Reverend Mary Brown, M. Div., Discipleship Committee Chair
Does the Church in America need a heart transplant? Has it stopped beating? Christian church attendance has been flat or declining for the last several decades. Thom Rainer, guest speaker at the EPC General Assembly in 2015, said that on a national level people are attending Sunday morning worship less frequently. My guess is this also translates to fewer people in Sunday School classes and at church-related programs and events. At our church, visitors tend to already be believers in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we must face the unpleasant reality that most churches in our country are not growing and are not reaching the lost.
Has the heart of the American Church stopped beating? Does it need CPR?
We can learn much from Christians around the world. In the fall of 2014, I traveled to India on a mission trip to serve with a team of American women alongside the India Gospel League. While there, we taught at Women with a Mission conferences and amazingly there were hundreds of women in attendance at these two-day events! Near the end of each gathering the women were asked to sign a card committing to do personal and relational evangelism in their villages by discipling one new believer for one year. I was thoroughly amazed when a majority of the women committed to living out The Great Commission by coming alongside new believers and helping them learn to follow Jesus. Especially knowing that this pledge could mean persecution- or worse- for them! WOW! I turned to my friend and said, “We need to do this in America!”
What would happen if every local church in America recommitted to Jesus’ method of evangelism and discipleship? How much further would the kingdom of God be advanced in your local community if every member of your church committed to sharing the gospel with family members, co-workers, friends, and neighbors? What would it look like if you and your church led the way?
The heartbeat of the Church since its first century beginnings has been the sharing of the gospel. It is the power of God that grants salvation to those who believe! In Jesus’ earthly ministry he modeled this very same method for us that is being used in India- sharing the gospel of grace and discipling new converts through relationship. Jesus was committed to making disciples. Shouldn’t we be also? After all, Jesus gave each of us the Great Commission “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
So, what would happen if every Christian within their local church faithfully and fearlessly committed to following Jesus’ example, just as the women in India have done? Evangelist and publisher D.L. Moody once said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man (or woman) fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man (or woman).”
Could that one woman be you?
If you feel God calling you to make this commitment to share the gospel and help others grow in their relationship with Jesus but don’t know where to get started, please visit our discipleship page at www.epc.org/ministries/The Well:Women’s Resources. We are developing a pathway of discipleship and are committed to helping you make disciples one at a time!
Let’s get the heart of the Church pumping again! The CPR begins with you!
Mary Brown is an Associate Pastor at Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. She provides pastoral care and counseling, leads the Soul Healing Ministry, Women’s Ministry, support groups and discipleship groups. She has bachelor degrees in Psychology & Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas. Mary loves to camp and fish with her family. She also loves being near the ocean. Funny thing for a gal who has lived her whole life in the state of Kansas. Mary and her husband, Dan, both grew up in Overland Park and have two adult sons, DJ and Zach.