The meeting is now over and in some ways it can certainly be measured as successful.  Sunday morning we had 14 visitors (counting Mack and Sharon).  While several of our visitors were from out of town, it is still impressive to look out into the crowd that morning and see few empty seats.  In fact, I think the front rows were the only pews empty.  It would be great to see more of this in the months and years to come.  In all, we had 28 visitors over the course of the meeting.  This does not include those that came multiple times (I only counted them the 1st time they came.  Of these half came from our own communities.  This again is wonderful to see.  This means that you were actively inviting others to the meeting.  I again thank you for your efforts leading up to this gospel meeting.  But, now that the meeting is over what do we need to be doing?
Follow Up.  For those who had friends and family come to the meeting you need to be contacting them in the days to follow.  By their attending, they have already shown that they are indeed interesting in spiritual things.  If they were, they never would have taken time out of the week to be here.  What are some things you can do to “follow up” with them.  First, be certain you right down not only what night it was that they attended.  I also want you to be certain that you take good notes of what was preached that night (or day if it was Sunday morning).  Next, you need to be prepared to answer any questions about that lesson, AND how we might conduct ourselves when we worship.  (Like why we don’t use musical instruments).  Next, just ask them if there were any questions, thoughts, concerns, etc about what they heard or say at services when they were there.  Be sure to answer any questions you can with a book chapter and verse.  If you are uncertain of what the right answer is response is, admit it.  It is better to explain that you don’t have all the answers, then to give the wrong answer and have to correct yourself later.  (After all, if you have taught them incorrectly before who is to say that you will teach them correctly the next time).  Then, make sure you keep an open dialogue with them concerning spiritual things.  This does not mean that every conversation with this person needs to be spiritual in nature.  It does, however, mean that spiritual things ought to come up frequently in your discussions.  Finally, I would encourage you to invite them to study the scriptures with you.  If you are concerned that you do not know enough of the bible to accurately teach someone the truth use the tools that are readily available to you; tools such as workbooks, readily available through various brotherhood bookstores, a good friend you know is capable of doing so, and even your local preacher (I know that he is more than willing to help).
Keep It Up.  It is wonderful to see so many visitors during the course of the gospel meeting.  It amaze me that in a single year of meetings we can easily have more than 50 visitors, many of which are from the community.  Even in a slow meeting we have had more than 20 visitors.  This work shows that inviting is something you can do.  This shows that coming is something your friends and family want to do.  I encourage you to keep this up in the weeks and months to come.  Do not just invite them to come to gospel meetings.  Invite them to attend worship services.  Invite them to attend the home bible study that meets monthly at the Key’s home (see Upcoming Dates at the bottom of the page).  Encourage them to come to studies in your own home.  Study as a family (your and theirs).  Whatever you do.  Keep it up.  Races are rarely run by the one that can get off the line the quickest.  They are won by the one that can run the fastest for the longest duration.  Likewise, we need to realize that winning souls for the Lord is not about what we can do one or two weeks a year, but about what we can do in between the meetings.
Suit Up.  This has become a common phrase in our culture today.  It has become synonymous with the biblical idea of girding up one’s loins.  In other words, be prepared to work.  We have just had a slew of visitors come through these doors.  Not everyone that came was necessarily someone you knew personally.  Do not think that absolves you of any responsibility to contact these visitors.  Be prepared to contact them too.  Send a card, make a phone call.  Find someone to let them know that you appreciated their attendance.  But we also need to be prepared for the work that comes with evangelistic efforts made by others.  When new converts come, (and they will in a working church) we need those that are willing to further study with and encourage them.  If and when the class rooms begin to grow as those new converts bring their children/grandchildren with them we are going to need teachers to teach these kids (we are already running low on them).  Get ready to work brethren.  There is and will be plenty to do.

Grinnell church of Christ
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Now That the Meeting is Over

The Light
Volume 3 Issue 45   October 14, 2012