SPRING 2013 • ona-arp.

org

outreach
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

ona
Outreach North America

newsletter

evangelism From the Director
Sharing Your Faith
Dr. John Kimmons Director of Evangelism and Care When was the last time you attempted to share your faith? Are you looking for opportunities? People are often surprised at the situations they find to share their faith when they begin to pray for people and to pray for opportunities. Here are a few suggestions for opening doors to share the grace of Christ. When someone asks how you are doing, you could say, “I am so blessed.” Perhaps this would begin a conversation. Questions are great openers for sharing our faith, for example: “Do you ever think about spiritual things?” Or when comforting someone – you can ask, “May I pray for you, right now?” To evangelize is to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ, and to invite a response. The Holy Spirit does the converting. Your words will be most effective when coupled with deeds of love, a gracious spirit, and a thankful heart. Why share your faith? 1. It gives glory and honor to God 2. It is a wise thing to do (Proverbs 11) 3. We are commanded to do so (Matthew 28) 4. So others can have fellowship with God (1 John 1) 5. Because we love God (greatest commandment) 6. Because we love people (second greatest commandment) I Peter 3:15 says, be prepared always – but share with gentleness and respect. The messenger and the message must be prepared. So where do you begin? 1. Pray for God to prepare your heart and to lead you to those He is calling. 2. Practice bearing witness of what Christ has done in your own life. Tell your family, Sunday school class, and close friends. (Keep it to about 3 minutes). 3. Plan what you are going to say (and use verses that apply): • Begin and end with the love of a gracious God. • Tell of man’s sin and separation from God. • Tell of Jesus (God’s grace gift) securing our salvation through His life, His death in our place, and His resurrection. • Ask them to respond in prayer. • If they trust Jesus – celebrate and pray for them. • Teach them to follow Christ as His disciple. Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. God chose you to be His witness. Trust God, pray, and be open to His leading. Let His love motivate you to do what He has asked you to do. †

The Gospel Still Works
Rev. Clint Davis, Chester (SC) ARP Church I recently heard a preacher on a national radio station use the old cliché: “The gospel still works, and God still saves people through it.” In an evangelical church culture that is increasingly pragmatic and programmatic, this old truth has somewhat fallen out of favor. But at Chester ARP, we have found that it is still true. I want to tell you about three people who have been radically touched by the grace of God in Christ. First, there’s Lauren. She’s grown up in our congregation. She’s gone through our children’s ministries. She’s attended worship regularly since she was a child. Recently, during a middle school youth group meeting, when the teacher was speaking about the gift of God in Christ to be received by faith, Lauren said, “I get it! The gift is eternal life and Jesus paid for it. It’s mine to receive by faith!” The gospel still works. Next, there’s David. David had no church background and had never participated in our congregation, except for the funerals of his dad and uncle. While I visited with David after his dad’s untimely death, he said to me, “I’m scared that I’m not going to see my dad again.” This gave me an opportunity to share the gospel with him. David’s response was, “Life is worth living now that I know Jesus.” In faith, David had given his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. And finally, there’s Michael. Michael is a middle-aged African American with a special needs daughter named India. Many in our congregation have been exceedingly generous to Michael and his family. Through gospel-oriented service to Michael and his family, Michael has come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. We continue to pray for the rest of his family. The gospel still works and God still saves people through it. There is no substitute. We are learning to lean more and more on the gospel “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

page 2

outreach

Testimonies from Christ Presbyterian Church
Christ Presbyterian Church Grove City, PA

The Work of Christ Through Our Church
By Kat Kuciemba Christ Presbyterian Church has drastically changed and shaped the Kuciemba family. My husband, Jonathan, and I have been a part of this church since the time it was simply in the heart and mind of Pastor Iain Duguid. We had been students at Grove City College for a couple years and could not find a church in the area that we were excited about attending. As a result, I would travel an hour and a half home to attend a church there (thus limiting true community). Even though Jonathan and I come from churched backgrounds, neither of us truly loved and embraced reformed theology until we became part of this church. Here we found a community committed to making the name of Christ great and freeing people from the guilt that often weighs them down, especially in the works-based culture so prevalent at Grove City College. Once the evening studies began, we started to LOVE what we were hearing about the effect of God’s grace in our lives. In addition to becoming charter members of Christ Presbyterian Church, we made the decision to stay in Grove City after college because of the work of the church. We were married by Pastor Duguid, and we have grown even more in recognizing HOW MUCH Christ has really accomplished through His grace as we see more of our own depravity. Jonathan has now become an intern and started seminary. We also just had our first son baptized at Christ Presbyterian Church. Needless to say, this church has been instrumental in our growth the past six years in more ways than can be recounted here. It is our family and community to which we are grateful and for which we praise God often. †

