Avoid loose gospel preaching in the church life

---By CK Jen, 2020/08/24

In North America, every Christian, thank the Lord, because of the life of Christ within, will naturally and willingly preach the gospel to the friends and relatives he knows. However, it is likely that this will also become a stumbling block for a Christian to have the burden to spread the gospel. When the church blows the trumpet to encourage the saints to preach the gospel, almost everyone feels that he or she has already voluntarily preached the gospel. It may be three months or six months ago, or it may just happen two or three times a year to relatives and friends. Therefore most saints do not feel eager to respond the trumpet of the church, or desire to be more active, to pray and seek the Lord and to receive the burden to preach the gospel to some people. The older saints in the church may also think that he or she has already preached gospel to nearly all his or her relatives and friends many times, and think that young people should rise up to preach the gospel, and they may not be burdened. In this fellowship, I define these feelings as "looseness" of the saints in preaching the gospel.

In Montreal, starting in 2018, after the church has enjoyed a love banquet on every Sunday noon, some saints went to outside of the metro stations or Costco or other stores to deliver the printed gospel tracts, and such a gospel tract is updated every three or four months. The main purpose of delivering the gospel tracts is to sow gospel seeds to the people so that they will believe in Jesus, not to invite them to join our gatherings. We thank and praise the Lord, He is very faithful. This kind of delivering the gospel tracts is called the "cold doors gospel", that is, the people who receive the gospel tracts are whom we don't know. Approximately one person in every thousand delivered gospel tracts will come to the church meeting. Of course, in the weekly prayer meeting or other gatherings, there are healthy and strong prayers for gospel preaching at Montreal. But in the church life, many newcomers and saints often have various difficulties and worries due to work, school, family, finances, living, etc., and cannot continue to enjoy, know and accept the love and care of the saints in the church life, and then they leave. During leaving, they are often family by family. Therefore, if the church is not serious and burdened to spread the gospel, in principle, from these data or facts,it is clear that the number of people in the church gathering will decrease or not increase is inevitable, and it is always happening in the churches which I am familiar with.

Indeed there are some saints in Montreal, but about a dozen are burdened, and even two or three of them have some gifts to preach the gospel. However, most of them are sisters. They see people and preach when they have the opportunity. Many unbelievers are attracted, then believe in the Lord, and stay in the church life with joy. Of course, these burdened sisters will often accompany and take care of these newcomers during the week for a long period of time. This is the main reason why the number of people in the church can increase.

When new people are brought into the gathering of the church, if they are family members of saints having relatively fresh Christ life and burdens, in principle, they will be very joyful because their family members are saints and are warmly cared for and accompanied. Quickly and joyfully they live a normal and healthy church life, including offering prayers, reading the Bible, singing hymns, and having frequent small group gatherings with the saints, etc., so that the life of Christ will grow in them and the knowledge of the Lord and trusting the Lord will grow. Thank the Lord; I define such family-style care as "not loose or intimate". This is also another main channel through which new people can be added to the church.

What often happens in the church is that the saints happily invite friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. to a certain gathering in the church. This is called the "warm door gospel". During the invitations of 20 to 30 people and one may come to the church meeting. So the "warm door" gospel invitation is much more effective than the "cold door". If the person who invites has no burden for the salvation of the invited person and the growth of Christ's life in this new one, they may think that the church gathering itself, especially the Sunday gathering will attract the people they invite, or that someone in the "church" should or would accompany and take care of the people whom they invite, but not themselves (thinking that they are not strong, incapable or too busy). This is the "looseness" of personal gospel preaching. If this is the case, it depends on whether there are any servants in the church who have the burden to serve and accompany carefully and warmly these new ones, otherwise they will leave in a short time period. If no one takes care of the new ones, the church is "loose" in gospel preaching. It is very likely that these newcomers will no longer come to the church gathering. Since 2014, in Montreal there has been nearly 300 including thechildren who come to our gathering only once every year (generally the saints do not know the meaning of this data, even if the church has an oral announcement, everyone does not pay attention or is unwilling to pay attention). This also means that the majority of saints are still "loose" in gospel preaching.

