This past Saturday I had the pleasure of assembling with eight brethren at the Willmington church meeting-house in Watts California. Something Willmington brethren have been committed to on the third Saturday of every month for some time now, possibly years. I did not ask how long they’ve been doing it.
They assemble for the purpose of going out into the community together to spread the good news of Jesus! Their usual approach has been to distribute spiritually oriented flyers that a local sister (Mami) creates.
They leave their flyers at local businesses in their neighborhood and outside the houses they do not find anyone home at. Those they meet face to face are encouraged to consider the message on the flyer and join them in Bible study and worship at the building.
Those neighboring the building have gotten used to their visits and familiar with them as people. The community has grown to know the church is present and cares about their souls. Though they have had very few visitors to their assemblies, they keep going out in hopes that the relationships they are developing with their neighbors will serve their souls well when they are ready to seek more spiritually.
This past Saturday four of the nine of us were physically able enough to canvas the neighborhood while the remaining five were not. The five that were not, sat up chairs in the front of the meeting-house and passed out flyers and spoke to those who passed by. Before going out it was suggested that we ask those who have seen the flyers before, what they think about them. Also that we go beyond the flyer and invitation to “church” and encourage personal spiritual dialogue by asking spiritual questions.
As we crossed the street to the West we encountered three people standing on the sidewalk talking. We engaged them with the flyer and invited them to “church.” We then took the conversation further by asking if they thought most people would go to Heaven, if they wanted to go to Heaven themselves and how they could be sure of a home in Heaven. Conversation included having them read and discuss Matthew 7:13,14, 21-23, 1 Timothy 3:16,17, Galatians 3:26,27, Acts 2:36-41 and other pertinent passages about obeying the gospel. After about a thirty minute impromptu study right there on the sidewalk, one woman said she wanted to pursue further study and baptism, a man suggested that he should consider the Bible more a possibly be baptized. Personal contact information was exchanged and encouragement not to delay their obedience.
Maybe fifty yards further up the street a flyer was handed a woman in her front yard across a fence from us. The flyer was passed and the woman started heading back to a lawn chair sitting on her porch. We seized the moment by attempting to create an opportunity to speak with the woman further by asking her if we could ask her a spiritual question. She turned around and said yes. We ask the same question(s) and took a similar route as in our first encounter that day. The woman came back to the fence and stood there speaking with us for about another half an hour. The discussion and study revealed that the woman thought herself to be a Christian and saved, but unsure of whether the Bible was actually inspired by God or not. She showed little understanding any scripture, though she did show interest, writing down most of the texts we discussed and read. She invited further contact and personal contact information was exchanged.
The brethren who sat on the sidewalk at the building reported some encouraging interchanges as well. Mami said she tried the approach suggested earlier concerning discussing people’s impressions about the flyers. Being the creator of the flyer she also read it out loud to those interested in listening, adding discussion and theatrical expression and along the way. I am not sure if any information was exchanged for further contact or not.
Not nearly as many flyers were distributed last Saturday as in Saturdays past, but brethren report having their eyes opened to new possibilities in their approach to evangelistic efforts.
As long as the Lord allows these brethren plan to continue assembling every third Saturday to sow the seed of the Kingdom. I hope to join them often.
Thank God for brethren so devoted to consistently reaching out, as a body of believers, to the neighborhood they meet in! May we be encouraged to find ways to follow their example in the neighborhoods where we meet.
Think Fellowship, think souls.