Dear brothers and sisters,
Over the last 2 years, as the Lord has been transforming the church, some have questioned why we have pulled back somewhat from doing more active outreach as a church. Surely a church ought always to be actively involved in evangelism?
I came across this article from a church plant in Canterbury, Sydney which I found helpful in addressing this:
"…pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ. (Colossians 4:3) This request jumped out at me as I read Colossians this morning. What a strange prayer point! Why does Paul need an ‘open door’ before he can proclaim the gospel? Can’t he just tell everyone around him? He’s in prison, but can’t his mates letterbox-drop the city (probably Ephesus)? Are they really sitting there, waiting for the right occasion to evangelise, instead of getting to it? Isn’t it always the right time to share the gospel? Why can’t Paul open the door himself, and get on with it? Well, apparently it’s not that simple. It seems Paul and co. are there, not just waiting but praying and working, for the right occasion to speak the gospel in the city. It seems the letter-box dropping approach was not their modus operandi. Not every occasion was the right occasion for gospel proclamation. Paul doesn’t feel satisfied with just chatting to the gaol-keeper, trying to ‘bring the conversation around’. Paul is praying, and asking the Colossians to pray, for an opening – a God-given opportunity to get a real hearing from people in that city. I did a little research. Turns out that’s what Paul was always looking for (check out 1 and 2 Corinthians): an open door. You’d think he’d be praying that God would give him an open door out of prison, so he could get on with the mission. But an open prison door alone will not enable Paul to preach. It’s not the main issue here. His chains are not his biggest limitation. This other sort of closed door is the real problem. And Paul can’t open this door himself – only God can. Only God’s Spirit can create the opportunity Paul needs to declare Christ. Only through prayer will the space be made for the gospel to get a hearing in Ephesus. This is clearly a significant part of Paul’s mission strategy: looking for the God-given opening. "
I believe in our context, before that door could be opened for gospel proclamation to the lost, the Lord had to deal with us as a church. We had to be made ready to welcome and nurture the new converts as they come in. I am increasingly convinced that we are getting very close to that point when the Spirit will open the door for gospel proclamation. And the harvest will be far greater now the church has been transformed and made ready.
Let's maintain our expectation of very great things and be earnest in prayer for this door to open and a great harvest to come in.
God bless you, Ben