In the fall of 2007, Berean Baptist is going to change the way it does Wednesday nights in a way that will surely glorify God to an even greater degree. Let me tell you about it. As an independent Baptist church, we, as a local congregation, are free to change the manner in which we assemble and worship as we see fit under the leadership of the Lord Jesus.
So let’s be sure we begin with the understanding that Jesus did not establish the Wednesday night prayer meeting—that was a man made invention and it has served the church well for many years. However, Berean is at the point where a change it needed and a change for the better I am sure.
Berean hosts its Awana program on Wednesdays and will continue to do so as a ministry to children. Awana must remain a top priority and it is a wonderful curriculum and club to use under the leadership of godly men and women committed to helping our children adopt a Biblical worldview by the indoctrination of God’s Word.
Next, we will still have a focus toward providing Bible study and activities for our junior and senior high youth. Pastor Steve Rahn will continue to preach to the young people and many other adult leaders and assistants are needed to help with these two very important departments. The church of tomorrow meets in building 3 on Wednesday nights.
Now for the change. In order to substantially increase our enrollment and participation in FAITH evangelism, Berean is moving FAITH to Wednesday nights. Church will start with a simple meal together in the fellowship hall and then move to discipleship classes all over the campus. I believe substantially more adults who have not been able to set aside Wednesday and Thursday nights will now be able to be involved. We will teach FAITH basic, FAITH advanced and then other extracurricular classes like spiritual warfare, leadership, prayer, classes on cults and many others.
Our discipleship classes will be focused on helping every member grow in their knowledge of the gospel and the doctrines we hold to be fundamental to the faith. In this manner, the pastors and teachers will be equipping the saints to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
Our goal is simple. Every member of the congregation needs to be trained in FAITH 101. This will not happen over night, but those members who spend at least a year at Berean and are willing to be faithful to Wednesday night FAITH training will be afforded an opportunity to be discipled.
After a time of eating and Biblical training, FAITH teams will then depart the campus to visit any member in the hospital, our shut-in members, visitors from the past Sunday and those who are struggling at being faithful to Sunday morning adult Bible fellowship hour.
Certain nights will be dedicated to knocking doors and conducting opinion polls in order to share the gospel and invite prospects to our Sunday worship services.
For those not interested in participating in FAITH, there will be special rooms set aside for prayer meetings.
Quite frankly this will increase the degree to which Berean is obedient to the great commission more than it has ever been in the past.
Now I want you to consider what you know about the 1st Century church in Acts and then consider how similar this is to what they did.
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Every Wednesday night we will be involved in teaching the apostles doctrine, fellowshipping as a group of believers, breaking bread together, times of prayer and we will be witnesses of Christ in Fayetteville and the surrounding community.
This change has the greatest potential of impacting our community with the Apostle’s message of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is absolutely no doubt that the gospel includes repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that the gospel presentation Berean teaches and uses includes the necessity to repent makes Berean one of the very few churches in Fayetteville sharing the true gospel. To preach anything less is disingenuous. God is still in the business of commanding men to repent (Acts 17.30).
Jesus preached a necessity to repent and believe (Mark 1:15). Anything less than that is another gospel. Repentance is the fruit of salvation and a gift of God. .It is NOT a work that secures man’s salvation.
The T in FAITH is for turn. Turn describes repentance. The failure to preach repentance and the absence of Christ’s expectation that His disciples take up their cross and follow Him is setting the conditions for a multitude of people who believe they are Christians but in reality gives little or no evidence that they have been changed by the power of the gospel.
They have been lulled into a false sense of security, and Paul’s admonishment for each of us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith falls on deaf ears to the destruction of the soul.
I pray that our Sovereign God will use Berean’s FAITH teams to accomplish His will such that He is not willing that any should perish. We, O’ God, commit to being faithful to the great commission and ask that you bless this change as we strive to be an Acts 1.8 church.
May no one ever question Berean’s commitment to the salvation of the lost souls as God uses mere humans to preach the truth! For truly how shall they hear and believe without a preacher?