By Mark A. Taylor
A large convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses met last weekend in Indianapolis, on the heels of the North American Christian Convention there Tuesday through Friday. When some JW delegates began arriving on Thursday, a teenager I know said, “I wonder if they’ll go through the hotel, knocking on every door.”
We all chuckled, but later I thought, Wouldn’t it be something if OUR movement were known for persistently sharing what we believe about Christ?
After last week’s convention, that could happen.
President Tim Harlow’s theme for the week was ReMission, a challenge to recommit to the mission that brought Jesus to earth: pointing people to God through himself. “We have only one job,” Harlow said in his sermon at the first main session, “to seek and to save the lost.”
Rick Warren, in a videotaped message presented earlier that evening, reminded attendees, “What God cares about most is bringing lost people to Christ.”
Both of them were pointed with their challenge. Warren: “If your church isn’t concerned about growing, you’re telling people around you to go to Hell.”
Harlow: “The problem with the American church is we don’t want to leave our comfort zone. But our compassion must be greater than our comfort.”
This mandate was echoed again and again throughout the week. A few examples:
Vince Antonucci: “If we’re not friends with people who are far from God, we’re not as close to God as we think we are.”
Liz Curtis Higgs: “Love people. Trust God. He will do the work of drawing those people to himself.”
Craig Groeschel. “It’s not a matter of ‘We want to reach people for Christ,’ but ‘We must reach people for Christ.’”
David Kinnaman: “I can’t express to you any more urgently the need to reach young adults with the gospel.”
Lee Strobel: “You will never regret the investment you’re making into the kingdom of God. You have no idea how God will use you as a link in a chain to lead others to Heaven.”
But these few quotes give only a hint of the compelling challenge, practical help, and encouraging stories contained in these messages. You can hear all of them, and more, at www.gotonacc.org. (Main session messages will be free there till August 11.)
And 12 different convention presenters took time to chat with me in video interviews appearing free at christianstandard.com now.
No one at the NACC was asking attendees to go door-to-door with tracts and Bibles. Instead, as Antonucci advocated, “Lead with love. Jesus always led with love. He gave people truth, but he led with love. Love leads people to repentance. Jesus was a friend of sinners.”
Thousands of those attending NACC last week in Indianapolis left with renewed commitment to becoming that kind of friend in the hometowns where they returned.