Sow the Seeds, See the Harvest
After teaching my SS class at FBC Pelham yesterday, Peg and I hurried across town and attended worship services at Westmont Baptist Church. That's the one Pastored by C.B. Scott. We spent the afternoon visiting in CB & Karen's home, and then went back for the evening services.
It was as memorable a day as I can recall. And not just for the fellowship with the Scotts.
The bulletin, shown in the picture, hints at the reasons for the wonderful nature of the day. First, if you look just under the church name, you'll see hashmarks. I put them there, my way of counting the number of people who were baptized yesterday morning. When I saw how many were coming through the waters, I turned around and asked Karen how long it'd been since they'd baptized folks there, anyway. She said "three weeks".
But that's not the part that really gets me. It's that these folks weren't saved as a result of some "soul-winning program", nor of some evangelistic outreach on the part of the church, nor even of inviting folks to come to Sunday School and then stay for the sermon. CB had simply gone to a nearby halfway house, of sorts, and asked them if they had a bible study there. They told him no, but they'd be OK with his starting one. So he did, and goes there every week to lead it.
Now, there was no confrontational witnessing. Just a study of God's word, and an exposition of the promises of God. And, he didn't give any sort of challenge to immediate commitment (like a mini-"church invitation"), but simply named a couple of people there that they could talk to if they felt a need to.
The results speak for themselves. And, it's worth noting, these were the "purest" form of Baptisms you'll ever see. They weren't Baptized into membership in Westmont .. they were Baptized into a far greater fellowship than that.
Last evening, the church service was led by a local branch of Teen Challenge. CB knew of the center, and went and asked them if they'd like to have a Bible Study there at the 12-month-resident facility.They gladly accepted his offer, and again, he simply goes there every week and teaches the Bible. Not your typical outreach designed to bring people in to "the church".
There were 29 resident participants ... and leaders, who were also ex-participants ... there last evening, several of whom gave testimonies and sang. And they also performed several "human videos". Now, we do those things at FBC Pelham, but our church is mostly people saved in the conventional manner, where we've had to educate members as to the seriousness of their pre-conversion sin. And, I fear, there may never be a real gut-level appreciation of the awful nature of the sin of those leading "the good life" before conversion. But I'm here to tell you that those Teen Challenge folks are under no such limitation, in their faith. As Teen Challenge is designed to provide a faith-based treatment for those caught up in the drug problem, their residents KNOW what they've been saved from.
All I can say is WOW. Isn't it ironic that I drive across Birmingham to see the manifest power of God, displayed in a manner where nobody has to point out the magnitude of what God has done in these lives. In an old church, in a somewhat distressed and transitioning area, of the sort which lots of people are spending a lot of time and ink trying to tell them how to make their church count for Christ.
And their testimonies and human videos were moving, very very much so, not only for those watching, but for those sharing and involved in the videos, themselves!
It's been awhile since I've been so blessed as I was yesterday.
Eat your heart out, Moses. All you got to do was part the Red Sea and lead a few million people around the desert for 40 years, seeing them fed, etc. I got to see a lot more than that, yesterday.
P.S.: Westmont is the church at which I'm leading the "Serving God - Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts" Course on Sunday nights for next 2 months. For probably as many folks as we've had total, all the times I've taught it at FBC over the years. What a wonderful bunch of involved, interested, self-sacrificing people.