Now for the post...
This is one of those times in the life of the church where we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to reach people with the good news, yet we fail to seize the moment. I am talking about the annual Easter (Or Christmas) cantata that many churches put on.
For several years, my home church music ministry, led by my wife, put on an elaborate program at the local Christian College. We had great sets, wonderful lighting, acting, lots of wonderful singing and special effects including an accession scene where Jesus was lifted up on a hydraulic lift camouflaged by lots of smoke and special lighting. For a small country church, it was quite an impressive show.
The biggest thing we had going for us was the strong gospel message presented through the drama and music. I know smoke and mirrors doesn't draw people to Jesus, but a clear presentation of the gospel coupled with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit does.
There was one thing missing however...lost people.
The audience was primarily made up of people from our church and other churches in the area. Rarely did any of the believers bring their lost loved ones and friends to see and hear the gospel message. It wasn't as if we were asking believers to witness to their friends - we were asking them to bring their friends to be witnessed to.
Most churches never take advantage of the opportunities that fall in their lap to get people to Christ. They spend lots of money to entertain the saints when they should be evangelizing the lost. Churches don't think with an evangelistic mindset.
It may be too late to change your program now - to make it more seeker friendly. (I use that term in the sense of planning and presenting our programs with the lost in mind, not in the current sense and usage of the word.) Here are some suggestions on how to make your program into an opportunity to reach lost people.
- Hold the event at a neutral location. Lost people are more likely to come to a program being held at a local high school gym or civic auditorium than at a church.
- Advertise your event through secular media as opposed to Christian media. It may cost more, but lost people generally don't listen to Christian media outlets.
- Emphasize the fact that this is an opportunity to reach lost family and friends to the congregation. Challenge believers to invite and offer to bring at least 5 of their lost friends with them to the event.
- Always have a pastor or lay leader give an invitation to follow Christ at the end of the program. Make sure that attendees have a reply mechanism such as a guest card so that follow up can be made for decisions.
- Make sure the gospel is clearly presented in the program; not just some pretty music.
Let's not waste the opportunity to present the greatest message of all - the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.