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Leading a Church in the Twenty-first Century: An International Perspective

The pastor needs to create a family atmosphere in the church. In this age of individualism, people are yearning for community.

Focusing on hurting people is one of the secrets for church growth. This was definitely the focus of Jesus’ ministry, and churches focusing on the poor and needy are growing.9 There are all types of hurting people in every strata of society. The following are some of the needs we can focus on: stress, sickness, marital problems, blended families, hopelessness, anger, frustration, drugs, delinquent children, etc.

We should emphasize preaching or evangelism outside the church. Having a church building is no reason to disobey the Lord’s command to go into the world and preach the gospel, Matthew 28:19-20.

Evangelism calls for a conscious act, it does not happen without prayer and planning.

Evangelism calls for money and time set aside to work. Too many churches are spending money on the maintenance of church programs and little or no money on evangelism.

Evangelism calls for commitment from the pastor and the congregation.

Evangelism calls for looking for opportunities to evangelize.

It might be a worthwhile exercise to get together a group of people and discuss this suggestion: how can we communicate the gospel outside the church building?

How can we move our people to action?

Emphasize loving Christians and non-Christians alike, this is the example Jesus gave us. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and anyone who loves is born of God, for God is love. The one does not love does not know, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7,8 NASB). The heart of Christianity is love, and when love does not exist in the church it become cold and careless. During a recent trip overseas a pastor reminded me that they win non-Christians one person at a time by showing genuine love for them.10

Jesus … was anointed to preach to the poor. Luke 4:16

To love someone is to care for that person and his family. It is to participate in the practical things in life such as: their future concerns, their celebrations, etc. and communicating with them as friends. We must keep this in mind when communicating with non-Christians.

Ask for permission to share the gospel when the right time comes and the Holy Spirit will guide you on how to share the gospel. When trust is established, non-Christians usually ask questions about our faith.

Pastoral care is imperative to develop a community.

The Bible emphasizes Christian education not Sunday school11 and we should do the same. “[T]each them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do” (Exodus 18:20 NASB).  “Go into all the world and teach all nations…” (Mathew 28:19). Some pastors and lay people seem to act like Sunday School is the Bible and the only method to reach people with the gospel. Sunday School started only a few hundred years ago to teach children to read and write and to present to them the gospel. Non-Christians are usually not awake on Sunday mornings but they are awake in the evenings and if we change our time for Christian education to the evenings, people will attend. Boys and girls clubs during the week have a greater potential to present the gospel to children.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2011

About the Author: Aldwin Ragoonath, Ph.D., is a trained homiletician with over twenty years of pastoral experience in the Caribbean and Canada. His ministry is devoted to helping pastors develop their preaching gift, teaching Pentecostal preaching courses and facilitating seminars around the world. He and his wife make their home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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