Thanks for visiting our website! The photo this month was taken during a seminar in Santiago de Chile, November 2016. [Click picture to enlarge.]
Ministry has always been a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 47+ years! In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papa. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by so many people around the world!
This is my last appointment on the 2016 Calendar. As usual, I am spending the holiday season in late November and early December working on materials, writing and recording.
The 2017 Calendar of ministry and mission activities is now available. I hope you can attend an event when I am in your area. Contact me for details or to inquire about a possible visit.
For 20+ years I preached for two churches. (I never wanted to be "the minister," I was preacher and evangelist.) God blessed those efforts with hundreds of baptisms. The churches grew-one tripled and the other doubled. During those years, I taught evangelism seminars in several other churches. Where the local churches shared the gospel, souls were baptized and the churches grew. In the university, I taught a Personal Evangelism class. The first semester the course was offered the students in the class baptized nine persons. I ministered with a church between my university tenures-we had 34 baptisms in 21 months. The church grew in attendance and in spirit. I know from experience that the church can grow when the gospel is shared.
Now I spend a lot of time in Latin America. I work with lots of churches at different stages of development.
The common thread that runs through these stories is this: when the gospel is shared, the church grows! One thing that worries me about the U.S. church and its leaders is that I see less and less focus on the gospel message. I see less and less emphasis on salvation. The church does lots of good things, but many of the programs, sermons, classes, and small groups have little to do with evangelism. Too many mission efforts are not bringing people to Christ in large numbers and few seem to notice or care. Not many mission reports mention the number of baptisms and the growth of the local churches. Some mission works have been supported for years and have not yet developed a healthy, mature local congregation. Why?
The lack of evangelistic focus in many U.S. churches may simply be the church reflecting our current culture. Perhaps the church will eventually find new footholds and will begin to evangelize again. For the present, I share a concern that Tim Archer recently wrote about: "I know many church leaders who aren't really concerned about helping people hear about Jesus. Let's clothe them, feed them, provide housing, and send them on their way. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but if we look closely, we have to admit that many church leaders are uncomfortable with the idea that non-believers need salvation."
I too know too many preachers who do not have an evangelistic Bible study going on right now. I know too many elders who are not actively sharing the gospel. I know too many benevolent programs that help with physical needs but do not aggressively seek to help with the greatest need.
The church grows when the gospel is shared! I suggest we pray about it, beginning in our own lives.
Note: This article can also be accessed and downloaded at: The Church Grows When It Shares the Message