The following article was written by brother Richard Thetford in preparation for the gospel meeting their congregation was having. I am republishing it here for your consideration and encouragement.
Our gospel meeting begins a week from today, September 25th, with Andy Berendt doing the preaching. I think it would do us all good to remind ourselves of the goals and aims of having a gospel meeting and the things that each one of us can do to help make this gospel meeting a success.
Save The Lost
The only means in which God has of reaching the hearts of men is through the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is preached in gospel meetings for the purpose of creating, building, and strengthening the faith. None can be saved without believing in Jesus Christ (John 8:24; Mark 16:15-16). The gospel is preached in an effort to save the lost. Even though fewer and fewer non-Christian visitors are attending gospel meetings than in times past, still there are some non-Christians that attend the gospel meeting. There are teenagers, mates of Christians, and friends of Christians that attend the gospel meeting and therefore every effort must be made to reach these individuals so they can learn the truth of God’s Word before it is everlastingly too late.
Keep What We’ve Got
Gospel meetings are good to have in order to strengthen all Christians. We want to hold on to all the individuals that have already become Christians. There’s no better way to do this than to continue to teach our number the Word of God. When Paul departed from the elders of the church at Ephesus, he said: “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). Families have had their marriage strengthened and received words of encouragement and hope through gospel meetings. Every Christian can always use more strengthening in their daily life!
Making The Gospel Meeting A Success
Every gospel meeting can be a success if we want it to be. The first thing we can do and should have been doing for the past month or so is to pray about the meeting. Pray that each of us will not be slack in inviting our friends and neighbors. Pray that many souls will be able to attend so the gospel can be heard and that their hearts will be pricked so as to respond favorably to the Word of God.
Singing is a vital part of the meeting. Often times the singing can make or break a gospel meeting. Nearly every gospel preacher I have known has said that good congregational singing adds much to the success of a gospel meeting. Good spiritual singing makes a preacher want to preach because it shows him that the congregation is interested in spiritual matters. The Hebrew writer wrote: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb 13:15). The congregation here at Valley does a good job singing praises to God and we should continue to do so during our gospel meeting. Let’s be prepared to continue to sing praises to God and to edify one another with the proper spirit and understanding (1 Cor 14:15). Good singing certainly helps make everyone in the audience more receptive to the preaching.
Every member should strive to meet and greet all those attending the meeting, especially visitors from the local area. A special effort should be made to get the names and addresses of all visitors from the local community. This information will be invaluable for follow up after the meeting. Remember that a first impression is a lasting impression. This is a very friendly congregation and most visitors will recognize that immediately. You can make a special effort to ask the visitors to sit with you during the service.
Every single member should make a personal effort to attend every assembly of the meeting. The men of this local congregation thought it was important for us to have a meeting and therefore each and every one of us should put forth every effort to be here. Remember, we can’t edify and encourage one another if we are not here. Anything worth doing is worth doing our best. If we will give this meeting our very best effort in prayer, inviting our friends and neighbors, singing, and attendance then it will be a success! Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-15: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”