Charles Roesel, Florida’s Urban Pastor of the Year, made a trip to Eastern Kentucky recently to lead revival services at Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church. While there, he met with some Eastern Kentucky pastors at Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Ashland and First Baptist Church of Prestonsburg.
The former senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, Fla., was comfortable being in Eastern Kentucky since he began his ministry as pastor of a mission of First Baptist, Prestonsburg, at David, Ky.
Ira McMillian was pastor of First Baptist Church at the time, and he had led the church to establish 13 mission sites. While a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Roesel became pastor of one of those missions. His commute to David was a 400-mile round trip, and his salary was only $50 a week. He recalls driving a Studebaker that did not have a heater.
Roesel’s message to Eastern Kentucky pastors centered on the powerful results of ministry evangelism. He defines ministry evangelism as caring for the hurts and needs of people, and using that as a platform for sharing the gospel. He was very quick to point out that he was not talking about the social gospel (meeting needs but never sharing the good news), but ministry evangelism (meeting needs and sharing the good news).
Every pastor received a copy of Roesel’s book, “It’s a God Thing.” In the appendix, there are 100 ministry evangelism ideas that a church can follow no matter how tight its budget.
Some of Roesel’s advice:
– “Use what you have.”
-“Never ask if you can afford it. Only ask, is it God’s will. If it is God’s will, God can afford it!”
– “Preach on financial freedom. Too many Baptists spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.”
– “Ministry evangelism is a bullet that will fit any ministry gun.”
– “Lead your congregation to offer applause when the offering is taken, it is such a privilege to have the opportunity to give.”
– “Teach members the difference between ‘get to’ and ‘got to.'”
He also offered helpful insights on “closing the backdoor” of the church. He offered seven steps to consider:
Passionate Invitation: Preach the word, and then offer a passionate invitation. The invitation should be based on the fact that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6).
Wise Counsel: Roesel noted that everyone who made a decision at his church was taken to a counseling area. People received 30-minutes of counsel from someone who had been trained. He did not feel five minutes down front for someone making a life-changing decision was adequate.
Required New-Members Class: This step required all new additions to attend a New Member’s class. In the class each participant was encouraged to find their place within the body of Christ. It also provided a venue to complete background checks.
Place of Service: A place of service was determined for each new member. Roesel stated that when they introduced the new Christians on Sunday nights, they identified a chosen place of ministry. He added that there is no such thing as a “nobody” in the kingdom of God.
Sunday School Enrollment: As part of the assimilation process, the goal is to nurture a mature believer, and the method is discipleship through the Sunday School. Roesel observed that Sunday School classes provide a group of Christian friends for love, encouragement and support.
Sponsor Assignments: Roesel emphasized that it is vital to have someone stand with a newborn Christian for at least one year. He does not believe that the Lord isolates His saints, but firmly holds to the concept of the more mature helping those that are new to the faith.
Assimilation Secretary: This person has the key role of assigning new members to sponsors. Also, the assimilation secretary tracks new saints by attendance and calls them by phone several times during the first year.
Some other issues discussed at the Eastern Kentucky luncheons included:
– Let your congregation know what a joy it is to serve the Lord.
– Build relationships within the congregation.
– Your congregation will love you equally to the way you love their former pastor.
– Have a balanced preaching schedule. Preach out of the New Testament during the morning service and preach out of the Old Testament during the evening service.
– Encourage your church to read through the entire Bible in one year. (WR)
Paul Badgett, Regional Strategist