|Dear Pastors and Leaders,
As we continue to highlight some of the great things that God has been doing in our churches across our Region, Pastor Tim Cressman contacted me with this story of what happened when Bluewater Baptist was challenged to be bold with their faith:
For a number of years now one of the things Bluewater (and I suspect much like many churches) have been lacking is conversions and first-time decisions for Christ. I’m a little embarrassed to say that for years and years we’ve had only 1 – 4 decisions each year. Last winter at our annual meeting we talked about this disturbing trend, then prayed that God would do something about it. We challenged our people to be bold with their faith. If I'm being honest, over the months that followed I didn’t think much more about it, but soon we started to see people put their faith in Christ through the ministry of our people!
At Bluewater we celebrate salvations by having a white flower on the stage on Sunday. We clap and cheer, and make a big deal about it. Over the winter and spring months, we started to notice an increasing number of flowers on Sundays – single flowers, and groups of two or three – until it was quite a regular thing to see. For the church’s recent 40th anniversary service, we thought that it might be helpful to visualize all that God had done in 2018, so we got a bouquet of white flowers – one for each person who had professed faith in Christ this year. When we counted them up, we found there had been 49 decisions for Christ in 2018. And because one person accepted Christ just at the end of 2017, it meant there was a total of 50 people who had accepted Christ in 12 months. Perhaps for some churches, 50 decisions is not a big deal but for us it was HUGE! The bouquet was much more costly than we thought it would be – but we were happy to pay it because of what it represented.
I wish I could say that we discovered some secret to the outpouring of decisions for Christ. The truth is that we’re just faithfully preaching the gospel like we always have and God just decided to do something cool! We’re grateful! And we’re praying for more! In the midst of this influx we discovered that our discipleship model was perfectly attuned to be able to handle just 1-4 people per year who accepted Christ, so now we've had to figure out how to integrate all of these new people in order to keep them from slipping through the cracks. It’s a good problem to have! Even now we’re asking God for more, and we're believing that He’s going to keep doing great stuff here at Bluewater.
How are you challenging your people to be bold with their faith? Send me a note and let's talk!