“A Fine Hunting Ground” by tmaples
May 5, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Travis Maples 

I remember while growing up here in East Tennessee  there was a time when I was about 9 or 10 when my parents began dallying with the idea of going to church.  Well the Sunday had arrived and the time had come for us to find a church to attend.  We all got up, got ready and went to a nearby church.    What stuck out to me, with one church in particular, was not the content of the message (sadly), the way they worshipped or the demographics of the church.  What made an impression on me more than all those things was the way we slid in and out of the church without so much as a hello.  No one said, “Hey, great to meet you”, “thanks for coming”, or “glad you’re here”.  For some reason it really bothered me.  It made me sad for my parents then, and it saddens me even now as I look back.  I was reminded of the experience as I was reading through Charles Spurgeon’s The Soul Winner where he wrote regarding the evangelistic role of the congregation:

“There is a fine hunting ground here and indeed in every large congregation, for you who really want to do good.  How many come into this house every morning and evening with no thought about receiving Christ?  Oh,  if you would all help me, you who love the Master, if you would all help me by speaking to your neighbors who sit near to you, how much might be accomplished!  Never let anybody say, ‘I came to the church three months, and nobody spoke to me.’  Rather, by a sweet familiarity which ought always to be allowable in the house of God, seek with your whole heart to impress on your friends the truth which I can only put into the ear, but which God may help you to put into the heart.”

That experience, though unforunate then, is now useful to me.  Now it’s apart of my spiritual journey.  God has redeemed it for my good.  Now I am a part of the Mission Team at our church where I have the opportunity to gladly and warmly welcome and follow up with all who come into our church.  But it’s not just up to a team or a certain few in our church to welcome and interact with guests that come in our doors.  Please, if you think it may be someone’s first time or if a person appears as if they don’t know anyone, introduce yourself and show genuine interest in their lives.  The sincere welcome I received was one of the major aspects of my church that kept me coming back.  God could use you to drive the gospel message into their hearts not just their ears just by welcoming them the way Christ welcomed you. 


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you’re my hero! i love you …

Comment by Amy

You’re my “Good Thing” babe!

Comment by Travis

Trav and Amy:

I’m sure there’s a greeting card store close to you guys. Perhaps you could pick some cards up and write love notes to each other away from the public sphere. JO

Comment by Jonathan Oldacre

Why are you hatin on a brother?

Comment by Travis

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