Summary: Why are we not winning more people to Christ?


A) Back in July, I attended the National Association Of FWB’s in Memphis, Tenn.

* It was my very first, and I’m telling you, I loved it!

* There was great preaching ... Booths set up in the Convention Center ... Church growth ...

* I read stories of churches that started with just a handful of people like we did, yet, they are

now running in the 100’s and some, even more!

* I thought, “Lord, our church is 7 years old, and we are struggling ... What’s wrong?”

B) And the Lord began to tell me why our church is not growing like it should!

* And the first thing that God told me was ... There is too much unfaithfulness!

* Unfaithfulness in attendance, visitation, and in tithing and giving of income!

* I’ve got to confess to you that the need for church growth is greater than it’s ever been before!

* The more we accomplish for Christ, the more I realize how great the need really is!

* In spite of what little we’ve done, more men, women and children in SC are living without the

love and salvation of Jesus Christ than ever before!

C) In the last 10 years, attendance in SC FWB churches has fallen by approx. 10%!

* In the same period, the population of SC has grown by more than 11%.

* In spite of all that we’ve done as SC FWB’s, we’ve lost ground by 21% in the last ten years!

* Statistics ... 88% of people under the age of 25 do not attend church anywhere!

* 50% of 18 year olds, leave church and never come back!

* In the last 50 years, the average FWB church in SC has only increased it’s average Sunday

School attendance by 5 people! * That’s only 1 person every 10 years!

D) It appears that the world is multiplying, and the church is only adding!

* Do you realize that there are only 2 kinds of pastors, and 2 kinds of churches?

* The 1st type is the maintenance church! * The maintenance church keeps the utilities paid,

and the church family diapered, fed and burped!

* The pastor exists to preach a feel good sermon, and marry the young and bury the old.

* If somebody does find their way into the door, the maintenance church might accept the

newcomer if he or she fits the criteria!

E) The 2nd type of church is the mission church!

* A mission church can never be satisfied as long as 1 unsaved person exists in the community!

* A mission church looks for ways to get outside the stained glass to reach the stained lives!

* A mission church cannot rest as long as people around them still face an eternity in hell

without Jesus Christ!

* 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to ...”

* And friends, as long as Jesus doesn’t want to see 1 single person on this earth bust hell wide

open, I don’t want to see a single person on this earth bust hell wide open, neither should you!

F) So, as I read this passage, I began trying to figure out why we’re losing ground in SC!

* I took a long hard look at the cold, hard facts that some of our friends and family are going to

face forever in a hot fiery hell if we don’t find a way to reach them with Jesus’ love!

* Jesus told Peter to be a “fisher of men.”

* God drew me to this passage as I looked at what it means to be a fisher of men!

* As FWB’s, we’re doing some things right as we fish for men!

* And ... As FWB’s, we’re doing some things wrong as we fish for men! * Let’s look first at:


* Let’s look at the fishermen in this passage to see what they did right as they fished!

A) There Was Nothing Wrong With The Boats! * The boats were capable and well built!

* They were used by the fishermen every day to take them safely out into the waters.

* Friends, there’s nothing wrong with the Church of Jesus Christ!

* It’s carried us safely for over 2000 years! * People tell me:

* I don’t go to church because the church has hypocrites!

* And you and I both know that they’re right ... The church does have hypocrites.

B) Definition of a hypocrite ... Profess one thing with our mouth and do something else!

* That’s also the definition of a sinner!

* You and I both know that every person in here has been a hypocrite at one point in their life

or another, and if we live very long, we’ll probably be a hypocrite again!

* Yes, there are hypocrites in the church! * But, you know, there are hypocrites in the grocery

store too, but that doesn’t stop me from buying groceries!

* There are hypocrites in WalMart, but that doesn’t stop me from shopping there!

* The church of Jesus Christ is alive and well ... Amen!

C) Well, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian! * You won’t be one long!

* The church is to the Christian what a ship is to the water!

* May I remind you that Scripture tells us that Jesus isn’t coming back for individual Christians,

Jesus is coming back for His bride, the Church!

* Jesus died for the church, and Jesus is coming back for the church.

* And if I’m gonna be a part of THE Church, I want to be a part of A church!

* There was nothing wrong with the boats ... There’s nothing wrong with the church!

D) There Was Nothing Wrong With The Nets! * Look at v.2!

* These guys weren’t mending the nets, they were washing the nets.

* The nets were fine, they just weren’t being used!

* Friends, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is alive and well. * Rom.1:16 “For I am not ashamed ...”

* There’s nothing wrong with the ability of the Gospel to reach out like a net and capture the

hearts and souls of men! * The problem is, we’re not using it, we’re not going and telling it!

E) There Was Nothing Wrong With The Help! * These men knew how to fish!

* These men had fished for a lifetime! * They knew every cove and every sandbar!

* And notice what happened in v.7 ....... Talking about willing to help in time of need!

* There was nothing wrong with the help!

* When you’re called upon during times of need, do you rise to meet the occasion?

