“I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Ever since the Apostle Paul penned these words, Christ-followers who take seriously the Great Commission have prayerfully worked hard to follow his example and sought to break down barriers to the Gospel…the very message of God that contains the power of salvation (Romans 1:16). Over the centuries that has led to some bold initiatives including: 1) the movement now known as the Reformation, whose 500th anniversary is this month, 2) utilizing the full potential of the printing press to mass produce Bibles and tracts, 3) the Sunday School movement which initially was a ministry to street kids to educate them spiritually while teaching them to read and write, and 4) even using sound amplification to speak to larger and larger crowds.
Breaking down barriers to the Gospel must remain a priority in the 21st Century for churches, Hope included. It is one of my passions because I believe every life matters to God and to do anything less just because we prefer one way over another just seems a bit selfish and unfaithful to me. However, in many ways it isn’t easy. Never in history have there been so many ways to communicate with people. We can “talk” with people virtually all the time due to cell phones. Good old paper and ink is still highly effective, hence our Sunday hand-outs and annual mailing campaigns. Digital communication is everywhere from email to social media, leading to our weekly e-letter, Face Book Page and Group, Instagram presence and Twitter account…God only knows what’s next! The internet has opened up incredible avenues of sharing audio and video…hence our Face Book live ministry and podcasts. In many ways Hope is playing catch-up in terms of using all that is available to break down barriers to the Gospel.
But don’t be mistaken, nothing will ever surpass personal relationships as the best way to break down Gospel barriers. Paul said he adjusted his lifestyle anyway he could short of compromising his walk with Christ in order to break down barriers to the Gospel. A worthy life ambition for sure. Is it one of yours? Do you have a heart to become all things to all people so that you may by every means possible save some? I hope so. The 21st Century needs legion after legion of people with the passion of the Apostle Paul! I pray Hope will be full of them.
See you Sunday, hopefully with someone who you are inviting to cross a barrier to the Gospel.