GREENSBORO — Studies show that more and more churches are on
the decline or have reached a plateau. Yet, studies also show that most people
will respond positively to an invitation to come to church.
Perhaps the problem, then, is that believers are not doing
enough inviting. “Do we care enough to extend an invitation?” asked Phillip
Davis, pastor of Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte. “We are all
responsible for gathering the harvest.”
Davis was one of the featured speakers for the Feb. 28-March
1 statewide evangelism conference at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church.
When believers get serious about seeing people come to know
Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior they will, as Davis said, reach out to
others and “become the evangelistic program” of the church.
Davis said that only happens when believers begin to see
people like Jesus saw people. Matthew 9:35-38 is just one example of a time
when Jesus showed compassion for people.
He saw how they were “weary and worn out, like sheep without
“Jesus did not just see a bunch of bodies,” Davis said. “He
was moved with compassion; He was stirred at the deepest level.” Jesus saw all
their worry, hurt and anger — He knew their hearts.
Davis challenged church leaders to ask themselves whether or
not the church they serve is a place known for being compassionate. Care for
others happens when the church takes time to get to know people and to really
see who they are.
“What we notice about people reveals more about us than it
does them,” Davis said. If all the church is known for is being critical and
judgmental, that says more about how the church is abiding in Christ than it
does about the ones being judged.
“What do you see when you see your family?” Davis asked.
What do believers see when they see friends, neighbors and co-workers?
“Jesus didn’t just see an adulterous woman,” Davis said. “He
looked at her need for forgiveness and love. Jesus saw people and He saw their
One reason believers may be slow to offer compassion instead
of judgment is because they have forgotten what it was like to be lost. They
have forgotten what it was like to live in darkness without the light of life
that is Jesus Christ.
The question Davis asked that must be answered, but only
with humble and repentant hearts, is: “When we see someone caught in the grip
of sin does it disgust us or move us to compassion?”
Davis seemed to plead with those in attendance to never
allow their hearts to grow cold to the gospel or to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
The scene in Matthew 9 is one that could just as easily
describe communities throughout North Carolina and around the world: people
needing direction; needing someone to heal physical sickness and spiritual
Davis asked leaders to consider what Jesus meant when He
called the people sheep. Sheep are not very smart, they are not quick and
“without a shepherd will wander aimlessly for days until they die.”
Without a personal relationship with Jesus, the Savior and
Good Shepherd, people are just like sheep wandering through life without
direction or meaning. Believers must care enough about the souls of human
beings that they are obedient to sharing what it means to know the Shepherd.
“The longer we go without a shepherd the more empty life
becomes,” Davis said. “Fulfillment is something you and I have now, because as
Christians we know where we came from, why we are here and where we are going.
Jesus gives protection and direction for life.”
In Matthew 9 Jesus instructed His disciples to pray for God
to send workers into the harvest, for the harvest is abundant but the workers
Davis reminded the audience that serving God and telling
others about Him is a privilege. The church must step up and do what God has
commanded the church to do.
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