Have you ever wondered how people who have no affiliation with a church family get through life? When you think back to some of the darkest times in your life, for many of us, the church family we were a part of was one of the greatest supports during that storm. This is not by accident; the people of God are designed to fill that exact role and function as part of God’s Family. Lanny Wolfe, in 1974 said it well when he penned the song, “God’s Family.” When a brother meets sorrow, we all feel his grief. When he’s passed through the valley, we all feel relief. Together in sunshine, together in rain, together in victory through His precious name. Sometimes we laugh together. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we share together, heartaches and sighs. Sometimes we dream together of how it will be… when we all get to Heaven, God’s family. Anyone who has been a part of the Lord’s Church long enough can relate to these heartfelt sentiments.
Has it ever occurred to you while singing this song that most of the people who you work with, go to school with, are friends with, and live beside… have no idea what this song is talking about? Being a part of God’s family is not something most people can relate to. When tragedy strikes them, when storms of life come, and when pain and loss abound… what do they have to lean on? Christians have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock, which cannot move. The world lacks that anchor. One of the greatest evangelistic tools Christ has given us is a family grounded firm and deep in His love.
When we take someone from a background and culture of “every man for himself,” and place them into an atmosphere of God’s Family… it is something they will never forget. This is the goal and purpose of step nine in the evangelism process, to show them God’s family and ASSOCIATE them with as many people as possible. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived; evil companions corrupt good morals.” The opposite must be true in that righteous companions promote good morals. So if we take the lost and place them among the saved, we must believe that Christ through us can change their lives forever. This is why we do step nine! Showing our neighbor God’s family is the same as showing them the Lord Himself. We are His Body.
I am reminded of the Apostle Andrew, who is forever known as the one who brought others to the Lord. In John 1:35-42, Andrew can be found as one of the very first followers of Jesus and not only that but as the one responsible for bringing Peter to Jesus. We all know the impact Peter had on the New Testament. He walked on water and was the clear leader of the apostles. He was a pillar of the Church in Jerusalem. He preached at Pentecost, wrote two epistles, and even became an elder of the Church (1 Peter 5:1). Everything Peter did, everything he accomplished… goes back to his brother Andrew saying, “We have found the Messiah,” in John 1:41. Not only did Andrew TELL Peter about Jesus… “He BROUGHT him to Jesus,” in John 1:42. In John 6, Andrew is responsible for bringing the boy with the five loaves and two fish to Jesus, and indirectly responsible for the feeding of the five thousand. In John 12, Andrew is responsible for bringing a group of Gentiles to Jesus who wished to meet Him. John brought others to Jesus. We can bring others to Jesus through God’s Family.
If your neighbor accepts your invitation in step eight, the perfect opportunity is laid before you to practice step nine! Associate them with as many people as possible within the Church. Introduce them to an elder, a friend of yours, a person you know they would hit it off with. By now, in the evangelism process, we know all the likes and dislikes of our neighbor, and we know who they will enjoy spending time with. This step shows them that it is not just you, that you are not the only Christian following God’s Word as the only guide to life. This shows them that you are only a part of a whole group of people that are simply trying their best to follow the pattern revealed to us through Scripture. Lastly, it shows them how they can be a part of this family too. Not only that they can, but that we welcome and implore them to become a part of the Body of Christ. The knowledge of being able to be a part of something so great may never have seemed attainable to them.
Although Andrew does not receive the fanfare of a Peter or the respect of a Paul… his impact on the story of the Gospel is profound… all because he was able to bring others to Christ. He knew that if he could bring them to Christ, that Jesus would do the rest. The same is true today in our lives. If we can bring our neighbors to see the love, the compassion, the support, and the family found in the Body of Christ… Jesus can do the rest. Sometimes we sing the song, “God’s Family,” and totally forget how horrible it would be not to know what it felt like to be a part of it. That is the case for the majority of people we interact with daily. Without our intervention in their lives, they will likely never experience the sentiments expressed in that lovely song. Step nine is a call for all of us to show them what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a part of God’s Family, the Body of Christ.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism