GOD’S CITY: MY CITY Reflection
Atuanya Cheatham DuBreuil
Thonotosassa SDA Church chose to take in the God’s City: My City evangelistic plan by breaking up the 6 small group lessons into prayer meeting discussions on Wednesday evenings and sermon themes for Sabbath morning services. The 40-days of prayer “devotionals” were done individually and/or with a prayer partner. A little under a week before completing the 40-days of prayer, our first evangelistic series of the year was under way, “David & Goliath: GIANTS Fall.”
While I was blessed by the book, and I was definitely blessed by the evangelistic series that followed, I believe that this was a good introduction and a call to a greater and deeper understanding and experience of true evangelism on both a personal and a corporate level. We need to do this again . . . but go deeper, be more thorough, and aim higher.
First, we should invite people to form their own (organic/affinity) small groups to meet, pray, and study and discuss the lessons for at least a full hour once a week in a way that works well for them. We could also set aside at least 1 adult Sabbath School class (or even a youth class) for that purpose for those who don’t have a natural affinity group to join up with. Assigning groups puts everyone in a group on paper, but establishing effective group dynamics can sometimes distract from the primary purpose of really getting into the lessons and the evangelistic mission at hand.
In those small groups, prayer is key, but really taking the time to discuss practical applications of the lessons in the lives of the group members is important, as well. Engaging the city, inviting the city, serving the city, etc. looks different for a working mom, or a retired couple, or a high school student, or a military officer. But in addition to brainstorming practical applications, the group can a) plan whole group strategies that they are going to execute together, and/or b) hold one another accountable for individual action plans they have committed to carrying out.
Second, while evangelistic meetings can be effective ways to plant, cultivate, or reap a harvest of souls, we should consider offering those messages in a variety of formats. Today, via the internet and Wi-Fi connections, people can access whatever they want, whenever and wherever; attending a 12-night series during the workweek at a church, especially if they are un-churched, may be asking too much from someone who may not even be entirely interested or committed to addressing their spiritual existence. However, if we can offer a live and archived video stream online of the series, as well as make DVDs available for members to share with others, we can bring the evangelistic series to our un-churched friends, family members, and co-workers on their terms and in a possibly less-intimidating or inconvenient location than a church.
Finally, we all love stories about Pentecost or missionaries in foreign lands where hundreds and thousands are baptized in a day. They are inspiring, impressive, and occasionally a sore reproach against our own spiritual deficiency, it would seem. However, these are all reaping stories; who knows how much labor was expended prior to this time in planting and cultivating and nurturing and praying and pleading and building relationships, etc. And this is not to say that we should not expect “great things” from God; we should!!!! However, as we study, pray, plan, and execute those plans at God’s leading, we should always remember that God has called us to obedience and faithfulness; He brings about the growth and the harvest. If we faithfully and diligently do our part, He will take care of the numbers. J