The excitement is building as we consider the upcoming WordAlone Network Convention with its emphasis on evangelism, starting on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and continuing all day on Monday at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minn.
Many have been barely hanging on--like three people I've met: (1) A man whose mother committed suicide when he was a teenager. He told me, "If my mother's in hell, I want to go there. She's the only person who ever loved me." (2) An 18-year-old man (facing three charges including underage drinking, driving under the influence and assault) relates having been in a church only once in his life--for a wedding. He sees no future. (3) A young college co-ed who, two weeks after an abortion, attempted suicide to handle her guilt. Now she also feels guilty about the suicide attempt.
These people needed to hear a word about a Savior who forgives those who repent--and then offers them a totally new beginning. Are they going to hear this message from us?
From varying sources, I've recently encountered these telling statistics:
1) Less than 3 percent of "Christians" relate ever talking to others about Jesus. 2) Forty percent of "Christians" sense no obligation about sharing their awareness of Jesus with others. 3) But 94 percent of people are open to others' asking them about their faith--or lack of it.
What a mission field exists out there! Those of us who know Jesus as Lord realize that we are really in "the same boat" as these people--just with varying circumstances. The difference is that we know and are thankful for a great and gracious Savior--because others told us of Him. So, we, too, must be willing to pass the great news of Jesus on to everyone--whether they're part of one of the minority groups mentioned above or not! And it's good to know that a strong majority of people are open to hearing of such things!
My late father, a Lutheran pastor, often repeated the directive given to him and the other graduating seminarians by Dr. J. A. Aasgaard, president of the old Evangelical Lutheran Church, when he said, "There are millions of people living close to churches you will be serving. They need a Savior just like you and I do. Go out and reach them for Jesus!"
The subject is Jesus--who He is, what He taught and what He did for all of us. For those of us involved with WordAlone, Sola Publishing, the Institute of Lutheran Theology and ReClaim Resources, the subject is Jesus--and Him alone! What a treasure we have to pass along to others.
One cannot drive a car indefinitely without refueling. Similarly, our lives need refueling. Come to the upcoming annual meeting of WordAlone and have a "fill 'er up" experience!