‘All In’ means totally committed. It’s actually a poker term and indicates all the chips are gambled on one hand. There are only two reasons to go ‘all in’. Either you have a great hand or you are desperate. We have both. Jesus left us with a powerful Word and message. That’s a ‘great hand.’ But what pastors and churches are doing doesn’t seem to be working. That’s desperation.
That is the theme of the BBFI Fellowship Week: ‘ALL IN.’ Mark Hoover spoke on the topic, BUY GOLD, Tuesday night at Baptist Bible College for the 2016 Fellowship Week of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. (You can read Mark’s bio below.)
What we’re doing isn’t working. We’ve had a chance to make a difference in America, but we haven’t been totally successful. The culture has been in decline in morality and the church has done little to curb the trajectory. 85-90% of American churches are in decline.
But we’re doing a lot. Churches have programs, and staff, and busy calendars. If what we’re doing isn’t working, it’s obviously not because we aren’t trying. Because we really are.
Time to analyze what we’re doing. If what we’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to rethink what we’re doing. Is it real?
Solomon made 500 gold shields – $30-60 million. Those gold shields were stolen under King Rehoboam. So, he replaced them with bronze shields (1 Kings 14:25-28). He treated the gold like it wasn’t worthwhile, and he lost them. He treated the bronze like gold, and he guarded them.
Something for younger pastors to think about… There’s a reason why some older preachers fight for things that you don’t understand. At one time, it was the independent Baptists were cutting edge. But when the 60s hit, the world went morally crazy. We had to hold tight to our doctrine because they were being threatened. But we equalled our doctrine with our methods. And guarded our methods to the point that we kept doing stuff that wasn’t working anymore.
Draw a crowd and preach the Word. This is really the simple method of reaching our community. John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, DL Moody, WA Criswell, Jerry Fallwell, Billy Graham all used this methodology. Even Jesus did this. And that is what independent Baptists did. But many are either not drawing a crowd or not preaching the Word.
Maybe we’re drawing a crowd, but not telling the truth. Or maybe we’re preaching the Word, but not drawing a crowd. What are we doing to reach our community? Sometimes we build a church culture that becomes a barrier that prevents us from reaching the people we are called to reach. How do you get people saved? Reach the lost.
Sometimes you have a crowd of people and you hear the thoughts not to preach some of the difficult subjects that might not be accepted. So you consider not talking about sexuality, morality, and the exclusivity of Jesus. But then a voice comes into your head from a Roman cross (Jesus) and says, “How dare you… when I have drawn a crowd to your church, and you won’t tell them the truth of life and eternity. TELL THEM!”
Draw a Crowd! Preach the Word! Take no comfort if you draw a crowd and don’t preach the Word. Take no comfort if you preach the Word, but don’t draw a crowd. Either way, the unconverted are unchanged.
In Revelation 2-3, we find 7 churches that Jesus sent a short message. To the Laodicea church, he said his most critical words (Rev. 3:14-18). But they thought they were doing okay. He told them to ‘Buy from me gold.’
Choose your Marketplace. Don’t trade gold for bronze. Buy gold from Jesus. If we draw a crowd but don’t preach the Word, it’s just bronze. If we preach the Word, but don’t draw a crowd, it’s just bronze. But if you go to Jesus for gold, this next move is going to be expensive. Buying is always more expensive than bronze. But if you ‘buy gold’ from Jesus, it will increase in value. Make strategic changes so you can reach your world with the message of Jesus.
When Branch Rickey, was bringing Jackie Robinson into baseball and break the ‘color barrier’, a reporter made the comment, “If you bring him into baseball, all Hell will break loose.” But Rickey responded, “But what if all Heaven breaks loose?” When you make changes to reach your community with the Gospel, all Hell may break loose. But what if all Heaven breaks loose? You can read my post about Branch Rickey: Beyond Baseball.
You can read about other messages/sessions at: ALL IN – 2016 BBFI Fellowship Meeting
You can also read some of my articles about the evangelism: Walk vs. Talk – Balance in Evangelism, 3 Things I Learned about Evangelism from a Time-Share Sales Pitch, The Miraculous Chile Miners Rescue.
Mark Hoover has been leading NewSpring Church in Wichita, Kansas since 1985. God has given him a remarkable way of communicating life-changing truth on a practical level. Mark is a dynamic leader, a master communicator, and most of all, he’s a passionate God-follower.
Baptist Bible College celebrates 66 years of ministry in 2016. As a 1982 alumnus, I am pleased to celebrate this event at my alma mater. These have been some of my thoughts of the Monday, May 2 evening session.
Please share your thoughts.