become. All that existed was a few faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who actually believed in “the Way” and so cared about the fact that the Lord had told the to go, and that other people were dying in the dark.

    They spoke to whomever they could find: first, to the Jews, then to Gentiles. But not one time did they hold and in-church “program” to do that work. From John the Baptist to the Ethiopian eunuch, to every believer afterward, they were reached wherever they could be found, by obedient individual believers.

    What we really need to do is stop making excuses, and stop waiting for the local church to take over that job from us. We’ve got to decide if we really believe that our family, friends, neighbours and associates are really in need of Christ, and then start talking and acting as if we believe it, in all our normal interactions with them.

    That’s the only kind of evangelism there is. And if that increases the numbers in the local assembly, well, fine; but it’s a secondary effect, not its focus or its point: it’s point is to obey Christ and speak the truth to the lost so they can be saved.

Send us a Comment

We would love to get your views on this article. We accept posts that contribute to the understanding of the topic addressed. Please address your comments to the author directly and read our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.

*

*