Over the last 5 years I have issued a challenge for this congregation to go out and invite people to our Gospel Meetings. This yearís gospel meetings have been no exception to the work that I have seen from the saints here in Grinnell. I watched us fill the building quite regularly in my time here. Every preacher that comes has nothing but great things to say about his time here with the saints. Of course, the local preacher already knew that. He sees every time we gather together a group of people who are warm, inviting, loving, and desirous of good works. I wanted to share with you some thoughts I have had now that our Gospel Meetings for 2014 are now in the books.
Between the two Gospel Meetings we had 47 visitors. Of these 47 many of them came multiple nights of the meeting. Some came every night of the meeting. While that certainly is a testimony to those persons, it is also a testimony to your willingness to invite others and your willingness to provide an environment that is enjoyable to be a part of. I donít know if you realize how amazing that number really is. In all my years as a preacher, I could take the number of visitors in all the other churches, not just during meetings, but total number of visitors in 7 years of preaching, and I wouldnít total 47 visitors. Let alone do it in two weeks. Every visiting preacher we have had marvel at this. They have held meetings at churches twice our size that wonít have that many visitors during the gospel meeting. Keep up the good work.
We have had three baptisms and one restoration immediately following our gospel meetings this year. While it would be something special to see nearly 3000 people obey the gospel after one sermon, there is still much rejoicing in heaven over every lost soul that is saved. Within a month following Mike Divisí gospel meeting two of our young ladies put on Christ in baptism. The good work their mothers (and fathers) have been doing in raising their children is evident. They were here at every sermon preached that week, and I imagine that a profound impact upon their decision. The week following the meeting, we had a sister who was lost seek to restore her faith towards God and then the last Sunday the Lord added another sister to our family. (Praise be to God!) This doesnít even include the other baptism we had during the summer. God has been good to us this year. But, I donít want us to forget why. He has been good to us because we have been planting and watering (I Cor. 3:7). Keep sowing and watering my friends. God is doing a marvelous work here in Grinnell. Let us not grow complacent, but keep working so that he might be glorified in all things!
We are adding pounds to our preachers. As a person that just lost as much as I have, I know that sounds bad. But, it isnít. You have been showing hospitality to the preachers who have come here and labored among us. Brother Weliever joked that this meeting was a 10 pounder. There was not a meal that he wasnít provided for the entire week. Hotel Strovers and Hotel Fox did a wonderful job opening up their homes this year to our visiting preachers. And each of you that fed the preacher either in your home or by taking them out to eat ensured that he would not be in want. You may not think that is a big deal, but it is. I recall one gospel meeting about 8 years ago where no one hosted the preacher. He stayed in his RV on a camp ground site (by his choice, he loved camping). But, no one invited this preacher into his home. Dawn and I fed him every day, until he refused to be a burden upon us. It broke my heart that we would invite someone to labor among us and then refuse to take care of him. Even brother Weliever noted that he had been to placed where the meal sign up sheet was empty. I personally know that there have been times that Dawn and I were forced to move our day and time to accommodate another here because everyone was fighting over the same days. How amazing is that! Your desire to be hospitable makes it so that it is hard for everyone to get in on it. Keep up the good work. Others are noticing.
I guess what I am trying to say is donít stop. The culture that you are creating here is a godly one. This is the type of culture that become infectious. This is the type of culture that ends up impacting us on a profound level. It was so uplifting to here a serious of lessons about growing in intimacy with God. It was uplifting because this church is well on its way. God has clearly been working on you and in you. Your zeal has been contagious to me. And I pray that you donít sit back and say, ďjob well done.Ē We have more work to do. We have more souls to save. We have more love to give.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Now That the Meeting is Over
Volume 5 Issue 44