"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
How is your church going to grow? Will it grow by fine-tuning worship, the preaching, the Christian education programs, and the like? Or will it grow by making strategic assessments of the people it is most likely to reach and focusing the ministries of the church on the goal of offering the gospel to those people? In this brief, practical book Harold Percy helps congregations answer these critical questions about their mission and ministry.
After assisting the reader with the crucial issue of motivation, Percy lays out the four main groups of people that any congregation can and should seek out: 1. Those in the pews; 2. Those who walk in; 3. Friends and family of current members; 4. Those who live in the neighborhood. Percy argues that these four types of people represent the congregation's best opportunity to lead people to become committed disciples of Jesus Christ. He offers solid, easy-to-follow advice on how churches can understand the needs of these groups and reach out to them.