Key Thought: The Apostle Paul was a man of prayer and action. After a difficult season, he sensed a call to go to a new region. This move was the beginning point of the first church in Europe. The region God called him to was Macedonia. The city- Philippi.
Everything was different here. There was hardly a trace of monotheism. No synagogue was available as a handy place to gather with Jews. There were no friendly Christ-followers to assist with housing. This was a brand-new city necessitating a brand-new approach. While many things were unfamiliar, one thing remained the same- people who were not religiously faithful were still religiously curious. And so, Paul dove in, adapted his usual mission strategy, and planted one of his most beloved congregations. And we can now learn from the key step Paul took to reach people. Because, to reach new people, in new places, we must be willing to try to some new things.
Love your neighbor
- Share (Today)
Part of loving people is aiding with their physical and emotional needs. The other part is aiding their soul with the one need it has- receiving the Gospel.
- The mission, regardless of the circumstances is the same – preach the Gospel (vs. 9-10)
- Notice- it was not preach the Gospel in Synagogues
- New places require new strategies (vs. 11-13)
- What do you do when the thing that you used to not only doesn’t work- but doesn’t exists?
- Here are the times Paul used the Synagogue
- Acts 6:9, 13:42, 14:1, 17:1, 18:4, 18:19, 19:18
- Facts and Trends about Church attendance (https://reachrightstudios.com/25-church-statistics-for-2021/#h-1-non-practicing-christians-are-on-the-rise)
- The process of relationship building is still the same (13-15)
- Go Outside religious environments
- Just because you’re outside a religious environment doesn’t mean people stop being religious.
- Speak, sitting down
- You open your mouth- but it’s God that opens to heart
- Go Outside religious environments
Can the Holy Spirit work through:
- Speaking in casual environments
- While people are listening online
Concord Community Online
- A digital community that is a vibrant part of our church
- Receives a care package that enables them and their household to fully engage in the church service.
- Are cared for with an online pastor and trained volunteers
- Interacts in realtime with online leaders and the online pastor
- Have ways to participate in Connect, Grow, Serve, though their geography is different.
Geographical location is not a limiting factor for the work of God’s Spirit.
I feel we are at a Macedonia moment.
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Rusty makes this point, “part of loving people is aiding with their physical and emotional needs.” He goes on to say that we are to also share the gospel with those we help. Think about a time when someone has helped meet your physical or emotional needs. How much of an impact did their kindness have on you?
- Paul’s mission regardless of the circumstances was to “preach the gospel,” not to “preach the gospel in synagogues.” How are the two alike and how are they different? What lessons can we learn from this principle as we share God’s love?
- Our world is changing quickly, however, the need to build relationships hasn’t changed. The way we do it may change, but the need to have relationships never changes. Why does this remain true?
- Pastor Rusty shared a George Barna study which showed the number of practicing Christians has dropped by 20% in the last 20 years. During this period the number of non-practicing Christians has grown by 8%. Pastor Rusty notes building relationships with people who need Jesus remains the same. How are you being a friend to people who need a relationship with God?
- Take a moment to reflect on this profound statement from Pastor Rusty, “You open your mouth— but it’s God that opens hearts.” Think about a time when you have witnessed this principle personally?
- The Holy Spirit can work through what is said in casual settings and online. How should this reality impact our ministry as culture continues to change?
LIVE IT OUT
- Pastor Rusty feels we are at a “Macedonia Moment.” Ask God to help you see how you can be part of what He’s doing in our culture at Concord.
- Prayerfully make a list of friends, co-workers, and family members who don’t know Christ, but with whom He might use you to share His love.
- Ask God to work in the heart of each person you just listed.
- Ask God to help you be alert for opportunities to demonstrate His love and for the wisdom to know what to say when opens these opportunities to share.
- Make it a point to pray daily for each of these people. Each day pray for an opportunity to share the hope you have found with those He brings into your life.
- Pray for God’s help as Concord makes an effort to connect with others digitally.