Saturday, October 3, 2009

Visitation Outreach (Part Three)

Another misconception about visitation is that it involves salesmanship. A number of church members avoid visitation because they feel like they can’t do this well. Perhaps they feel like they need to know more theology, or be able to explain the “plan of salvation” in a smooth and interesting way. Many Christians have never personally led another person to the Lord and feel unsure about when “it” happens. Some worry that there is going to be a lot of explaining or debating. In the end, some only participate in visitation when there is an experienced leader there to walk the person through each step.

Part of the reason I am posting the Gospel Presentations of Jesus series is to show that there was no formula or outline that Jesus followed. He never tried to sell the gospel. Instead, Jesus treated every person and circumstance as unique. The religious leaders got tripped up on formulas and theologies, but Jesus quickly cut through all that. Just read through the stories of salvation and the healing encounters people had with Jesus. The only common thing you will find is that they trusted Jesus and wanted to be near him. The good news message is loving God and trusting Jesus.

Visitation is not about going into someone’s home and closing the deal. It is about meeting and spending time with people, learning their names, their stories, their joys and their blemishes. It’s about entering into fellowship with them and beginning new friendships. It is not condescending. It’s about common ground, allowing them know you on the same level; your stories, your joys, your blemishes and your needs.

As you have fellowship with others, you are introducing them to fellowship with God. Your union with Jesus gives you identity. It is part of your story. It is who you are. As you tell what Jesus has done in your life, you present Him. As you tell what you have experienced of God and learned of God, you are announcing the good news. Jesus taught this. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the One who sent me (Matthew 10:40).”

Getting people to make decisions by being a salesman and then passing them on to the organization for assimilation is not the way of Christ. Jesus commanded us to make disciples. That involves real fellowship, community, love and time.

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