Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

What Good Is A Meeting These Days?

Congregations gathering together for what is often term “Gospel Meetings” used to be more common than it is now. Some will say that “Gospel Meeting” is outdated terminology. That is possible, for now we have to explain what we mean by it; we cannot assume that people understand. Whatever we call it, we are gathering for special teaching times to learn and grow in God’s grace and knowledge (2 Pet 3:18).

Years ago, churches held meetings that would last for two weeks or longer. I’ve never been involved in one that long, as it is before my time, but I am told that such meetings generally proved very fruitful. Sometimes dozens of people would be baptized and new congregations would essentially be established instantly in a community. People would flock to hear the gospel preached, and many souls were saved. Of course, churches back then were not competing so much with the entertainment and sports industries. People had more time to get out and hear gospel sermons in person. Today, we are challenged to convince people to “come and see.” Yet that should not stop us from trying.

Those days are gone. Over time, meetings have gotten shorter, and many churches have quit having them altogether. Let’s be clear. There is no biblical mandate for having a particular period of time for meetings. We do so as part of our edification and teaching efforts, and as a local, independent congregation we can make these choices.

Do meetings still accomplish good? We may assume that people do not want to hear the truth, so we might not make as much effort. If we are not careful, we may act as if meetings are a burden to be endured. While there are those with legitimate scheduling issues, we do not want to leave the impression that this is mundane activity that we we do not care to be part of. Meetings are attended less and less these days and the numbers just don’t turn out like they used to. Seats are empty and crying out to be occupied. Will that be the case for us? If we can be here, will we determine to participate?

The preaching of the gospel is still effective for people who love to hear the truth. It is wonderful to see people converted to Christ, but since we don’t see many conversions, we might wonder if they are doing any good. But it’s not just about conversions. If we avail ourselves of the opportunities, we have much to gain! We need not view success in terms of numbers. A meeting is not a failure just because swarms of people did not come forward. What about those souls who were revitalized and refreshed? What about the ones who were forced to do some thinking and studying? What about the ones whose convictions became stronger? What of those who gained moral courage? What of those who we persuaded to become more engaged in talking to people about Jesus outside of the assembly times? Success has many measurements here.

God is able to build us up through His word (Acts 20:32). Christians need to hear the truth continually and a few days’ worth of preaching may have been exactly what we need to be refreshed, renewed, and convicted for working harder for the Lord. If we can turn around and teach someone else, then the efforts of the meeting bear even more fruit, even though we may not realize it or connect those dots at the time.

When we preach God’s word, we are trying to plant and water the seed. God will give the increase (1 Cor 3:6). Christians will be strengthened and, hopefully, new Christians will be born into God’s family. Whatever the case, let’s trust God and His word to do what He wills. Our job is not to judge whether or not someone wants to hear the gospel. Our job is to preach and teach the gospel no matter the response. We cannot excuse ourselves by thinking that no one wants to hear anymore. Even if that were true, we still have the duty before us to proclaim the word (2 Tim 4:2). Our concern is faithfulness to God; He will take care of the results.

A Gospel Meeting is a teaching tool decided upon by a local church. What is not our decision is whether or not we preach and teach God’s word. That we must do! However, a few days of assembling like this can be an effective way of both building up one another and teaching the lost. Meetings lose their effectiveness only when we quit trying. If, then, we are going to have a successful meeting, let’s make the most of the time. Let’s show our appreciation for the work put into the lessons. Above all, let’s plan to glorify God. Plan to be here. Plan to take part and edify one another. Why would a Christian not want to do this? In a world that overloads us, here is an opportunity to take in food for the soul. Are you hungry for it?