The Purpose of Gospel Meetings
It is gospel meeting time and I am fully charged up! As a youth I can vividly remember gospel meetings and hearing the doctrine of Jesus Christ be proclaimed. Not only that I would see various members from other congregations come out and support the work as well. Here in Caddo Mills, Texas we will be hosting a gospel meeting and the topic is “What does God command and where do you stand”? The sermons will be dealing with the blood, love, and obedience of Jesus as well a new birth required by Jesus in John 3. All are welcome to come!
But what if you were not as fortunate as I, what if you never have been to a gospel meeting and do not understand the purpose of them. What should one expect to hear when he or she comes out to listen. That is the intent of this article to tell the why and give a little history of gospel meetings as well since so many people in our present age no longer believe they are effective and some sadly, flat out say they are a waste of time.
Why Gospel meetings
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”. By the preaching of the gospel we invite men and women to become obedient to God and have sins forgiven through baptism (Acts 2:38, 22:16). Without preaching the gospel a man or woman has no chance of having a relationship with GOD almighty and becoming a member of the church of Christ.
The inspired Apostle would also write in Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. The gospel is the power of GOD to blast away sin and sin is what separates a man/woman from GOD and its penalty is death (Isa.59:1-2, Rom 6:23).
A person cannot believe in something they have never heard thus the thrust and root of all gospel meetings to invite persons to come and hear the gospel message (Romans 10:13-16). So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). We are un-apologetically trying to save souls and it is through the means of preaching the word of GOD.
The history of Gospel meetings
Since the first century faithful men of God have been having gospel meetings although not necessarily termed that. The beloved physician and inspired historian Luke records in Acts 2:1 that when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, You men of Judea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words (Acts 2:14). Pentecost was a Jewish holiday and a wonderful place to preach the gospel of Jesus. Only fitting since Jesus Himself instructed them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem.
Luke again records when the brethren where having problems about the gospel message, they came together for a meeting and debated the issue of circumcision and the Law of Moses. The meeting resulted in a letter being written to churches confirming that those teaching circumcision had no authority because they had been given no instruction (Acts 15 note verses 5 & 24).
We should all learn that if our gospel meetings are going to be effective we have to go where the people are at or generate enough buzz so that they will inquire of us, the first is by far easier. Likewise we should always expose error and promote the truth. A gospel meeting should have as a foundation the gospel of Jesus Christ and what all that entails. Second should be declaring the difference between truth and error.
Gospel Meetings a waste of time?
Sadly so many of the younger generation believe we are wasting our time with gospel meetings. Some churches have abandoned them altogether. The question of why is begged. Here are some common reasons as to why we should not have gospel meetings:
- Poor attendance
- No baptisms
- Not the same outcome as before
- People just not interested in truth anymore
- Too busy to come through out the week
- Too much to ask of parents
- Kids won’t sit still in church
- Only members come
- Just another way for preachers to make money
Often times meetings have poor attendance because the lack of advertising and this falls square on the shoulders of the church. Both leadership and members alike. Leadership should look into door knocking (which should be training first) direct mail, facebook ads, cards in the members hands to pass out at work, posters, and having the members call family and friends and invite them out. Also invite other congregations to help spread the word.
Baptisms come as a result of studying God’s word and accepting HIS word. Our goal should not be to track how many people we baptize rather how many people did we extend an opportunity to study God’s word. Our focus has to be on preaching the word because it is God who gives the increase.
People are still very interested in truth, we have to make sure when they see us they see Christ in us the hope of glory! If we walk around jaded and depressed who will want to come around us especially if they don’t have to? One of the biggest question of our day is does God exist and can you prove it? YES, HE does and I can most certainly prove it! Our preaching must have apologetics in it simply meaning to give a defense. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. Start out proving that HE does exist and then show what he commands of all mankind.
The rest are excuses (5-10). We have at Caddo Mills church of Christ a nursery to take your kids in if needed and you can still hear the message. If you need help with a child I am confident that a sister will help you. We are so loving here at Caddo Mills church of Christ and in the churches of Christ as a whole. All of us have had to go through the process of having children cry and so forth. We welcome you to the club and will not view you as an alien for having a child that cries.
I look forward to seeing all the members and those of other congregations, what wonderful fellowship. What a taste of glory divine! Gospel Meetings are effective and always will be effective if we as a church get involved and do everything we can to exalt HIS holy name.