Over the course of the past 12 months, my family and I have been happily attending Gospel Light. We’ve greatly enjoyed making friends with the “regulars” and the “not-so-regulars” in the church family. We agree with Pastor Giardino’s assertion that church attendance is a must for Christian growth. Pastor highly recommends attending several times a week in order to become intertwined with the church family, be regularly fed the Word, and to be actively involved with church functions. Nevertheless, we can all agree that, for the “not-so-regular” folks, some church is better than no church.
Likewise over the last year, we’ve seen a seemingly constant stream of events and activities at Gospel Light. Unlike some other churches, where actives tend to be social gatherings meant for entertainment, Gospel Light is focused elsewhere. Our church has three primary goals; our pastor has taught this to be I.O.U.: 1.) In-reach (growth & preparation of our church members, 2.) Out-reach (reaching the lost & leading them to salvation), and 3.) Up-reach (worship of the Lord our God).
And again, over the course of those last 12 months, we’ve witnessed how Gospel Light has been graced with many visitors, both during our services and outreaching events. During service, visitors are warmly acknowledged, given an information packet, and at most church events, invited to come forward. More than a few have answered the call to be saved.
However, we must not deceive ourselves; soul winning is often a heart-breaking business. Ask Pastor Giardino about lost sheep. I can’t help but wonder what becomes of these new Christians who chose not to attend Gospel Light. The onus is squarely on the backs of those individuals; whether or not a person truly commits in their heart to repent and follow Jesus is between them and the Lord. Pastor Giardino and others can attempt to counsel them on how they should begin their Christian walk, but ultimately they must make the decisions on whether to attend church and let the Spirit enter their hearts. Pastor Giardino’s Comment: “Tricky stuff to try to figure out. People don’t have a clue what they want … then they ‘stumble’ across a progressive church that their flesh is a-liking!”
Consequently, upon thinking back to the days after I was saved, I can understand the difficulties and obstacles that lay in the path of a new Christian, and perhaps you can too. The carnal “old ways” needed to be examined, sometimes for the first time in my life, and dealt with. What was I going to keep in my life, what needed to be changed, and what was to be discarded? Some habits, possessions, and even friends and family, were enormously difficult to come to grips with. You don’t become the perfect saint overnight. We can remember all the circumstances and excuses that kept us away from church and the body of Christ. We can bring to mind today’s struggles with our own walks with God. So we can understand the trials that our newly saved brethren are going through, as an enraged Satan tries to derail them. They need our prayers, our encouragement, our understanding, and our patience, just as God is long-suffering and patient toward us. May God bless you as you pray.