First of all I would like to thank God for His work this morning. I seek your prayers. My deepest desire is that everything I say will be what God wants me to say. I do want to do a good job.But more importantly, I want to make sure that I am bringing glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is because of your prayers that that is possible.Thank you for your prayers. Your words of encouragement. Thank you for coming out again tonight. Let us pray…I have to admit one of the ways God led me into the ministry was to plant in me a deep burden and concern for a younger generation. We live in a very different world today than when I grew up. I just have a deep concern for our younger generation and the challenges they face. That is one avenue God used to lead me into the ministry.It is also what led me to tonight’s scripture and message. We have a great challenge before us as a church. I don’t have the answers tonight. The title of the message is A QUESTION.And I am going to leave us with that question.I hope that it becomes a question that we constantly ask ourselves hear at Bethlehem.This message could really be a series of messages. I have a lot to throw at you tonight. But I promise it want take more than an hour. Let us begin by looking at the scripture…
To Paul, nothing was more important than reaching the lost for Christ. Paul submitted his will and his wants and his desires to Jesus Christ.He put the needs of others above his needs and desires.He made himself a slave to everyone. Why?In order to reach them lost for Christ.“To Win As Many As Possible” for Jesus Christ. Again to Paul, it was not what was he desired, it was all about reaching others for Christ by any means possible that did not compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, Paul knew that he needed to adapt his ministry to his audience. He said for the Jews I became like the Jews.To those under the law I became like one under the law.To those not having the law, he became like one not having the law. Why? So he could reach them for Christ. He knew that the only way to reach someone is to meet them where they are.He knew that he would have to adapt his ministry to their needs. Why? Because for Paul it was all about finding every means possible to reach the lost for Christ. To Paul it wasn’t about what he desired it was about reaching others for Christ. Paul was willing to go to any length to reach a lost world? Let us bring this home tonight to Bethlehem Baptist Church.What is Bethlehem Baptist Church willing to do to reach the lost in this community. The first thing we need to understand is that we live in a very different world than we did just a few years ago. The new world we live in requires us to approach ministry in different ways whether we like it or not. Whether we are comfortable with it or not. Let us take a brief look at the world we live in…
What are willing to do to reach the
What Are We Willing To Do To Reach The Lost for Christ? I Corinthians 9:19-23 Greg Heath May 27, 2012
I Corinthians 9:19—23• 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
I Corinthians 9:19—23• 22 Tothe weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings
What does this passage tell us about Paul and his ministry?• Nothing was more important to Paul than reaching the lost for Christ.• Paul knew that it was necessary for him to adapt his ministry to his audience.• Paul was willing to place the needs of others over his own needs.• Paul demonstrated humility.
Sobering Statistics• 88% of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at age 18. Most never return.• A similar study conducted by Lifeway Research in 2007 reached similar conclusions• The divorce rate among evangelical Christians is roughly the same as the rest of the population.• 2/3 of the members of Southern Baptists churches attend church only sporadically. Source: Southern Baptist Conventions Family Life Council, 2002
Sobering Statistics• The majority of children and teens in America spend less than 10 minutes in “significant and meaningful conversation” with their parents each week.• If you remove time spent with the mother, the number plunges to a few seconds. Source: Southern Baptist Conventions Family Life Council, 2002
Sobering Statistics• 70% of Protestants ages 18-23 who attended church in high school quit by age 23.Among those who stayed in church…• Only 51% viewed the church members as caring.• Only 48% viewed them as welcoming.• Only 42% viewed them as authentic.Source: Lifeway Research, 2007
Other Reasons• According to a 2011 Barna Group study, the #2 reason for teens and young adults leaving church was that their experience at church was shallow.• 24% agreed with the statement that “The Bible is not taught clearly or often enough.”• 23% agreed with the statement that “God seems missing from my experience at church.”Source: The Barna Group of Ventura, California, www.barna.org 2011
“This is sobering news that thechurch needs to change the way it does ministry.”—Ed Stetzer, Director of Lifeway Research
Current Trends• The emergence of new and various forms of worship and bible study are redefining corporate worship.• The growth of “house churches”, “marketplace ministries”, and “cyberchurches” is redefining the meaning of “church participation”.Source: The Barna Group of Ventura, California, www.barna.org 2008
Church Attendance• 56% have attended a conventional church service within the past month.• Nearly 1/4 of all adults have never attended a church of any kind in their entire life.• 15% of adults attend church at least once each year, but not in the last month.• 3% have attended a “house church” but never a conventional church.Source: The Barna Group of Ventura, California, www.barna.org 2008
Conclusions of the 2008 Barna Group Study• The best way convince today’s adults to attend church is if someone they know and trust invites them to attend and accompanies them to church.• They have to have a reason to believe that the church event will address one of the needs they are struggling with.
New Avenues of WorshipDuring the last month…• 15% had either had an experience with God or expressed their faith in God through a faith-oriented website.• 7% had experienced a real-time worship event on the internet.• 13% had an experience with God or had expressed their faith in God through a ministry that met in the marketplace.• Over 1/2 had experience with God through a religious television or radio program.• Only 17% professed to be a “born again” Christian who have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Source: The Barna Group of Ventura, California, www.barna.org 2008
Youth and Technology• 63% of all teens exchange text messages every day with friends, family and parents. (Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2012)• The average teen sends/receives 96 texts each day. (Source: The Nielson Company, 2009)• 1/5 of all 3rd graders have a cell phone.• Teens use their mobile devices to text, make phone calls, access the internet, access social networking sites, take and share pictures, and download, record and share videos.
“Today’s American teens live in a world enveloped by communications technologies; the internet and cell phones have become a central force that fuels the rhythm of daily life.”— Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2007 http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2005/Teens-and-Technology.aspx
What does all this mean?• We should not reach the conclusion that a younger generation is shallow.• Overall, teens and young adults seem to be struggling with how to live a Christian life in a world that is often at odds with what they are taught at church.• They are longing to follow Jesus in way that connects them to the world around them.
What does all this mean?• We have our work cut our for us.• A rapidly changing society and culture means that we are presented with constantly changing challenges on how to reach a new generation for Christ.• The trends in society will have a profound impact on how we chose to reach a new generation for Christ.
What are the Answers?• We are going have to seek God’s guidance for how we are going to meet the ministry challenges that face us in the 21st century.• In order to reach anyone for Christ we need to be able to connect with them.• In order to connect, we need to understand.• We have to have a deep Christ-like love for others, and a passion to reach the lost for Christ.
What are we willing to doto reach the lost for Christ? Is there anything more important?