Acts 1:8 starts with receiving power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, but it goes further. Jesus tells us that we are to be His witnesses; in our communities, in our country, to other cultures and to every corner of the planet. Presenting Christ is biblical, and it is more than a duty, it is a privilege for every Christian to bear witness of what Christ has done for them.
Presenting Christ in PowerUP Your World begins with prayer. But not just any prayer, It is prayer for your lost friends and neighbors, for people that you work alongside. The Bible is clear that we are to pray for the souls of people who have not entered into a personal relationship with Christ.
In Romans 10:1, Paul specifically prays for the salvation of his Jewish brothers and sisters. In the priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17, Jesus specifically prays for the salvation of people who have yet to hear the Gospel (John 17:20). Praying for the souls of the lost is a vital part of all three resources developed in the PowerUP strategy.
We have some amazing stories of people in Sunday School classes who prayed evangelistically for friends and family, and sometimes within a matter of days, these friends have received Christ as Lord and Savior.
Many classes do an outstanding job of praying for each other and for church needs. To help the class broaden its prayer base, PowerUP Your World has a “Class Prayer Guide” that is easily duplicated. The prayer guide helps broaden the classes’ prayer life so that they are involved in holistic prayer. The prayer guide leads the class to pray in the following areas: thanksgiving, praise, confession, class prayer needs, evangelistic prayer for the lost and prayer for missionaries. Biblical passages are included to help the class pray biblically through these areas.
But PowerUP Your World goes beyond evangelistic prayer. During the eight weeks of PowerUP Your World, the church asks every class to have at least one ‘hands-on’ mission project. The class decides what project it is going to do and then commits to complete the work by the end of PowerUP. These mission projects accomplish two specific things. First, the project helps the class look at the needs of their community instead of just at the needs of the class. We want Sunday School classes or small groups to have a big picture of what is going on around them and how they can address these needs. We want them to get involved. You really can’t do ministry wearing latex gloves. So we put the responsibility of discovering and responding to mission opportunities directly to the class.
The class or small group is the smallest organizational group in the church. It is the cell, the building block of the entire church. If you want to create change in the church, it has to start at the organizational level, and that is the individual Sunday School classes.
Second, these mission projects are excellent ways to involve unreached people in the project.
September 11 and Hurricane Katrina have changed the American landscape. These two disasters have heightened the American spirit of helping our fellow man during a time of crisis. People today are open and looking for opportunities where they can lend a helping hand. People might never darken the door of a Bible study class, but they will respond if offered the opportunity to help another person or organization in need.
Classes are encouraged to involve unchurched or non-Christians in their class mission project.
There are countless stories of a lost person that went with a church on a mission trip to New Orleans who got saved while swinging a hammer or serving food alongside Christians. Obviously, there are some aspects of a mission trip, like sharing a gospel presentation, that an unsaved person cannot do. However, I’ve found that lost people can roof a house or serve a meal as well as any believer.
PowerUP Your World sets up the church for success in presenting the Gospel.
There is an old saying in Christianity we need to resurrect. “You have to earn the right to be heard.” Engaging the community around the church with multiple mission projects helps project the church into the community as a helpful group of people who are addressing community needs. These projects help the church “earn the right” to share the message of Christ with people in the community. In today’s world, you have to lay out your credentials so to speak. Before they are open to hearing us share the good news of the Gospel, many people want to know if we are doing anything about world hunger, AIDS or disaster relief. When we can share personal stories of what we are doing, then we are earning the right to share the Gospel with them, and they will be more open to what we have to offer.
One of the key ingredients of PowerUP Your World is the idea of empowering individual Sunday School classes or small groups to take ownership of sharing the Gospel.
The individual class is the building block of the church.
Next week, the third aspect of PowerUP Your World, Partnering to share Christ with the world will be shared.
For information or to register your church and receive a PowerUP Your World Resource Kit for $25, contact Bob Mayfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or register online at www.bgco.org/sspowerup.