I just left Hyde Park Baptist in Austin. What a great church. I had heard about this church back in college days. It was often lifted up as a sterling example of a church that did consistently solid ministry over a long period of time. At 2700 average Sunday School attendance, they would be one of the largest Sunday Schools in the nation. An unlike many churches in mid-town locations (inside the inner loop) they keep the place busting at the seams. Their only problem is where to park the cars.
While at Hyde Park, I was reminded of a very usable idea that could have wide application in a variety of settings. It is called the Power Lunch. Power Lunch - you just have to love that name.
Power Lunch 101
Power lunch could be. . .
You get the idea. There could be a wide variety of the application of this concept. I am most enamored by the idea of a Sunday School class doing this studying a John Maxwell book and presenting a positive presentation of the gospel.
Allow me to explain why I think this is such a powerful idea. It has to do with the four quadrants.
We typically think of only two categories: #1 and #4. We think in terms of lost people who are not in church and our efforts to lead them to Christ and the church. That is a worthy thing, but it is only half the picture.
We also have quadrant #2. These are sometimes called backslidden or inactive members. We are commanded to go after these people. Consider these words of Ezekiel: “My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” Ezekiel 34:6 (NIV) The clear implication is somebody should have searched for them. One of the best ways to do this is through giving Friday nights to Jesus and inviting every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month. I am fond of saying, “Don't invite them to class; instead invite them to the party." As I like to say, people who are opposed to the gospel are not opposed to ice cream.
But, for this discussion today, I would like us to focus our attention on quadrant #3 and see how it relates to power lunches.
One application of quadrant #3 is that we need to ask our own people when they came to a saving knowledge of Christ. I am thinking of a man that plays in our band at my church. He had been coming to our church for several years, which is why I was so surprised to hear his story. He and his wife got to talking one day, "Bob, when did you actually place your faith in Christ and become a Christian?" "I don't know that I have," he replied. "Wouldn't you like to?" We did, and a few weeks later we baptized him. There are probably people who attend your church regularly that have never gotten around to accept the A-B-C's of the faith:
We need to rehearse these things from our pulpits and in our small groups on a regular basis, but we need to do one other thing. It has to do with Power Lunches.
There are many "Christian" denominations that hardly ever, if ever, say anything about the need to be saved. Some, in fact, are opposed to the whole notion. Many of these churches preach a gospel of do good, be kind and live the golden rule, but never say anything about the fact that we are far from God and need to place our faith in Christ.
When I was on church staff and we were involved in an aggressive visitation program for a time, we actually had the pastor of another church in town call our pastor and say, "How dare you tell our church member they need to be saved!" They had visited our church, we visited them, presented the gospel as we would to anyone else. Her pastor was deeply offended by that.
How do we reach people who are far from God but in church every week? They will never come to your church and hear the gospel, because they are in church every week. How will we reach them? Let's talk about Power Lunches.
A Power Lunch is a gathering of believers and non-believers who meet for lunch and to discuss a topic. The topic could be pure evangelism. It could be discipleship. It could be need-oriented teaching like "How to Win over Worry." It could be more business related topics like, "How to Manage Your Time."
A Power Lunch is an opportunity to share the gospel with people who are far from God. Whether they go to church or not, we can share Christ with them. Whether the topic is John 3.16 or John Maxwell 3.16 we can share Christ.
A Power Lunch is an opportunity to provide additional Bible Study, fellowship and prayer time.
A Power Lunch is non-threatening.
A Power Lunch can be a simple gathering of half a dozen believers and their friends meeting at a local restaurant.
A Power Lunch may help you reach people for Christ and double your group every two years or less.
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