* When we’re having fund raisers, are you there to help in every way possible?

* Or do you run out the door when it’s over and not help with the clean up?

* This church is full good hearted, generous people who love God and want to serve Him!

* There’s nothing wrong with the help!

* Will we stand shoulder to shoulder during tough times and the hard work, or will we run?

F) There Was Nothing Wrong With The Water!

* The water was full of fish ... Just look at v.6!

* There are unsaved people all around us!

* Right here in Spartanburg County, we’re up to our ears in unsaved people!

* I’m wondering, how many people within 5 miles of this pulpit are not actively attending

church anywhere! * What about in the Rainbow Lake community?

G) Folk ... We are setting on a gold mine on Rainbow Lake Rd.

* I’ve been to some FWB churches so far back in the sticks, the Episcopalians handled snakes!

* Yet, in such a small place, the waters were full of fish, and they run in the 100’s or more!

* And I’ve wondered, where are these people coming from?

* Even in small towns, the waters are full of fish! * Rainbow Lake community is full of fish!

* OK, we’ve looked at What’s Not Wrong With The Way They Fished ... Now, let’s look at:


A) Simply put, these men had quit fishing and settled down to washing their nets!

* And friends, if we get comfortable and just wash our nets instead of using them to reach the

lost, we’ll lose our blessing from God!

* By the way, if you hadn’t noticed, God is blessing us in spite of ourselves!

* Last year, we didn’t have a piece of land to build a church on! * I believe that God will bless

us even more if we’ll use our nets instead of just washing them! * Let’s look at:

B) There Was A Command To Launch Out - V1-3!

* Jesus called on Peter to go with Him out into the water!

* Friends, Jesus is calling on each of you to join Him in reaching the lost men, women and

children of our community, right here, and in the Rainbow Lake area!!

* If you don’t hear anything else tonight, please hear this .......

* Soul-winning is the responsibility of EVERY believer! * Matt 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and

teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the .......”

C) I had a fellow one time tell me that he was praying about whether to get involved in

witnessing and sharing Jesus with his friends and family!

* Friends, you don’t need to pray about it! * There are some things you don’t have to pray

about! * God’s Word is clear that witnessing is your responsibility! * Bottom line .......

* If you are not actively and regularly sharing your faith in Jesus with the lost around you, you

are a disobedient son/daughter of God, you are in sin, and you need to repent!

* Every believer in this church ought to be going on visitation at least once a week!

D) Friends, here’s the simple truth!

* Unless we start casting our nets out and bring in some other families, we’ll begin to die in

less than 10 years! * Suppose we build our church on Rainbow Lake Rd in the next 2 years.

* Wouldn’t it break your heart to drive by the sanctuary in 15 years, and find the building

turned into a dinner theatre, or a kingdom hall for the Jehovah’s witnesses?

* You’re just running your mouth Preacher, nothing’s going to happen to this church!

* Don’t think so? * Did you know that last year, 2700 evangelical churches in the U.S. closed

their doors forever because they couldn’t keep the bills paid?

* Did you know that some folks estimate that 12-20 Free Will Baptist Churches will close their

doors in the next 20 years?

E) We’ve been given a command to launch out!

* We’ve been given a command to share the Gospel with every living person in Spartanburg,

and around the world! * That means everyone we come in contact with!

* May I remind you that you can’t win the lost if you’re never around the lost!

* If you don’t have any lost friends, you need to find some!

* We can’t witness to the lost if we never rub elbows with them!

* There was a Command To Launch Out ....... Then:

F) There Was A Challenge To Launch Out – V.4a!

* Jesus told Peter to “Launch out into the deep.”

* You can’t catch the best fish standing on the shore!

* You’ve got to launch out into deeper waters if you really want to catch some fish!

* Why is it that we’re so afraid of going out on a limb, that we never climb the tree?

* God has called us to leave our comfort zone and do the work of the ministry!

G) May I tell you something as your pastor? * It’s OK to try, and fail ... Just do something!

* Rick Warren in his book, “Purpose Driven Church,” states ...

* The Pastor of Saddleback Baptist Church in California said ... “For every 1 thing we tried that

worked, there were 200 things we tried that failed miserably.”

* When’s the last time that you really went out on a limb with God?

* May I remind you that the end of the limb is where all the fruit hangs?

* Brothers and sisters ... Go beyond your comfort zone ... Launch out into the deep!

H) Try something for God that you’ve never tried before!

* Call someone and invite them to church!

* Stop someone and tell them about Jesus!

* Volunteer to help in some ministry of the church!

* Set you a night aside and go out on visitation for Jesus and for the church!

* Launch out into the deep ... That’s where God’s Blessings are!

* There was a Command To Launch Out ... There was a Challenge To Launch Out ...

I) There Was The Construction Of Launching Out - 4b!

* Jesus told Peter to “let down your nets for a draught (catch).”

* He didn’t tell him to let down somebody else’s net ... He said “Let down YOUR net.”

