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Whole Church Gets Behind Unsaved Te Puke Mum!

11 November 2011 4 Comments

Greetings everyone, I am Iain Dickson, Minister at Te Puke Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. My photo is below.

This afternoon I was prompted by the Lord to head to a different street in Te Puke and go door to door doing evangelism.  The Holy Spirit inspired me to do this after attending a Church DNA change conference a few months ago.   At that point in my ministry, I had become frustrated just discipling existing Christians. I wanted to get out of my office and personally reach the lost with the gospel.

I took my evangelism tools, and with survey in hand, I knocked on my first door, asking the first of 10 questions, ‘do you think the church is relevant today or not’.

After a 1/2 dozen encounters I a young Maori woman by the name of Eleanor came to the door.

She would be in her early 20s. She asked what church I belonged to, and I responded by telling her I belonged to the Presbyterian church.

She gave me a huge smile and said, “my daughter Jayleigh goes to your church’s youth group”.

Eleanor shared with me how she wasn’t a Christian, but has encouraged her daughter to go along. She told me she had just given birth to a 6 week premature baby, and came out of hospital two weeks ago.

I asked if she had any needs we as a church could help her with and she responded by saying she has been to all the Opp shops in town, but is having a hard job finding baby clothes for a small prem baby.

She could buy them, but they are so expensive. I said to her that I would flick an email around the church to see if anyone had anything, and I gave her a gospel tract to read as I left.

I titled the email, “An opportunity to show our Christian love.” And asked if anyone had any ‘small’ baby clothes they could pass on.Maybe even food for a food basket?

The next day, several people came into church to drop off baby clothes, nappies, a supermarket voucher and groceries.

When I turned up with the food and clothes, Eleanor had just pulled up in the driveway with her daughter Jeyleigh, who was really surprised to see me there.

The baby clothes etc were so unexpected and she was really ‘blown away’ that people would do this for her.

You could sense this was a ‘God moment’ and her heart was softening to Him.

Reflecting back, I now understand that this is the ‘watering the seed of the gospel’ stage, that was planted a few days ago.

The pleasure for me came when I said goodbye to Jeyleigh, and I could see the gratitude all over her face, so thrilled that we took the time to bless them.

The interesting thing about all this is that  Jeyleigh, who has been coming along to the Genesis youth group for over a year now, and has recently been attending church on Sunday morning.

10 days ago, in her Sunday school class, Jayleigh was praying for her mum’s salvation. So God is answering her prayers in an awesome way.

Blessings,

Iain Dixon, Presbyterian Minister, Te Puke, New Zealand.

What are the lessons here?

(1) Iain got out of his church office and went to the lost. This is simple obedience to the command of Jesus to ‘to into all the world and proclaim the gospel’ (Mark 16:15).  Pastors, it’s hard to start a new habit.  But the rewards are worth it. Your life and ministry will never be the same again. Ask Iain. He’s living proof.

(2) Notice it was after half a dozen encounters that Iain met Eleanor.  Iain didn’t say what the first five were like but obviously the sixth one was the most memorable because of the connection with Jeyleigh.  Maybe the first five houses he went to, no one was home. But Iain kept going. He is committed to his town.  It’s his Jerusalem (Acts 1:8).  Many of us will preach and pray about going to the lost in our towns, but will not actually go. 1 Samuel 15:22 says ‘Obedience is better than sacrifice.’ If all our activities and programs at church(our sacrifices) don’t end in going to the lost with the gospel, then really, what’s the point?

(3) Drawing a non-Christian to Christ is a six step process. Iain planted the seed of the gospel with Eleanor.  But watering that seed occurred in two ways. First, the church got behind Eleanor in a practical way. How awesome is that!  What an opportunity to pour love on someone! But here’s the point – this “love opportunity” would have been missed if Iain had not gone looking for it!  At the most fundamental level, CHRISTIANITY IS A SEEKING AND SAVING RELIGION. As long as we are grid locked in our churches, preoccupied with Church activity, we are not being faithful to the most basic tenet of our faith. Don’t pray for opportunities. Rather, create them!

