10 Sep Come and See
George Whitefield is considered by many as the greatest evangelist to have ever lived. That is a difficult title to bestow on someone because it is so subjective. What defines an evangelist? Is a mother who raises 11 children to be Jesus followers an evangelist, when two of those children started a denomination that numbers in the millions today? Susanna Wesley did that. Evangelism is hard to quantify.
Whitefield had a tremendous influence on our young nation in the late 1700s with many calling him the voice of the revolution. He took to the fields in the United Kingdom to convert the masses. He used the same technique here in America, preaching to the population. Without technology, he was able to reach hundreds of thousands.
Technology came along and changed everything. Billy Graham went on his crusades to city after city around the world, and then those services began to be broadcast to millions upon millions of viewers. Now, people can live stream sermons and listen to podcasts whenever they want. Even all of that access can’t shine any more light on the effectiveness of evangelism.
One of the techniques Graham used was Operation Andrew. Andrew was the brother of Peter. John the Baptist was a prophet, and he told Andrew about Jesus. Andrew met Jesus, and then he brought Peter to Jesus. Later, Jesus met with Philip, and then Philip brought his brother Nathanael. That is evangelism.
Evangelism is so much more effective and lasting when relationships are involved. This is our approach to Friends Day. We are all trying to not only invite our friends, neighbors, and co-workers to church, but we will drive them to the theater if needed. This isn’t about getting a bunch of people to come to church; it IS about bringing people to meet Jesus.
Sometimes we wrongly believe we need a great sales pitch to invite people, but that is wrong. When Nathanael was questioning Philip’s invitation, all Philip responded back was, “Come and see.” It worked then, and those words still work today.
I joked on Sunday that we needed to adapt that biblical invitation for Friends Day on 9/17. As we are inviting people to church, let’s say, “Come and see…and then see a movie.” Jesus loves people, and people love movies, so Jesus probably loves movies, too (but don’t quote me on that).
People who come to church on 9/17 for the first time or the 20th time get to stay for a free movie. So, let’s share with people something we have experienced first-hand. What’s all the fuss about? What’s it like to have church in a movie theater? Come and see.
Blessings to you,