March has been VISION MONTH here at Gaylord E-Free as we strive to get our whole church family on board and excited about our purpose as a church which is to MEET as many people as possible right where they are at and help MOVE them to where God wants them to be. We call it "MEETING and MOVING" or "M&M" for short. Our desire is to become an M&M church! That is what we have talked about all month long. And even though next Sunday ushers in April (no fooling!) we will use it as a kind of a bridge week to connect the previous Vision Month with the upcoming Easter celebration.
This past month has not been about promoting a program. MEETING and MOVING is not a program. It's a natural outcome. It should be part of our spiritual DNA as a corporate body and as individual followers of Jesus. So to keep the ball of momentum rolling, let me suggest 3 MEETING and MOVING themed books to you! These are the three books that have impacted my life the most when it comes to evangelism.
The first one is co-authored by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg and is entitled, "Becoming a Contagious Christian." Simply put, though written nearly two decades ago, I still think it is one of the most practical books that can take any follower of Jesus, no matter how timid they might be, and see them become effective in making a maximum impact in reaching lost people. I would love to see every person who is part of the Gaylord E-Free Church grab a copy of this book and dig into it.
Another book that I think hits the bulls-eye in seeing evangelism as more than a mere program is the book "Just Walk Across the Room." This book is also written by Bill Hybels. I love this book because it really helps us to understand that evangelism does not begin with, "Do you know for sure that you are going to heaven?" Evangelism begins in a much simpler way. It begins by leaving your circle of comfort and walking across the room and putting out your hand to meet someone you have never before met. This is another one that I strongly encourage all who are part of Gaylord E-Free to get and read.
As I list the third book I do so realizing it may spark some controversy because the book is written by Ted Haggard. You may recall years ago that Ted was a very popular pastor of a mega church in Colorado Springs and a key leader of the National Association of Evangelicals before he fell into sin which became very public (by the way, his wife, Gayle, later wrote anamazing book on the topic of forgiveness. It is called, "Why I Stayed" and it is one of the best books on forgiveness that I have ever read). In spite of all of this, Ted Haggard's book, "Primary Purpose" was very challenging to me, especially when it comes to how prayer can be such a major force for evangelism. I love the tag line of Haggard's book, "Making it hard for people to go to hell in your city." I am simply saying that this book challenged me when it comes to evangelism.
Of course, there are many other great books out there on evangelism including Mark Cahill's book, "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" and Duke Heller's book, "How To Start A Kingdom Conversation." So as we move just days away from Spring Break week here in Gaylord, Michigan, I would like to challenge each person who is part of the E-Free Church to take two things with them as they head south. First, take one of these books with you to read over Spring Break! Second, take a giant bag of M&M's with you to eat while you read and relax. Hopefully it will be a tasty way to remind you of of the importance of MEETING and MOVING!