JERSEYVILLE, Ill.—Churches of the Illinois-Missouri Association of Baptist Churches discussed ministry effectiveness in the 21st century at the association’s spring conference. Delhi Baptist Church hosted the event April 4 and 5, inviting Jim Tillotson, president of Faith Baptist Bible College, to speak on “God’s Masterpiece: The Church.”
“We live at a time when many churches have fallen prey to methodological experimentation,” says Bernie Augsburger, state representative of the Illinois-Missouri association. “The saying, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ with a different ministry approach is the goal of these churches. While new approaches to ministry can be valuable and even necessary, we must use wisdom regarding the programs we introduce; and we must always measure them by Scripture.”
Tillotson says effective church ministry focuses on evangelism and edification; however, many churches have lost their evangelistic passion. He identifies four symptoms of having lost a sense of mission: (1) when prejudice blinds us to the needs of the lost, (2) when we stop being impressed with God, (3) when we tend to be good starters but poor finishers, (4) and when we lose our sense of urgency about the lost.
“The harvest is still ripe, but the laborers are few,” Augsburger says. “Witnessing to the lost should be a lifestyle—not just a program. Our goal in effective church ministry should be to encourage more one-on-one witnessing, rather than being dependent upon church outreach programs to help us reach the lost.”
- Listen to Jim Tillotson’s conference messages at delhibaptistchurch.org. He spoke on “The Mission of the Church,” “The Meadowland Story,” “Church Planting: Lessons I Have Learned,” and “Reaching the Lost: Lessons I Have Learned.”