He had not been a Christian very long when he surprised everyone by asking if he could lead the closing prayer one night at worship. He stammered and stuttered, but he made it through it. Not too many weeks went by before he asked if he could lead the opening prayer—the big prayer, the one at the first of the service. Again, you could hear his voice quiver, but he led a good prayer. Not long after that, the preacher in the small church announced he and his wife would be out of town, and that the church would meet to pray and partake of the Lord’s Supper, but there would be no preaching. Everyone was shocked when he spoke up and asked, “Preacher, if it’d be all right with you, I’d like to try to preach.” Of course he was delighted to let him. He was sure he’d put groves in the podium he’d grasped it so tightly, and everyone on the front three rows could hear his knees knock, but he made it though it. A few months later, the preacher announced again that he was going to be away and they’d just meet for the Lord’s Supper in his absence. Again, the young Christian spoke up and volunteered to preach. Of course the preacher said it would be OK. After the service one of the sisters came up and asked him: “Why do you put yourself though that? Why do you put yourself through the stress and all?”
He answered: “Sister, I’ll do things for my Lord that I wouldn't do for anyone else because of what my Lord has done for me.”
This was one of dad’s favorite preacher stories. It strikes at a challenge in every congregation—involvement. How do we break past the proverbial 20% rule (20% of the people do 80% of the work)? How do we get the Lord’s People to invest themselves in the Lord’s Work? How do we get people to be more than just pew warmers? How do we get them to be totally dedicated to His Cause (Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 3:18; 1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12)?
In this month’s offering of H&E we are highlighting fourteen programs of work from churches around the country. These are works that have been proven to be effective in building up the local church as well as reaching out to the community. Take the time to consider them and to make them your own. As always, we hope you’ll help us by passing the link to this e-zine on to others. We want to thank those who have contributed to this current edition for sharing from their experience and energies for the Lord’s Work. And we thank you for your encouraging comments about Hope & Expectation.
— Jeff A. Jenkins & Dale Jenkins