"Calling People to Faith"

During worship in January, I explored our vision statement which guides our work here at First Presbyterian. It reads, “First Presbyterian Church is a loving community in Christ where we
Call People to Faith, Develop them as Disciples, and Send them to Serve.”

This vision is based on the three movements of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Jesus 1) proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God; 2) taught people how to live; 3) ministered to the needs of those around him. This week I want to write a few words about proclamation.

Jesus had an important message to share, and he went all over Judea and Galilee telling people about that message; After sharing the good news that the Kingdom was near, he invited people to follow. Some followed; some didn't; but he moved on to the next town to proclaim again.

He told his followers that they were the light of the world and that the light must not be hidden. He told them that they were salt of the earth that brought flavor to the world. Just before he ascended into heaven, he said to his disciples: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

So it is clear that telling others about Jesus' work in one’s life and inviting them to consider Christ's claims for themselves is a primary job description of a follower of Jesus. The single greatest gift you can give to the people around you is an introduction to the God who created them, who loves them, and who has a purpose for their life. Nothing beats it—not monetary gains, not job opportunities, not recognition or accolades.

When you boil it all down, this is what evangelism or calling people to faith amounts to: constantly watching for ways to give this single greatest gift to someone living far from God.
As a church, as evidenced from our vision statement, we have made a commitment to make calling people to faith a priority in our ministry.

As an individual, this could be something as simple as walking across a room and engaging someone who you don't know in conversation. That conversation could lead to a relationship; which leads to a friendship; which then leads to an opportunity to share why Jesus means so much to you; which leads to an invitation to consider Christ's claims.

As a church, it means being intentional about adding a "reach" component to many of the activities of the church. Each ministry group in our church can ask themselves this question: how are we bearing witness to others of the reality of God's presence and activity in our work? How can we invite others outside of the church and faith to participate in our ministry?

This emphasis is not primarily about “getting new members.” It is about being a witness to the power of Christ to transform lives and sharing the greatest news the world has ever heard. My prayer is that each of us can always be on the lookout for ways to call people to faith in our awesome Savior Jesus Christ!

Grace and peace to each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee