Are you missing prime opportunities to reach and engage the elusive college demographic?
I was introduced to the facts of life the old-fashioned way: working in the breeding pens of a pig farm. I regularly got up close and personal with 500-pound hogs, helping them “maximize their efforts.”
That brutal introduction to breeding taught me more about fertilization and reproduction than a 14-year-old would ever want to know. It also left me with a lot of memories, most of which I have tried hard to forget. One familiar image, however, has stuck in my mind—the illustration of countless sperm cells desperately trying to break into an unfertilized egg to create a new generation. Believe it or not, that is precisely how I see the opportunity to engage young people with the gospel on university campuses.
These days, it’s hard to find a church with any kind of forward momentum that’s not in the business of establishing new churches or satellite congregations. Over the last two decades, the majority of those new church initiatives have targeted suburban young professionals and their growing families. Church leaders focus the balance of their efforts on inner-city neighborhoods or church planting through overseas partnerships.
Joshua Fowler is a firm believer that there once again will be a Great Awakening in the United States and around the globe. The apostle and senior minister of Legacy Life Church in Orlando, Fla., is helping to spark the revival movement in December with a special event called God Day—Awakening a City to Awaken Nations.
Slated for December 12, God Day’s purpose is to give the city of Orlando back to the heavenly Father and to expand that agenda outward toward other cities, states and nations. Expected to draw thousands, the event will include 12 hours of prayer, praise and proclamation.
It also will include a congress of five-fold leaders, a solemn assembly of fasting, prayer, interceding and a rally of a mighty army with one vision, one mind and one goal—to evangelize and to bring in the greatest harvest of souls the city has ever known.
More than 100 churches as well as businesses and community organizations have joined together in promoting the event.
Ever heard of David Hogg? He taught Sunday school in Blantyre, Scotland, in the early 1800s. In the small church where he taught boys year after year, Hogg certainly had opportunities to question his significance. But his faithfulness and the Word of God ignited a love for the people of Africa in one of his students David Livingstone, who became arguably the greatest missionary to Africa in the 19th century, opening that continent to the gospel.
In the small church or those of us who are pastors of smaller churches, it can be easy to question the significance and impact we are having in our churches and communities compared with larger or more publicly recognized churches. Yet according to the Hartford Religious Institute, 61 percent of all Protestants attend churches with 499 or fewer weekly worshipers. That means the majority of Christians in America are being discipled and cared for in much-needed smaller and midsize churches, led by regular guys like us.
I love sitting in the front row. It’s been my vantage point at church for about 30 years now. Whether turning around to view everyone, going out and ministering to the people, standing to preach or watching our congregation do a processional for offerings or communion, I love seeing the people God has entrusted to our care. I remember how my heart would swell with love and pride for each person who would come to the front and pass by for those processionals.
As a pastor, you love your flock. You want the best for them. You desire and pray for each member that God has placed in your care to be strong in the faith, walk with Christ, hear His voice, understand and apply God’s Word to their lives, know their unique calling and gifting, and effectively minister to others—especially by helping new believers grow and by reaching out to this lost and dying world.
Where was God when Superstorm Sandy pounded the Eastern Seaboard, killing at least 50 and causing historic destruction? And where was God in 2011 when the tsunami and earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives in Japan?
In the wake of such incredible loss and disaster, we struggle to understand how a God who is all-powerful and all-knowing can also be considered good and loving. Pastor and teacher Erwin Lutzer tackles this tough subject head-on in his book, Where Was God?
“The question of natural disasters is very important,” said Lutzer in a phone interview last year. “The Bible even records stories of natural disasters.” During our discussion, Lutzer answered a number of questions that are detailed in his book.