Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Evangelism: The Rooftop Experience

Imagine gathering on a rooftop (literally or figuratively), looking across your local community, and asking God to help your church see and understand the people of your community, many who don't even think about Jesus. That is the focus on evangelism, The Rooftop Experience could bring to your church.
Across the world, new generations of people are no longer attending church as their parents and grandparents did. The number of people who don’t know Jesus is growing rapidly and this is resulting in a whole new reality. Millions upon millions of people living in what were once thought to be ‘Christian’ nations now face a lost eternity and they don’t even know it! 
This is the message of Dennis Pethers. Dennis is not only a dear friend, but he is someone whom I consider to understand the possible plight of evangelism for United States churches. Growing up in England as an Atheist, he often tells people, "I didn't know I needed Jesus." It was simply a non-issue, until one day, someone gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. This began his journey that eventually ended with a new relationship with Jesus Christ.

Since that time, God has opened doors for Dennis to speak, first to churches in Great Britain, then in the United States, and now across the world. Drawing from his early experiences as a new believer trying to fit in to an established church, he provides insight about believer' attitudes and awareness about the lost that is very insightful, though-provoking, and convicting.
  • Do we really interact with the lost world? 
  • Do we really understand that Jesus Christ is not even on the radar of most people in our community? 
  • Do we really understand that people aren't looking to attend our church, so we must go to them? 
  • Do we really want to have conversations and build relationships with the lost?
  • How much are we willing to adjust our church culture and personal commitments in order to truly be on mission with God in reaching our community?
These are just a few of the challenges brought before our church, Northside Baptist, Murfreesboro, TN, when Dennis began meeting with us 18 months ago.  Dennis made several visits to our church, met with our leadership, spoke to our congregation and helped us prepare to lead our church to go through The Rooftop Experience. As always, God was perfect in His timing.

We were already realizing how we had become very comfortable with who we were and comfortable with others who were like us. We recognized that we needed to make some changes if we were to lead our church to be focused more outward toward those who weren't like us, didn't know our church existed, and didn't even think about following Christ.

God has and is continuing to do a great work in our church. We are still learning how to focus outwardly, but God is already opening doors to people. We are still moving through The Rooftop Experience because it is more than an event; it is a process. We are adjusting our ministry focus as we continue to become more aware of the challenges we face in reaching the people of our community.

If you are longing for your church to receive a fresh vision of God's heart for the lost and then, with this new vision burning in your heart, engage with lost people who know little or nothing of Jesus, then you might want to consider a focus on evangelism using the Rooftop Experience.

Dennis is a member of the 4:12 Network. You can check out his profile, learn more about his ministry, and his other resources as well.

The Rooftop from Viz-A-Viz Ministries on Vimeo.