Summary: This is a sermon based on my testimony of how the Lord called me to start a church, and our biblical pattern for ministry & evangelism. Practical points are made on how we are called, how God fullfills that calling, and suggestions for church planting.
It’s funny how the Lord has us in the palm of His hand. How he knows what we can do, and plans the future for us. Some times this even involves what seems like catastrophe.
We were in the middle of a cell group barbecue at our friends the Grants. The children are playing, the adults fellowshipping together. That is, until I trip and break my kneecap. It was a kneecap in the likeness of the Godhead, One Kneecap, separated into three distinct, minutely held together pieces. I would spend 2 weeks in near bed-rest. When the Doc gave me the all clear, I asked him about rehabbing. He said the best thing was walking. Great, I could use a treadmill. My wife suggested good outside walking. I had been introduced to the concept of prayer walking a few months earlier. I felt kind of remorseful that I had not accomplished anything when I was down in bed, so I decided to prayer walk as my rehab the knee project.
I was at a point in my life seeking where I would be in ministry. A month previous, I had been ordained into the ministry, and was seeking where the Lord was going to lead us. While walking, I began to meet people, and God gave me a burden for them. With calm assurance, the Lord answered my prayers concerning what I should do in ministry. He called me to start a church in the apartment complex. Through 1.5 years of ministry there, we saw over 100 people come to our small groups, and 10 people accept Christ. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why tough things happen. I learned that God always has a purpose!
1) Bless the area and the people (verse 5)
A prayer of blessing is powerful! I prayed a prayer of blessing for the complex. This lasted a few weeks. One interesting situation was the back corner. Fairly unlit at night, I always got a somewhat uneasy feeling there. It sits next to San Jacinto Junior College campus. Also, directly behind it is the Baptist Student Union. At the time we were unaware of some of the evil activity going on back there (not at the student union!). There was drug and satanic activity going on. As we began to minister in our church, some of the very ones the Lord led us to were in that corner. I believe it was because we prayed the blessings and power of Jesus would be in their lives.
2) Fellowship with them (verse 7)
This next statement is a key point in how we have been successful. We did not go around "banging" on people’s doors, telling them how much they need Jesus Christ. Do they need Jesus Christ, you bet! Instead, we started by just walking around outside talking to people that were outside. Some were at the playground. Some were sitting outside smoking, drinking coffee, or other beverages. Others have simply observed our activity, and asked what we were doing. Visibility is important! We have not invaded people’s homes. And I have just gotten to know them, not being too "pushy" about spiritual things. And here is how the Lord worked: