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Outreach Newsletter Winter 2011

Outreach Newsletter Winter 2011

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When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, andthen James and John, he called them out of 
the shing trade into a new vocation. Now they would be sh
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ers of men (see Mark 1:16-20 and Luke 5:1-11). According toDr. Bruce Finn, coordinator of the Metro Philadelphia ChurchPlanting Partnership, shing in the New Testament was notan individual pursuit. Whole families gathered together inshing teams. There was a place for everyone in the family,whether as part of the support crew back on shore, or as partof the boat crew casting nets. Boat crews went out on sh
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ing expeditions repeatedly. The boats were not expected toremain tied safely along the shore.In calling men from a background in the shing trade tonow sh for men, Jesus seems to regard outreach, evange
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lism, and disciple-making as an activity for the whole Chris
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tian community. He also conceives it to be a regularly re
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peated endeavor, not just something we do occasionally.Michael Green, in
Evangelism Through the Local Church
,
observed, “the biggest reason why church people are reluc
-
tant to evangelize is that they do not think it is their businessto do so.” He also stated, “Evangelism is not an optional ex
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tra for those who like that sort of thing.”If Jesus calls the whole church to be involved in shingfor people, then our churches need to nd ways to get allkinds of people occupied in that task; which includes train
-
ing them, equipping them, and assigning them ways to beinvolved.You can nd help in doing this at my blog at the bottom of the ONA home page
www.ona-arp.org
and through the Evan
-
gelism Tool Kit at
www.ona-arp.org/evangelism-tool-kit/
.
OutreachNewsletter
  A Publication of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian ChurchBoard of Outreach North America
Inside this Issue...
A Broken Heart for the Lost Next Door
• Testimony of God’s Grace and Mercy• Christianity Explored- Lake Placid ARP• News and Notes from the Field
ona
Outreach North America
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
From the Director
 Mobilizing People to Fish
Dr. Alan J. Avera, Executive Director 
Evangelistic zeal is part of our past;How can we reclaim it for our present and our future?
Winter 2011
Evangelism
 
Continued on page 3
Evangelistic Zeal is a UniquePart of ARP History
By Dr. Stephen Myers, Pressly Memorial ARP, Statesville, NC 
“We need to improve our evangelism!”
How many times hasthis been heard in your congregation? (Or how many times shouldit have been heard?!) For the Christian, evangelism is a sacredduty, a joyful task, and a frightening charge all rolled into one.For the ARP Church, it also is a unique part of denomination
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al history. In 18th century Scotland, the rst founders of whatwould become the ARP were renowned as the most zealous andmost gifted evangelists in the country. Evangelistic zeal is part of our past; how can we reclaim it for our present and our future?Two particularly helpful suggestions can be found in the theol
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ogy of Ebenezer Erskine, a founder of the Associate Church, oneof the forerunners of the ARP.First of all, in Erskine’s day(Erskine was born in 1680 anddied in 1754), controversyraged over what was referredto as “the gospel offer.” Es
-
sentially, the issue was this–to whom can you sincerelysay, “if you believe in JesusChrist, you will be saved?”Some inuential men inthe Scottish Church argued
that a man had to show re-
pentance and belief beforehe could be sincerely offeredsalvation in Christ. The gospelcould be offered only to those who
Receive this Newsletter Online
If you would prefer to receive the Outreach Newsletteronline, please contact the ONA ofce.864.232.8297 x229 or ona@arpsynod.org
 
Page 2 Outreach
 
Winter 2011 Page 3
As I write this, theGreenville ARP Churchis nearing the end of its 2nd Annual MissionsConference. For years,we have had an annualFellowship Retreat ev
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ery spring at Bonclarken, a time wherewe enjoy the fellowship of our churchfamily and have a speaker who focuseson some aspect of spiritual formation.The purpose of our annual MissionsConference, held in the fall, is to turnour eyes outward and help us to be
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come a congregation that is equippedto share the gospel locally at home, aswell as become a missionary-cultivatingcongregation that will eventually sendsome of our own out into the elds of harvest (that is why our Missions Confer
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ence looks for creative ways to involveour youth, since that is the likely groupfrom which future missionaries wouldcome).Our rst conference focused on foreignmissions, with a speaker who had beena Wycliffe Bible translator in Papua NewGuinea and shared incredible stories of the power of God’s Word, andchallenged us to open our eyes to seewhat God can do when we offer our
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selves unreservedly to Him. It was, formany, the highlight of 2009. As we met toplan our second conference, we felt ledto have a home missions emphasis, withthe idea that we would rotate betweenforeign and home emphases every yeargoing forward (also allowing us to high
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light World Witness one year, and thenOutreach North America the next).So we invited Dr. Steve Childers tocome from Orlando to Greenville ARP asour guest speaker to deliver challengingaddresses on “evangelism.” And it wasglorious!Dr. Childersspoke three timeson Sunday, andconcluded Mondayevening, winsomely(and effectively!)deconstructing ourfears and anxietiesabout sharing thegospel, and thenshowing us thatevangelism is not so much about method
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ology, as it is about heart.
By Greg Duke, Riverside Presbyterian, Prattville, Alabama
Testimony of God’s Grace and Mercy
This fall, wewitnessed abeautiful pic
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ture of God’s grace and mercy as Benand Amy Phillips renewed their mar
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riage vows before their family and theLord. No, the ceremony was not tiedto a celebration of twenty-ve or ftyyears of marriage; Ben and Amy hadonly been married for 8 years. Allowme to explain.One of our members introduced meto Ben earlier in the spring. Days laterwe met at Cracker Barrel, and after afew moments of small talk, Ben con
-
fessed, “Greg, I’ve been intimatelyinvolved with another woman for sev
-
eral months, and I don’t know what todo.” Even though he knew it would bewrong, he was planning to divorce hiswife Amy and leave his two children
By Rev. Matt Miller, Greenville ARP Church, Greenville, SC
Steve Childers
were properly “qualied” for it.Erskine, on the other hand, insistedthat the gospel was for sinners. Whereverthe Christian found a sinner, he found aman who was “qualied” to be offeredsalvation in Christ. In some, God wouldwork to make them receptive to this of 
-
fer; in others, there would be no suchDivine work. But, all that was incumbentupon the Christian was to offer salvationin Christ to all sinners and to each sinner.That was the Scriptural pattern! Both Je
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sus Himself (John 6:32) and the apostles(Acts 2:39) offered salvation to everyonewho could hear their voices. As Erskinehimself put it: “It is true, indeed, theeternal destination, the purchase and ap
-
plication of redemption is particular onlyto the elect; but the revelation, gift, andoffer, is common to all the hearers of thegospel… Every man has an offer of Christbrought to his door, who lives within thecompass of the joyful sound: and this of 
-
fer comes as close home to him, as if hewere pointed out by name.” The gospelwas to be offered to everyone.Secondly, Erskine was insistent thatthis sinner-directed evangelism must beaccompanied by what we today wouldcall discipleship within the local church.In Erskine’s latter years, a wave of evan
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gelistic revivals broke out in Scotland inwhich travelling ministers would comeinto an area, lead a multi-day revival,and then leave. While Erskine was zeal
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ous for whatever evangelistic assistancethe young Associate Presbyterians couldnd, he insisted that evangelistic ef 
-
fort must come under the auspices of the Associate Church, thereby drawingany converts into that church. Erskine’sconcern was that if evangelistic effortstook place in any other way, those whoostensibly were converted would bedrawn into what he considered to beapostate, false churches. The end result,then, would be to leave these men andwomen more hardened to the true gos
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pel then they had been before the revivalhad come to town. A man was not to bereached with the gospel and then left onhis own; he was to be reached with thegospel and then given a home in a soundlocal church.So, over the course of his ministry,Erskine insisted that the gospel shouldgo out to all sinners and that it shouldaim to draw them in to church-based dis
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cipleship.All of this sounds pretty obvious. Forone thing, I presume no ARP would saythat a man had to be “qualied” in or
-
der to be offered salvation. But do ouractions say otherwise? If we only preachthe gospel and talk about Jesus to thosewho come to a church service or to ourcongregation’s “traditional outreach ac
-
tivity” (Bible School, fall festivals, etc.),are we not making attendance at churchevents the new “qualication” that onemust have in order to be offered the gos
-
pel? Should we not take the gospel to allsinners? Should we not go to the poor andthe elderly who feel unable to come tochurch events? Should we not approach
the self-content who see no need to come
to church events at all? Rather than wait
-
ing for others to “qualify” themselves bybeing “approachable,” we must activelyand creatively seek out the lost, takingthe gospel to every sinner and to everyplace where sinners are found.Furthermore, I presume no ARP wouldsay that once a man is converted, weshould simply leave him to his own de
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vices. But, again, do our actions sayotherwise? Once someone has joinedour congregation, do we expand our oldcircle of friends to include new broth
-
ers and sisters? Do our spiritually maturewomen take younger women under theirwings (Titus 2:1-5)? Do our spirituallymature men disciple younger men (Titus2:6-8)? In an age in which questionableteaching is readily available in print andon the internet; and in which a distinc
-
tion between what is sound and what isnot is seldom made; our churches havean increasing responsibility to shepherdthe sheep that Christ has brought to us.Not leaving newborn Christians to falseteachers, we must care for them dili
-
gently within the church.Ebenezer Erskine’s understandingof evangelism was simple. You take thegospel to sinners– wherever they maybe– and if God uses that gospel to bring aman new life, you give him the devotedattention that a child of God deserves.Simple. Yet we so easily fall into precise
-
ly the sorts of errors that Erskine triedto combat. As ARPs, we are bound fore
-
most by Christ our Lord, but also by ourheritage, to take the gospel to all sinnersand to give diligent congregational careto those whom God saves. May God bepleased to bring an evangelistic fervor toall of us and to grow His Church in thisworld not for our glory, but for His!
... ARP History
Continued from page 1
to move in with the other woman. A fewdiagnostic questions, and other com
-
ments he had made, helped me see thatBen was probably not a Christian. I askedhim not to make any hasty decisions andto prayerfully meditate on a couple of Scriptures that I would give him. I toldhim that though he might not have muchhope for his marriage, I did, and we couldrightfully ask the Lord to be gloried inthis situation. We agreed to meet againin one week.For the next several weeks, Ben andI met over breakfast to look at variousScriptures together. We examined hissin problem, and discussed his covenantresponsibilities as a husband and father.The Lord graciously used this time todraw Ben to Himself. He repented of hissins, and with great joy confessed JesusChrist as His Lord and Savior. Although hehad completely cut off all contact with
the other woman, he knew that he had to
confess his marital indelity to his wife,and he asked that I go with him. As youcan imagine, Amy was utterly devastat
-
ed as Ben tearfully disclosed his sin. Hehumbly offered to move out of the housefor a season, and agreed to do whateverFirst, quoting John Piper, Dr. Childersrepeated time and again, “You cannotcommend what you do not cherish.” If we do not cherish Jesus Christ, it is be
-
cause in our hearts we actually cherishan idol instead (possessions, leisure, arelationship, etc.). Evangelism becomes‘easy’ when you cherish Jesus Christ, inthe same way that grandparents, whocherish their grandchildren, cannothelp but talk about them. Second, Dr.Childers emphasized that evangelismsprings from a heart that is truly bro
-
ken for the lost. He said, “If you wonderhow to reach a certain person or groupof people, start by praying for God togive you a broken heart for them,
A Broken Heart for the Lost Next Door
:
 