* Did you know that there is no other church in the world like Faith FWB Church?

* We’re unique ... we’re different than all the rest!

* Friends, we need to quit worrying about what Valley Falls FWB Church is doing!

* Quit worrying about what Fairview FWB Church is doing ... Westgate FWB Church .......

* We need to just be sure that we’re doing everything we can with everything we’ve got!

J) I’ve been to Valley Falls FWB Church many times!

* They’ve got more buildings than we have. * They’ve got more budget than we have.

* They’ve got more bodies than we have.

* But they don’t have more Jesus than we have!

* I said, they don’t have more Jesus than we have! AMEN!

K) Friends, let don’t your nets! * Our nets are different than any other nets.

* Let God use you for His glory right here ... Just let down YOUR nets!

* I’ll confess that I used to be a little jealous of the facilities that some churches have!

* Memphis Tenn. ... Bellevue Baptist Church ... Big as Westgate Mall.

* Valley Falls FWB ... Westgate FWB ...

L) They’ve got more budgets, bodies and buildings than we have.

* And if that’s what impresses you, then you need to go to Bellevue Baptist Church!

* You need to go to Valley Falls ....... You need to go to Westgate .......

* But if you want a family, then Faith FWB Church is where you need to be!

* I used to be jealous of them, but now I just pray God’s blessings on them!

* I ask God to bless them so much that they won’t have any room, and folks start driving over

to here to find a wonderful little church where they’ll be loved called Faith FWB Church!

* There was a Command To Launch Out ... There was a Challenge To Launch Out ...

* There was the Construction Of Launching Out ... And Last .......

M) There Was The Compensation For Launching Out – V.4-6!

* Jesus told Peter to throw out the nets one more time!

* Peter told Jesus that they’d been fishing all night, and that there was no use!

* It’s pointless Jesus ... We’ve already tried that before.

* You know those are the 5 last words of a dying church, don’t you?

* “We’ve already tried that before.”

N) Peter said, “Jesus, we’ve been fishing all night and haven’t caught a thing.”

* “Now you’re asking use to cast the nets again ... We’ve already tried that before.”

* Then, Peter said an amazing thing! * He said, “…nevertheless at Your word I will let down

the net.” * “It doesn’t make sense to me Jesus, but I’ll do it your way!” * Now look at v.6-7!

* Victory was achieved because Peter submitted to God’s will.

* Submitting to God’s will is the only thing that will ever bless us!

O) You see ... The results are always up to God ... never up to us!

* God calls us to faithfully cast our nets into the waters ... the catch is up to Him!


A) A pastor was asked to do pulpit supply in a small rural church in Eastern NC!

* He arrived in the parking lot before church and got out of his car.

* He obeyed all of the rules of the south.

* You get out of your car with your wife in the church parking lot. * You start toward the door.

* When you see someone, you say, “Hey, How are ya’ll doing?”

* According to the rules of the south, they must respond ... (Wait for congregation) “FINE!”

B) But on this day, as he said, ““Hey, How are ya’ll doing?”

* 3 or 4 folks just looked at him and went on into the building! * He entered the sanctuary.

* No one welcomed him ... No one said a word ... No one introduced themselves.

* The service started ... There was no handshaking or fellowship time!

* No one introduced him before he preached! * No Amens, no smiles ...

* He felt as if he were preaching to a wall. * No one responded to the invitation.

C) He wondered if even God knew how dead they were!

* As the final prayer was being uttered, he thought, “I’ll make them at least acknowledge me.”

* “I’ll go to the front door and they’ll have to shake my hand and speak after the service.”

* He hurried to the door before the prayer ended, and all the people went out the other doors.

* Out in the parking lot, as he and his wife walked toward their car, he saw a small group of

men talking. * He thought, I’ll give it one more try!

D) As He passed them, he said, “We sure enjoyed being with you this morning.”

* Then he prayed for God to forgive him for lying!

* They looked at him, but not a single one of them spoke!

* He got in the car with his wife, and drove around the church to leave it.

* He looked over at the other side of the building where the church office was.

E) Then, he knew that God really did know how dead this church was!

* Outside the door was a sign that said, “Church Office.”

* An “F” had fallen off the sign, and it told the whole story. * The sign read “Church of Ice.”

F) But, do you know what? * Somewhere in the past, someone had a vision for that church!

* Money was raised, a building was built, and services were held!

* And somewhere, that little church had come to a crossroad!

* Jesus had called them into deeper water! * Jesus had told them to let down their nets!

* They refused, and became the “Church of Ice!”

G) Friends, we stand at the crossroads!

* The next few years will tell the tale about the Faith FWB Church, or shall I say ... Rainbow

Lake FWB Church! * Are we courageous enough to:

* Launch out into the water? * Will you share Jesus with someone you know?

* Launch further into the deep ... Go out on a limb once in a while for God’s Glory?

* Let down our nets ... They’re different than anyone else’s ... God made us unique!

* Lower our nets again and again just because Jesus told us to ... We’ll see His blessings!