Experiencing Grace
By Wayne Houk Christ Presbyterian (or Christ Prez as I like to call it) is the safest church I have ever attended. That might seem like an odd term to use in describing a church. The dictionary confirms for me that the word “safe” encompasses many descriptors that I would use for my experience of this church: secure from injury, danger, or risk; dependable; trustworthy. My story involves many years of experiencing the very opposite of these things. Church had been a place of great injury for me that involved tremendous legalism, church splits, and the belief that God was very angry with me. Church was not a stable place for unstable people, nor were its leaders to be trusted with caring for weak, failing, or vulnerable souls. Wrestling as I was with an extremely legalistic conscience, yet continually failing to keep myself from sin, I lived a very tortured spiritual life that resulted in severe anxiety and despair. When the Lord brought the leaders of Christ Prez into my life, I was adopted into a family that loved and lived out the good news of the gospel of grace. I was invited into a new world of honestly wrestling with real sin, and experiencing the incessant, pursuing love of God in the midst of that struggle. The grace I was taught at Christ Prez was not cheap. I understood how serious my sin was that it required the death of the Son of God. But, in that truth, I finally had access to a gospel that was big, deep, and wide enough for my big, deep, and wide sin. The gospel was brought by real people, giving up real time and giving me real love, not only in the preaching, teaching, and worship, but also in the kitchens, living rooms, and back porches of life. Christ Prez is perfectly named. Without hesitation, it is first on the list of most significant spiritual influences on my life. And because of it, I am so thankful to know Christ more fully, accurately and personally. †

Gospel Everyday
By Larissa Lisk I am delighted to tell you how Christ Presbyterian Church has impacted my family and me! Three years ago I was struggling with significant depression and anxiety as I tried to cope with caring for a newborn without the support of family, nearby friends, or an established church family. My husband, Matt, was very busy, trying to balance family with a demanding work schedule as a medical student. So, our marriage began to suffer. When my husband was on call for whole weekends at a time, my dear brother, Wayne Houk, and my pastor’s wife would come pick up my son and me in York, PA, so we wouldn’t have to be alone. These were desperate times for me, but God caused something powerful to take place in the midst of such distress! During one of my visits to Grove City, I sat in on a Gospel Transformation study led by Barb Duguid. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me, finally, something I had been hearing from Wayne for a long time... the gospel was not merely for my conversion, I need it every day! I began to learn and believe that God is more than a just Judge, He is also truly a loving Father, and as such, welcomes me into His loving, forgiving arms, even when I’m stained and messy. My words cannot relate to you how marvelous a revelation this all was to me. Nor can I explain how God used all this to affect my relationships, my marriage, and my parenting. Matt was blessed by the grace that I was showing him and also learning new things about God himself. This prompted him to select a medical residency in western PA so that we could attend Christ Presbyterian Church. As members, we have continued to enjoy the privilege of being blessed by this church’s ministry. We have the support of loving friends and people who are like family to us. What a joy it has been to

spring 2013
learn more about grace-centered parenting and what it looks like to practice the gospel toward one another! Matt is now about to finish his residency and begin his career as a hospitalist. We are thriving as a young family with a busy almost-4-year-old son and beautiful baby girl. We plan to move to Grove City this summer and are eager to become more involved in the church. Thank you for this opportunity to share our story and express our deep gratitude to the members and leadership of Christ Presbyterian Church. To God be the glory! † Build trusting friendships. I had the privilege of befriending a nurse in her 30s who was willing to come to my office. Over a period of nine months, I got to know her life’s struggles, before she embraced Jesus. I asked questions and waited quietly for her answers. Along the way I told her the gospel, without moving quickly to “close the deal.” She knew that my wife and I cared about her as a person as she joined us for Christmas. Here are some ideas for building trusting friendships: Communicate by texting or email, or meet at a neutral place for coffee. Invite them to a family meal with a group of new and old friends. One of our friends reaches young men by asking them to go hunting. Learn the unbeliever’s world. Over the years at Back Creek, my wife, Jane, and I and many other church members have had the privilege of building friendships with Ph.D. students. Many are from mainland China. These students grew up without any notion of God. We invite them to our home on a regular basis. They celebrate holidays with us like members of our family. As we ask them questions about their culture, and how they view life in the United States, we begin to understand their world. Some have become believers and some have had the seed of the gospel sown. May God cause it to germinate! Lay a gospel foundation. To help a person begin to understand who Holy God is and what He has done requires time, patience, and unconditional love. A genuine conversion requires information: the gospel story; mental assent to the historical truth of that story; and trusting Jesus alone for salvation. Broken people who do not trust anyone can learn to trust again, because they see the work of Jesus in us. Find resources to help. For example: • Timothy Keller’s, The Reason for God • Rosaria Butterfield’s, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert The greatest resource is prayer. Faithfully rely on the love of the Triune God who is always seeking the lost! We may be the only Christian someone knows today. That is a privileged station the Lord has assigned to us! Let’s be an unconditional friend, as Jesus has been to us! Look for Rev. Frazier’s longer article soon in ARP Magazine! †