Greenville ARP Church Focuses on Home Missions
because the truth of the matter is thatwhen you truly have a broken heart forthem, any methodology will do.”The interest on the part of the con
-
gregation was amazing. Dr. Childersreally connected with the people, andby the conclusion of his last message,there was a palpable earnestness inthe room about becoming instrumentsthrough whom the lost people that arein our daily paths might come to knowJesus Christ and enter into fellowshipwith His Church.Our conference was directed by ourMissions Committee, involved the Men’sand Women’s Ministries and the youth(Men’s Ministry provided the meal Sun
-
day night, Women’s Ministries providedthe meal Monday night, and the youthvoted on which meal was better, whichmotivated them to come each night).We kicked it off on Sunday morning,when attendance is highest, so thatthe maximum number of people wouldbe exposed to the guest speaker fromthe outset, and hopefully choose tocome back that evening and the next.It was a tremendous time for us, andsomething we look forward to doing foryears to come.We hope that one day we will beinviting someone who grew up in ourown church to come back as our guestspeaker.she asked of him.Amy had been a Christian for years,and knew that she had grounds for abiblical divorce. However, I explainedthat she also had a tremendous oppor
-
tunity to express undeserved mercyto Ben and to work towards reconcili
-
ation. Amy chose to be merciful, andafter much prayer, and months of coun
-
seling, Ben and Amy Phillips renewedtheir vows on September 12, 2010. Weare so glad to have them as a testimonyof God’s grace at Riverside Church.
Fellowship at Riverside

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