Win Your World For Christ
We want to be “a church that can change the city in a city that could change the world.” That’s our vision as leaders of The Moody Church as we think about our mission in the city of Chicago.
Is this only a slogan? Or can this become a reality in the foreseeable future? The answer depends on whether we are willing to pay the price of becoming the witnesses we should be. I have no doubt that we can impact this city for the glory of God, but it will take the active participation of every member and friend of the church.
How can this be done? Let me ask you this question: How did the church in China increase from less than a million in 1949 to an estimated twenty-five million today? All of that, despite the fact that missionaries were expelled and religion was outlawed. During the Cultural Revolution which began in 1966, all churches were closed. Pastors were either imprisoned or made to do forced labor. Many were killed. Soldiers would shoot Christian parents in full view of their children so that the youngsters would know that they should not follow in their parents’ footsteps. Those who worked in labor camps were marched before pictures of Chairman Mao; those who would not bow had their legs broken at the knees. Yet for all that, the church has grown and they have won many from their world to Christ.
The real spiritual “secret” of their success was simple: Every believer was to be a witness, no matter where they were, no matter what the cost. The church in China could not depend on pastors since they were removed from places of responsibility. Individual believers had to fill in the gap. Without a lot of fanfare, the believers began to witness one-on-one…silently the church began to grow without the Communist regime even being aware of it!
Of course the church in China did not originate the idea that every believer has the responsibility of being a witness. Their circumstances forced them to relearn the lesson of the early church as recorded in the book of Acts. Put yourselves in the position of those Jerusalem saints: your friends are tortured for the sake of Christ. At night you pack your belongings, bundle your children and leave and walk about ten miles before the sun comes over the horizon; you hide during the day and leave in the evening and then walk several more miles until you come to a small village where you stay with strangers, hoping to earn enough to keep your family alive. Meanwhile, news comes to you that more of your friends are being imprisoned, some are put to death. Being a Christian is risky business.
Would you let others know that you belong to Christ? The early believers did. Persecution drove the believers out of Jerusalem, but it was the means by which Christianity spread all over the Middle East. Satan tried to blow out the flame, not realizing that he blew the fire over the whole landscape!
If the believers in Jerusalem and Peking can multiply through personal evangelism, surely we can too. This is why we are beginning our “Win Your World for Christ” emphasis. It’s our opportunity to touch the city of Chicago with the Gospel. But it won’t work unless we are willing to overcome some barriers that may exist within our hearts.
First, we must wait before the Lord to get a burden for the unsaved. If the truth were known, many of us simply do not care where our associates or neighbors will spend eternity. Did you ever hear about the blind man who was cured by a medical operation? He was so excited that a few days later he was seen walking to the surgeon with seven blind men hanging on to each other following him! Do we have a similar concern for those who are in spiritual blindness?
Second, we must confess the sin of unbelief. Probably one reason we do not witness actively is because we think no one wants to believe anyway. If we were called upon to save human beings, our unbelief could be justified, but that is not our assignment. Only the Lord saves. We are to be carriers of the message…sometimes those who seem most disinterested are anxious to believe. If you had a Christ-hater in your neighborhood by the name of Saul, you would not likely choose him as a candidate for the grace of God. But when God wanted to demonstrate His power He chose the chief of sinners so that no one could say that God saves only nice tolerant neighbors!
Third, there is the barrier of fear. That’s the reason I have by-passed many opportunities to witness. Strangely enough, I can preach to thousands of people without the slightest bit of hesitation, but put me next to my neighbors and I feel awkward, wondering what they will think of me. Do you know where this fear originates? From Satan. That’s what Christ told Peter moments before his three-fold denial. The devil wanted Peter that he might sift him and prove he was chaff; Christ prayed for Peter that he might end up being whole grain.
Yes, we need to be tactful in our approach, but most of us are so concerned about tact that we have no contact. The best way to break down those barriers is to meet people informally; invite them over for a cup of tea or volunteer to help them in a project. Then let God open the door…you’ll be surprised what He will do if you trust Him.
I’m excited about our “Win Your World For Christ” strategy. Potentially, it could be used of God to win thousands of people to Christ. Yes, it will take intercessory prayer, and thoughtful strategy. But equally important, it involves the live of every single Christian connected with The Moody Church. It’s really not a new idea, it’s as old as the book of Acts and as relevant as the growth of the church in China.
Pause right now and ask the Lord to give you a heart to win the needy people of this great city to our wonderful Savior! If the Chinese church could impact their hard and hostile world for Christ, why can’t we at The Moody Church do the same in Chicago? The answer lies with me and you.