(4) Iain was leading from the front. He wasn’t exhorting his congregation to go to the lost without going himself. This is true leadership.  Nobel Prize winner (1952) Albert Schweitzer said ‘.  “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”

(5) The heart of most Christians are filled with love.  Given the opportunity, they love to love. Through Iain’s initiative and leadership, he not only inspired his congregation into evangelism, but he opened the way for them to love someone in a practical way.

(6)When the seed of the gospel is planted by a Christian (for this is what Evangelism is), the ideal is to have someone water it with kindness and love. This is the New Testament pattern.

(7) God uses children to reach their parents. Jeyleigh was praying for her Mum.  God in his wisdom has planted a missionary inside Eleanor’s home – it’s her own daughter! How often we hear of parents coming to faith through their children.

(8) God is sovereign.  Iain had no idea when he went out door knocking that he was going to be the answer to a daughter’s prayer. There is a huge lesson here. We often pray for the lost in our towns and cities but WE COULD BE THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS (AND THE PRAYERS OF OTHERS) BY GOING INTO THE WORLD AND TAKING ACTION. How God must loathe our prayers for Him to do something which we ourselves could easily do.  It was Spurgeon who said ‘Action without prayer is presumption, but prayer without action is hypocrisy!’

(9) Survey’s are a great way to break the ice with the people in our towns, especially when the surveyors sincerely want to gather information about their neighbourhood. God works through survey’s to open spiritual conversations and with people, and to share the gospel.

(10) Without love, we are nothing. It was the love of God which drove Iain out to the lost. It was the love of God which caused the church to provide in a practical way.  It was the love of God which caused a daughter to pray for her mother.

(11) One of the greatest myths to enter the church about evangelism is this – that it is impossible to give the gospel to someone unless we have developed prior relationship with them.  The flaws in this argument are too numerous to mention here. Suffice to say, Iain did not have ‘relationship’ with Eleanor when he shared the gospel with her.  Peter did not have relationship with everyone in the crowd when he preached his famous pentecost sermon, yet thousands were saved.  Church, don’t believe this lie.  It’s often a smokescreen for the afraid and timid to avoid going to the lost with the gospel.  If only the timid and afraid knew about the ways we have found which will help them reach the lost with the gospel! Iain is an introvert. He is living proof.

 

 

 

 

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  • Chris Tutauha says:

    Hi Iain,

    Bless you man. By going yourself you opened up opportunities for your people to love on others. That is awesome!
    I like to look at things this way. We can either “Go and Tell” “Stay and Do” or both. You accomplished both and through the love of your people God gave the increase!
    This story touched me because:
    1. I’m a maori ministering in Perth
    2. My daughter just recently gave birth to my 6th grandchild also a pre-mature baby named Elijah – My God He is the Lord.
    3. The church rallied to provide him with “little” clothes.
    4. My daughter recently came back to the Lord.
    5. I live my life based upon speaking to those in the community because I have been doorknocking for over 20 years both in NZ and Australia – selling various products and lots of opportunities to reach out to the needs of the community.
    6. The church where we serve today has a new Senior Pastor who leads by example and that is the most powerful way of training disciples to reach out to others.

    God is such a good God isn’t he.

    Is it possible to get a copy of those 10 questions because I want material to train people in our church to Go and Tell … Or more so … Come and See.

    Blessings
    Chris

  • admin says:

    Chris…this is awesome! What you have to say here is so powerful my brother! Let’s connect!

  • desmond murphy says:

    hey this years not being good 2 me at all iv lost 2 jobs thaks 2 my mates y i lost my jobs i cant get a benefit i lost my car iv got no way 2 get any wear i stay in maketu i dont no what 2 do if any can halp me pleas txts me on 0223614764 im over my life

  • Julian Batchelor says:

    What church do you go to?

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