page 3

Supper Sixes
Good Shepherd Church, League City, TX Rev. Jan Sattem Breaking through complacency is hard. At Good Shepherd Church, we are a very friendly smaller church. Yet, the church has remained fairly small. Now there’s nothing “wrong” with a smaller church - unless you are surrounded by a lot of lost people and you believe that you have been called to reach them! So how are we starting to reach them? We have initiated Supper Sixes (3 units or couples) that meet once a month for a meal. The important thing is for the host to invite an unchurched friend, neighbor or nearby relative. The agenda? Learn about each other; ask questions; listen well; discover common ground; don’t talk church or churchianity; set up the next meeting. When the Supper Sixes started, we had hosts tell us just how well it went. One couple attending had a background in the specific religion which the invited neighbors were questioning. Without being judgmental, the difference between a belief and a religion was clarified. The neighbors want to come again! At another dinner meeting, an unchurched individual had been raised in a spiritually dark part of the world where Christianity does not have an influence. Once again, in a comfortable setting, God’s people had the opportunity to have some great “God talk.” Sometimes, when you have great people in a church, it is up to the leadership to find a structure that showcases their gifts and abilities. For us, at GSC, we are off to a good start and look for an even better finish. Pray that God will use us mightily in the transformation of this area of our country and world. †

Gospel Friendships:
Trust to Span the Divide
Rev. Wayne Frazier Back Creek ARP Church, Charlotte, NC We live in an age of connectivity. Yet, we are disconnected. Do you find it hard to connect with church visitors, unbelieving friends or neighbors? Church guests are unwilling to sign the guest pad. Many weeks may pass before they give a name and even longer for contact information. They wonder, “Can I trust them?” Unbelievers fear the unknown, which is increasingly what the church and Christians are to them. Certainly preaching is a priority, but how do we preach in such a way to reach the hearts of those who believe, as well as those who do not? On Easter, I preached a sermon on Thomas, “Doubters Welcome.” By God’s grace, this facilitated two amazing conversations: one with an opera student and another with an atheist who told me he was part African-American, Japanese and Scottish. He suggested we were distant relatives!

A growing portion of Americans see the church and Christians as a fearful unknown.

Today, it may take a year or longer of friendship before they trust us to talk about the gospel and longer to join us at church. In fact, an early invitation or gospel presentation may end a budding friendship. In 2013, how can we do this?

page 4
Dr. Alan J. Avera, Executive Director At the end of June, after nine years of service with ONA, I will be leaving to become the senior executive for North America for Christianity Explored. I hope to continue serving ARP churches through this new position. Rico Tice, minister of evangelism at All Souls Church in London, England, developed the Christianity Explored evangelistic Bible study in the late 1990’s under the tutelage of the late Dr. John Stott. Christianity Explored aims to help people love, live, and tell the good news of the gospel. I will rent an office at the ARP Center and will continue helping ARP churches through Christianity Explored. Thanks for your support. Rev. Brandon Barrett, Grace Presbyterian Church At Grace Presbyterian Church we have done three Christianity Explored (CE) groups. One with my neighborhood, one in another neighborhood in our target area, and one of our men did it at his workplace during lunch hours. All three of those groups bore fruit in different ways. Through the group that met at our house, our retired neighbors across the street, who have had some church involvement in the past but none for years, have gotten plugged into our church. The group that met in the workplace became the stimulus for many folks to think more seriously about their faith. We’re hoping to offer more CE groups in the future. † www.ceministries.org

outreach

News and Notes from the Field
Christ Church ARP in Denver, NC was organized on February 10. Rev. Morrie Lawing was called as the pastor. Hope Chapel in Greensboro, NC was organized on April 14. Rev. Todd Jones was called as the pastor. Christ Presbyterian in Grove City, PA and Grace Presbyterian in Pontiac, SC will both be organized in May. Compass Church in North Port, FL closed on January 31. New mission: Faith Presbyterian Church in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada. Rev. Stephen Richardson is the supply pastor. Church Planters Breakfast at Synod: Thursday, June 13, 7:00 a.m. Contact the ONA office to sign up. Outreach Newsletter for your church! Contact the ONA office if you would like this newsletter to be sent in bulk to your church. Presbytery Directories of Mission Congregations are available to print from the ONA website (www. ona-arp.org/evangelism/publications/). They are a great tool or bulletin insert to encourage your congregation to pray for church plants in your presbytery.

ona

864.232.8297 x229

1 Cleveland St., Ste. 110 Greenville, SC 29601-3696

General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

Outreach North America

ona@arpsynod.org

Postmaster: Return service requested

www.ona-arp.org

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful