OceanSide church of Christ
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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A GOSPEL MEETING
Victor M. Eskew
Most congregations within the churches of Christ still have gospel meetings. Some only have one each year. Some have two. Some have meetings that are from Sunday through Friday. Most have meetings that are from Sunday through Wednesday. Still others have gone to a weekend meeting or a Saturday only meeting. Our point is that gospel meetings are still an important part of most church calendars and church budgets.
If the church is going to have a gospel meeting, it needs to get as much out of it as possible. This means that there things that the members MUST DO in order to reap the benefits of the meeting. First, to get the most out of a gospel meeting the members must have a positive attitude about it. Gospel meetings can be met with a negative disposition. There is often a meal to prepare for Sunday. Too, individuals have to sacrifice two or three nights of their week to attend. For some reason, these things bring groans and moans and complaints. These things need to be set aside. Members need to get excited about a gospel meeting. God’s Word is going to be proclaimed. The words of salvation are going to be sent forth. Words that can help us to grow and mature in Christ are going to be taught. This is not a negative experience. It is a positive time. Rather than murmuring and complaining (Phil. 2:14), we need to have a good attitude like David, who said: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1).
Second, to get what we need to get out of a gospel meeting, we need to commit to being at every session. Gospel meetings often have themes. Each lesson is part of the theme. To get the most out of that theme, it is essential to be present for each lesson. Most of us have full power over our schedules. We can arrange and rearrange things as we desire. We do it all of the time for special events in our lives. Training sessions for work, celebrations, sporting events, and family activitiesare worked into our schedules all of the time In like manner, a gospel meeting must be worked into our schedule. It is all about priorities. We do the things we really want to do. Jesus exhorts us to make the kingdom of God and His righteousness the top priority on our list. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Third, when you come to the meeting bring someone with you. This individual may be a Christian. This person might be a non-Christian. Both of them can be benefited by hearing the Word of God proclaimed. Your individual experience has now become a shared experience with the person you bring. Too, you have provided an opportunity for others to be touched by the precious words of the gospel of Christ. These words might convert the lost soul. They could encourage one who is depressed. They might spur one to greater faithfulness in the Lord’s vineyard. We must remember that God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12). God reveals that it serves many purposes in the lives of men and women (Isa. 55:11). We do not need to be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16). Too, we must trust that it can do the wonderful things that God has promised in both our lives and the lives of those we bring to hear it proclaimed.
Fourth, to get the most out of our gospel meeting, we must be resolved to not only hear the truth but make application of the truth in our lives. James writes: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25). God does not force His will upon us. He exhorts us, then allows us to decide whether we will apply it to our lives or not. If we apply the truth to our life, we will find that our lives will be enriched. The Word of God will work within us to make us happier, more productive, and more useful for the Master (See I Thess. 2:13).
Fifth, another way to get the most out of the gospel meeting is by getting to know the preacher who has been invited to conduct the meeting. Most will not take advantage of the opportunity to make the minister a friend. Those who do will be glad they did. To do this, it is best to invite him out to eat. There you can have his undivided attention for a couple of hours. You can find out about his past. You can ask him questions. You can share your thoughts and opinions about various matters with him. You will learn that he is a person just like you. He has his strengths and weaknesses. He has had his share of battles that have been fought. Oftentimes, he can encourage you. He might even be able to answer some questions about the Scriptures that you might have. Just a little time spent with this man can make him your friend for the rest of your life.
Gospel meetings are still very valuable works. Sadly, there are many who do not take advantage of them as they ought. They do not get anything out of them because they do not put very much into them. Since this is Day One of our gospel meeting, commit to getting out of it all that you can. Approach this week with a good attitude. Resolve to be at every session. Bring someone with you a night or two. Apply the things that you have learned to your life. And, try to get to know brother Mosher better over the next few days. If you will do these things, you will be surprised at how beneficial this week can be.