‘Makers of disciples’: Group forming to promote evangelism locally

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GREENFIELD — When Rich Bailey thinks about evangelism, he remembers a quote from 1800s pastor and writer Charles Spurgeon: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell … with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them … let not one go unwarned or unprayed for.”

Yet Bailey said he doesn’t see that sense of urgency among many professing Christians today. “I don’t see that happening,” he said.

Bailey, pastor of Curry’s Chapel Church, is hoping if people from various churches come together with a focus on rekindling that felt burden for others, there will grow to be more people actively growing in and sharing their Christian faith.

He’s invited local church leaders and laypeople to a meeting in March to talk about working together to that effect. He’s hoping as people come together, in a group to be known as Greater Greenfield Body Builders, they’ll be able to help people see the opportunities in their day-to-day life for engaging others in spiritual conversations. He’s also hoping that a network of people from different congregations can help people who haven’t found a church find a place to worship that’s a good fit — one that has a good children’s ministry if the family has children, for example, or one with a recovery ministry if someone’s struggling with addiction.

“We’re interested in building the Kingdom (of God), not our church,” he said.

Bailey talked to fellow ministers at the Greater Greenfield Ministerial Association this week and invited them and their congregations to the Body Builders meeting.

Bishop Alexander Wortham of Kingdom Word Outreach Ministries in Greenfield said he thinks it will have value for people of different churches to come together around evangelism.

“I think it’s great,” said Wortham, whose church began meeting in the Garden Chapel wedding chapel at 226 W. North St. in January.

“One thing I’ve learned with different denominations … (is) everybody does things differently. .. It brings a different pattern to making a warm quilt. The quilt is warm, it’s beautiful, but sometimes it does take a different pattern” to bring it all together, he said.

Wortham is writing his master’s thesis about evangelism and notes how it’s changed in some ways over the years.

“We went from, years ago, knocking on doors, handing out tracts,” he said, referring to the leaflets that share a Gospel message. “Once the pandemic hit, it shifted the focus.”

He said evangelism today is often community-driven.

“People nowadays, they need resources,” he said. “They need jobs, they need food, they need information about childcare. …

“Once the community knows that the church cares, then you’re able to draw the people in to know Christ.”

Steve Ellis, a retired pastor, said sometimes churches get focues on their buildings and programming at the expense of reaching out to people. He will speak during part of the March meeting about reasons mentioned in the Bible for doing evangelism.

“We’re told in the Bible that we’re to be makers of disciples,” Ellis said. “There’s something out there that (people) are missing … I think people need to know there’s something out there that’s better.”

Also, he said, there are people who identify as Christians but don’t usually go to church. “That’s like saying, ‘I believe in Jesus, but I don’t want anything to do with His Body.’”

Bailey said after the initial meeting, there will be another meeting set with a focus on being a leader in one’s church, and a third about being emotionally healthy as a leader.

“I see this as a way of reaching out to the community … (to) bring a spiritual revival into the community,” he said.

He said he realizes some people may feel apprehensive about starting spiritual conversations with others, but he hopes the sessions will be helpful and motivating.

“The revivals that I’ve seen and heard of and read about that have been most impactful were not ones that were planned,” he said, but instead started “with a small group of people saying, ‘I’ve got to do what the Lord wants me to to.’”

He said when people who aren’t necessarily pastors or elders or in high levels of leadership realize they can share their faith, when they “speak out about their experience and talk about their faith, that’s when growth really happens.”

GREATER GREENFIELD BODY BUILDERS

The inaugural meeting is at 9 a.m. to noon March 11 at Curry’s Chapel Church, 3488 N. County Road 375E, Greenfield. Refreshments will be served. Individuals and/or pastors wishing to participate are welcome. Churches wishing to participate are encouraged to contact Rich Bailey at 317-496-4901 or email him at [email protected]