Another special challenge in gospel preaching is whether the new ones who come to the church gathering because of their desire to know Christ Jesus or to try out a new Christian gathering, especially the natives of Quebec (in English or French). If they are already believers, they probably have a fixed concept concerning what the pattern of the church gatherings should be. If our gathering does not fit that pattern (which is very likely to be the case), church data shows that they will leave within a few weeks. In 2018 and 2019, nearly eight Quebec local residence believers (average age 40 or 50) were invited by the gospel tracts and joined the church Sunday gathering, but only one remained in the church life at present. That is to say, nearly 8,000 gospel tracts were delivered and only one remained (generally saints do not know the meaning of this data, even if the church has an oral announcement, nearly everyone does not pay attention). The main reason is that during the English/French gatherings the majority of saints are either over 60 years old or under 30 years old (and some of them mainly speak Chinese in their lives), and there are less than 30 in total. It means that it is not easy at all to accompany and take care of these forty to fifty years old new ones. However, in Chinese-speaking gatherings, a small number of Chinese-speaking people will stay in the church life. Why? The main reason is that there are more than a hundred Chinese speaking saints in the meeting, so more saints are able to take care of and accompany these Chinese speaking newcomers (not so "loose").

Recently, due to the COR19 epidemic in the summer of 2020, the English/French speaking gospel preaching has focused on young people aged 30 or under. The most important is the children of the saints, the second generation of the church. How does it work? That is to say, let the young people to operate the church's Sunday meeting with burdens. The content of the meeting is still Christ, but it is aimed at attracting young people who have just graduated from junior high school, high school, university and young graduates. Also because of the epidemic, the church's gathering included Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and one or two saints from other Canadian cities (all young). Thank the Lord, a team of young English/French speaking saints who have the burden to serve. There are also nearly ten people (young working, college students, high school and junior high school students) in this team. The second-generation young people's parents (some only have fathers, some only mothers) are almost all staying in the church life, and they are somewhat more comfortable with the current church gathering pattern. If the gathering of the church is led and operated by young people, second generation and young newcomers will be more able to integrate with the approaches and contents of the gatherings. If they can stay in the church life, the church will be blessed for many years.

Church meetings, especially every Sunday, must focus on gospel (the teaching of Brother Watchman Nee) to attract new people. At present, the gatherings of English/French speaking Sundays have started to be operated by the young saints themselves, so the content is naturally suitable for young people and new ones. The new ones whom the young saints invite are more likely willing to stay at our gatherings. The saints who invite the new ones in this way will spontaneously grow in faith and are more willing and joyful to invite others. For the English/French speaking gathering, due to these renewing of the operation and the content of the meeting, there are signs that young people and new ones start to join one by one and stay, which has contributed to the fact that the gospel preaching of young people is gradually not "loose" and the church is blessed. The recent Chinese speaking gatherings on Sundays also focus on the testimony of the gospel. After a certain period of time, church saints will have a normal and healthy burden (as in 2nd Timothy 4:2 )to preach the gospel. They or themselves will trust the Lord more and live the church life joyfully, and the church will naturally be more blessed. Of course, there are church meetings that pursue the Lord's Word, and more than two or three meetings every week, so that the saints who have a heart can know the Lord, the Lord's words and the burden, direction and goals of the Lord's heart desires of the church.

2nd Tim. 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Because now our gatherings are online, geographical restrictions seem to disappear. Chinese-speaking people can spread the gospel to relatives in China, or spread the gospel to relatives and friends who are scattered in small cities due to work, school, and living. In addition, serving ones from Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary also formed a four localities gospel team. First, they prayed in one accord and fellowshipped with one another to spread the gospel. In addition, it is possible to invite coworkers in the United States to share the rich gospel messages and testimonies, so that the contents of the gospel meeting are more attractive to newcomers and young saints in the Lord, bringing the saints into more perseverance and confident in gospel preaching. At present, the saints are learning to practice on-line gospel preaching, but it is not the focus of this fellowship.

Another effective exercise to avoid "looseness" is that when newcomers come to the church gathering, the church can have small groups (three or four burdened saints; their level of life is not that important, but hope that there will be someone who is relatively mature in the Lord) to accompany and take care of these newcomers about their livings, works, studies, immigration, health, etc. But this is not as simple as we can commonly imagine, because there are many, many saints in the church who need to be delicately cared for and church needs to pay attention to raise up pillars. Thank the Lord, there are several large groups (about ten saints) in the church at Montreal to care for and feed each other, and the lives of Christ in these saints have also grown significantly. Of course, the church hopes to establish a family culture for everyone to function (big or small, more and less, but there is always), and all members serve (especially to serving people), regardless of age, sex and language. In fact, companions are the most effective channel for one's life growth, just like parents taking care of and loving their children. Therefore, the Chinese saying goes well, "After getting married, if you have children, you will grow seven years old."

(Please refer to Bible Home Work "Gospel preaching")

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