The year-end gospel meeting is around the corner, and preparations are being made for this important event to happen. The gospel meeting is a yearly affair for our congregation, and it is one of our congregation’s major events. Even during the Covid pandemic, when we could not congregate physically, we continued to organize our gospel meetings online. Why do we organize gospel meetings every year?
Gospel meetings and Evangelism
The primary mission of the church (and of every Christian) is to save souls (Matthew 28:19-20). The only way for souls to be saved is by the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:13-15). The work of evangelism can be performed in a myriad of ways:
Inviting friends to Sunday services
Setting up personal bible studies
Distributing tracts and flyers
Discussing spiritual issues in our daily conversation
Sharing gospel material online
Organizing gospel meetings
Based on statistics alone, gospel meetings may not seem to be the most effective method of evangelism. If we were to just examine the past gospel meetings in our own congregation, we would notice that only few people are baptized during such meetings. Nevertheless, there are important reasons to continue organizing gospel meetings:
Impact of big scale event. Different people respond well to different methods (Jude 22-23). Some are receptive when we extend to them a personal touch. Some may be attracted by “special events,” and are curious to sit in and listen. Hence, do not underestimate the impact of the gospel meeting.
Impact of visiting preachers. Jesus Himself had difficulty preaching to His hometown, but had greater success elsewhere (Mark 6:4). Perhaps some would be more receptive to hearing preachers who are not home-grown. It is nice to hear a fresh perspective sometimes (as long as it’s still based on God’s word).
Impact on Christians. The gospel meeting is not only for the benefit of unbelievers, but also for Christians. It is always good to be reminded of the fundamentals of the gospel. This helps to build up our faith, we learn fresh perspectives, and we equip ourselves to talk to our friends (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 5:12-14)
Impact that lingers. The impact of a gospel meeting is not just to be measured by the number of baptisms during the event. Sometimes, the effects can only be seen later. The seed may be planted during the event, but the fruit is seen later (John 4:37). A soul may listen to the gospel during the meeting, and then make the important decision only later on. Do not write off the gospel meeting so quickly!
Gospel meetings and Me
The organizing team of the gospel meeting is making much preparations for the event to happen. However, the success of gospel meetings will depend on the effort of every Christian. What can we do to contribute towards the success of this event?
Have a target. Nothing happens when there is no target. How many friends do you want to invite this year? Make a target, and work towards it!
Prepare a list. Who do you want to invite to the gospel meeting? Do not leave the list hanging in the air. Write down their names, and plan how are you going to approach each of them.
Know your friends. Your friend will not attend if he is not interested. However, perhaps there is something specific about the topic that may interest him. Hence, take a look at the gospel meeting topics. Think about your past conversations with your friend. You may just have an opportunity to interest him to attend.
Be ready with the flyers. Sometimes the opportunity to invite someone may come unexpectedly. Hence, be ready with the flyers. Keep a few copies of the flyers in your bag. Save the soft-copy flyer on your phone, so that you are ready to send it out anytime, anywhere!
Work with the preachers/members. If a friend has confirmed his attendance, you can make preparations for his arrival. Inform the preachers ahead. Ushers can keep a lookout for him. Visitor packages can be made ready. Seats can be reserved. Perhaps we can connect him with a member of similar interest, so they have shared topics to talk about. These little things can go a long way to make your friend feel welcome.
Make plans to attend. Your friend probably would not attend the gospel meeting by himself. Your presence will make the difference. Tell your friend that you are going, and invite him to accompany you. Even if your friends do not turn up, your presence will encourage everyone else at the event.
20 years ago, I attended a gospel meeting where a visiting preacher from the USA was speaking. Through his preaching, the gospel message pricked my heart. This led to my own baptism a month later. I am thankful for gospel meetings. I pray for this year’s meeting to be a success, and may the good news be preached forth for God’s glory!