Our gospel meeting with brother Hugh DeLong is a little under a month away. It will run from October 16th – 19th, and the lessons will be from the Gospel of John. Some of you may be wondering just what a gospel meeting is this morning.
A gospel meeting is when a congregation brings in another preacher to preach a series of lessons over several consecutive days. These meetings are frequently called “gospel meetings” because that is what is preached, and the goal is to reach the lost of the community with the gospel.
This morning we want to consider a few suggestions for how we can make our gospel meeting a success!
What I Can Do Before the Meeting:
As we begin, let’s define what we mean by success. Success in a gospel meeting is twofold:
- The seed of the gospel is sown in the hearts of the lost (Matt. 13:3-9, 18-23). When it comes to evangelism, we don’t often think of success in these terms, but this is how the Bible defines successful evangelism. Truth is being taught to the lost.
- The local saints are built-up and encouraged. Gospel meetings are not just for the lost but also for the saved (Eph. 4:11-12).
Now we have that covered, what can I do before our meeting to help make it a success?
I can and need to pray for the success of the meeting. God in Ezekiel 36:37 says through the Prophet, “Thus says the LORD GOD, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock.” God is telling his people then that He wants them to pray to Him to increase their numbers. God hasn’t changed from then to today. We see in Colossians 4:3-4 that Paul asked the Colossian brethren to pray for opportunities for him to sow the seed of the gospel. “Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open to us a door for the Word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” Prayer is one of, if not the most powerful thing we can do for our gospel meeting.
Before the meeting, I should invite people I know to attend. According to a 2019 Lifeway Research article titled, “9 Types of Effective Evangelism and Church Invitations,” Lifeway research found that 51% of the unchurched surveyed said that a personal invitation to a church service would be welcomed. This is the most powerful and effective way to reach someone. Let’s look over in John 1:35-41 and see how this is precisely what the disciple Andrew did, resulting in Peter becoming a disciple of Jesus. Invite the people I know because it has a personal touch, and you already have a relationship with that person. And, as a bonus, offer to pick them up and take them.
What I Can Do During the Meeting
Our meeting will be here quicker than we think, so what can I do during the meeting to help make it a successful effort to spread the gospel?
First, I need to resolve to attend every service myself. It is a little awkward if I’ve invited someone and they show up Tuesday night, and I’m not there! Also, I cannot be encouraged and equipped if I am not there. The Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 10:24-25, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
While at services during the meeting, I should prioritize welcoming every visitor. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4 that we are to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others.” In context, yes, Paul is talking about the local congregation at Philippi; however, the principle holds true. Our visitors should be honored guests in our assemblies.
Also, I need to make a good-hearted effort to actively participate in the worship at each service. I can do so by singing enthusiastically (Ps. 100:1-5) and giving my undivided attention to the word of God (Acts 10:33). I have not preached many meetings. Still, I have preached enough to tell you it makes a difference when the congregation actively participates in the service. Not only does it positively impact the preacher, but it is infectious to all present.
What I Can Do After the Meeting
Just as fast as the gospel meeting arrives, it also goes by quickly. So, what can we do after the meeting to make it a success?
On the sowing the seed side of success, I need to follow up with the visitors who came during the meeting. Paul wrote the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Someone else may have done the preaching, but it is left up to us to do the watering.
Related to this, if our friends and family we invited did not come, send them a link to the lessons or get the hard copies. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:6, “Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” That may just be the seed that sticks with them.
On the edification side of a successful meeting, I need to be diligent about meditating on and applying the lessons taught. James tells us that we need to “prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (Jas. 1:22). And the whole purpose of God giving us evangelists, pastors, and teachings is so they can equip us so we can be involved in our work of serving (Eph. 4:11-12).
Some have said the days of effective gospel meetings are over. I beg to differ. Every gospel meeting can succeed if we are willing to do what we need to do by making it a success. If we invite people, show up, and participate actively in this effort, it will be a success.