People familiar with Refuge Community Church know that we are passionate about fulfilling the gospel by caring for people as we’re told to do in James. So we focus a WHOLE LOT on meeting the practical needs of the homeless and poor in our community. But lest we forget, there is even more to the gospel. If a person’s last words are any indicator of what’s most important to them, we need to recall Jesus’ last words before His ascension. He told those who would follow Him to “go into the world and preach”.
Churches generally fall onto one side of this coin. They either focus mainly on meeting practical needs or they focus mainly on “preaching” the good news. However, we can’t forget that the gospel is a two-pronged fork. We cannot do one, while neglecting the other. As much as we may be able to pat ourselves on the back for meeting practical needs, how much can we pat ourselves on the back for preaching the gospel to those same people? Ask yourself; how many people have you personally led to Jesus Christ this past year? Yes you do this with your actions, but have you also used your words? I believe it’s really important not to use the fact that you help the poor and homeless as a convenient excuse for not sharing the words of the Savior with people. Simply put, we must do both. The Bible asks an important rhetorical question: How will they hear unless one is sent? Rhetorical right?… They won’t. Look, I’m the first to admit that I sometimes struggle to share the news of grace when I’m one on one with people. But I also admit that I MUST DO THIS if I want to fulfill the whole of the gospel.
It drives me nuts when people ask me if our church is “full gospel”. In other words, they want to know if we’re pentecostal. But being pentecostal is not what it means to be “full gospel”. In my opinion, being “full gospel” means living out the entirety of the gospel not only in deed but in word also. You have to say it and you have to do it. In my mind, pentecostal experience has little to do with whether or not I’m a gospel oriented person. So again I ask, how many people have you spoken with about salvation this year? I find that if I’m just a little bit open about it, people will ask me and I’ll be able to answer with open speak. It’s not really as difficult as I once thought. I’m convinced Refuge is doing the right thing when we meet the needs of the homeless, but I also believe we won’t experience breakout growth until we become a church that brings the gospel message to people. Because after all, that’s how the church grows…not by programs, groovy music, catchy sermons, or great programs. It grows because people find Jesus. If we’re not about that, we may discover that we’re not much more than a para-church organization…not truly “the church”. So I encourage you to pray right now. Pray and ask God to empower you to bring the gospel to people. No, seriously…PRAY NOW. See what happens.