Who Will We Reach?

“I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ’Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.’” — Romans 15:20–21

The apostle Paul knew who was supposed to be reached with the gospel. It’s not that he didn’t have a heart for the church or that he didn’t think Christians needed to grow and be encouraged by the gospel. Much of the New Testament is Paul encouraging Christians with the gospel. He did, however, realize that the glory of God is extended through the church as new people come to faith in Christ. Believe it or not, this is a very challenging attitude for the church today, for Eastern Hills today.

There are a lot of church leaders who talk about growing the church, but what they are really talking about (whether they realize it or not) is pulling people away from one church and bringing them to theirs. We must actively fight against this mindset. Now, there are some situations in which a person moving from one congregation to another is permissible, maybe even healthy, but for the most part, we, the congregation of Eastern Hills must reach those who either don’t know Jesus at all or don’t have a church home. We need to preach the gospel where Christ has not already been named, so to speak. This task is going to require a great effort. It is going to require a great, and worthy effort from you if you are a member of Eastern Hills.

First, we are going to have to realize that we now live in a culture where the moral virtues of the church are not assumed. You cannot simply tell someone, especially the younger generation, they should come to church. You have to be able to show them why the church, and more specifically, the Christ of the church, is able to meet their deepest needs. In order to show them Christ can meet their needs, you need to know their needs. In other words, you need to get to know the unchurched around you. What matters to them? What do they want out of life? With what issues do they struggle? Only once these people see that you actually care about their lives will they listen when you tell them there is a solution in Christ. I heard a great quote recently from the philosopher Blaise Pascal. It reads, “Make good men wish [Christianity] was true, then show that it is.” We must find the people who don’t think Christianity is true, show them why (according to their own desires) they should want it to be true, then show them that Christ is everything they ever wanted. We must do this as individual Christians and we must do this together as Eastern Hills Baptist Church.

You may be asking, “Why does the pastor talk about this during a pandemic?” The reason is that I don’t want us to waste one minute. I want to start where we must start, in prayer. I want to ask you, during this pandemic, to devote yourself to praying for the unchurched in Montgomery. Here’s how: (1) Set aside a time every day for prayer. You may need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you. (2) Make a list of people you know who are either not Christian or are not in church. (3) Pray for each person on that list by name every day. If you can’t think of anyone to pray for, use your prayer time to ask that God would send someone into your life that does not know Christ or needs a church. (4) Pray for Eastern Hills as we seek to Follow God, Reach people, and Teach them to do the same. Let us fight this worthy battle. Let us together preach the gospel where Christ has not already been named!

Pastor Josh