Gospel Meetings are always an exciting time.  We get a real shot in the arm for our faith during Gospel Meetings.  When we get the opportunity to feed on Godís word each night, when we get the opportunity to be with Godís people each night and when we receive a much needed break from the cares and worries of the world we need to make certain that our opportunity is not wasted.
As a father of four I know that struggles that do come with meetings.  By Friday night you are exhausted.  Your kids are beat, and completely out of sync with their typical schedule.  It takes several days to get back into the normal swing of things.  What then typically happens is that we take a break, relax, and say, ďIíll put all that I have learned to good use once I feel back to normal.Ē  The problem is, once we get back into our normal routine we are too busy to do the work we had set out to do or we are too much back into our old routine that we are comfortable not making the changes we said that we would make,  And the end result is that while the preacher delivered thought provoking, powerful lessons in the truth on some much needed subjects we donít allow the word to do what it was intended to doÖ that is change us.  The end result is that we spent a week with the saints, felt good for a couple of days and now we are back right where we started.  Several years ago I was asked to teach a seminar  on how to evangelize.  The church held an all day Saturday event.  I presented 4 lessons on the subject.  I can recall how fired up people were as a result of the lessons.  I heard them talk about how they couldnít wait to put these lessons to good use.  I was pleased to see them talking among themselves about different ways they can reach out to their neighbors, family members, etc.  In the weeks that followed not one visitor came.  In the months that followed, as the next gospel meeting approached only 2 people wanted to go around and invite people to the meeting in  a door knocking canvassing of the area around the church (and I was one of the two).  Within a year no one was talking about what was learned in that weekend seminar.  Let us not make the same mistake and use the opportunities presented to us at this gospel meeting and permit this church to grow.
The Sunday Afternoon Service.  I was very thankful to see so many of the local saints here supporting the meeting.  While I realize that we were hoping to see more visitors than what we had, to see little drop off from the morning service to the afternoon service is very good.  I especially appreciated those that had little ones there as there day was very full with 2 hours of services, a pot luck, and another worship service in the afternoon.  I also appreciate those that came despite the fact that they had other obligations going on.  I think this is something we ought to continue in going forward.
Visitors from ďLocalĒ Congregations.  As always, we have the opportunity to meet with saints from area congregations.  Of course, Brother Divis is from Iowa.  But we also so brethren from the Madrid church this week.  As there are so few churches in this part of the country I think that it is important that we stay in touch with one another.  I grew up in a semi secluded area.  There were only 2 churches within a 60 mile radius of where I grew up.  Sadly, we didnít see much of each other.  It was a real culture shock to me to see other Christians when I went to college. It was even a bigger culture shock to know that there were about 60 churches in a 60 mile radius of campus.  This culture shock happened because we cut ourselves off.  It seems to me that while the NT churches were certainly autonomous, they were expected to be on an island.  Read Paulís letters.  These saints knew each other.  We need to not only know our fellow brothers and sisters here in Grinnell, but we ought to take time to get to know the saints from these other churches.
Visitors from Grinnell and Surrounding Communities.  We had 11 visitors from our communities.  If someone you invited to services came you really need to be following up with them.  The sooner you do this the better.  In other words, donít wait a couple of weeks before you reach out to these friends, family members, co-workers, etc.  Call them this week (if you havenĎt already).  Ask them what they thought of the lesson.  Ask them if they have any questions.  Encourage them to get together not just for a common meal or a cup of coffee but to sit down and discuss the word.  If you feel uncomfortable leading such a discussion, ask the preacher to come and sit down with you (just be sure you let the other person know).  Remember, if they took the time to come, then they have already expressed an interest in spiritual things.  All you are doing is putting kindle on the fire of interest to keep it going.

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What Do We Do Now That The Meeting is Over

The Light
Volume 5 Issue 18