Chuck Terrill: Contagious churches
Contagious ó even the word sounds deadly.
COVID-19 and coronavirus now dominate our news reports. Coming into contact with contagion isnít a good thing. Even so, nearly every Christian wants to be part of a contagious church. Though meeting together is difficult right now, I believe that the Christians in Cassville want to be characterized as people of infectious faith. We want churches that constantly experiences the joy of seeing others give their lives to Christ.
The question: How do we become contagious in faith? There is no way that an inwardly focused church can fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We must make a personal decision to live boldly for Christ. A church isnít contagious without contagious Christians. This is especially a necessity for church leaders. Leaders set the standard and model outreach to the rest of the church.
Contagious Christianity isnít chasing after the latest outreach program. Contagious Christianity is the result of chasing after God. Iíll list four practical ways that you can start the process.
Repent. Is the greatest sin in non-evangelism self-centeredness? Sometimes we think that our faith and our church are all about us, instead of them. Have we forgotten that the primary reason God called us is to enlarge His family? If so, we need to go to God and ask Him to forgive us, and to give us His heart for the lost. Do you ache to see the lost come to Christ? (Matthew 18:11).
Read. You canít grasp the heart and mind of Christ without allowing the Word to ďdwell in you richlyĒ (Colossians.3:16). Beyond reading, it is important to meditate on specific passages that increase our evangelistic zeal. John 4 should motivate you. Jesus models what it is like to reach out to the lost. How much time have you spent meditating on Godís Word, lately?
Relate. Spend as much time as you can with contagious Christians. Who elevates your evangelistic temperature? Let that personís passion infect you! (Acts 4:13). Is there someone you need to spend some time with? And please, after all of this over, donít be absent from worship unless you absolutely have to. Your church is less contagious without you (Hebrews 10:25).††††
Reach. Reach out to those non-Christian around you. Being a contagious Christian requires that you take some relational risks. Get close to people who donít know Christ. Reaching out to them matures your heart for evangelism and gives them the opportunity to know Christ. Is there someone God is asking you to spend time with, today?
I urge you act upon these suggestions. I am confident that God will bless your efforts. He has chosen to let the world know His love through you.††
Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.