From the pastor
LESSONS FROM THE RECENT BILLY GRAHAM MISSION (Summer 1998)
As a member of the organizing Committee and active in the Mission itself, I want to share a few lessons I learned (or was reminded of) that we at Parkwood need always to remember.
1. PRAYER IS THE KEY
From the very beginning when a group of us got together seven years ago to pray for God's leading and came away believing that the time was not right to invite Dr. Graham to Ottawa, to the meeting when we (and Dr. Graham) believed that 1998 was the right time, to the very end of the Mission, prayer was central. When we asked Dr. Graham what we could do in preparation for the Mission, he said, "pray". Let us always wait upon God for direction, for planning and the implementation of everything we do at Parkwood.
2. KNOW WHY WE EXIST
The Mission committee knew from the very beginning that our main purpose was to help people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That purpose kept our focus on target. Do we know why we exist as a congregation? Our purpose is clear: TO ENABLE INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES TO DISCOVER, GROW IN, AND SHARE IN THE LOVE OF GOD FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST. We must always be careful to promote programs to fulfil our mandate.
3. BE FAITHFUL IN PROCLAIMING THE WORD OF GOD
It is not fashionable these days to claim the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. But it is, and we must claim it to be so, and proclaim its truth.
4. OPERATION ANDREW IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE EVANGELISTIC TOOL AVAILABLE TODAY
Taking it's cue from the disciple Andrew who was known for bringing people to Jesus, Operation Andrew involves a simple commitment to pray for specific people and then when the door opens to invite them to come with you to hear the Gospel. 90% of those who made commitments to Christ at the Billy Graham Mission were brought by someone. We need to incorporate an Operation Andrew program into the life and witness of Parkwood.
5. UNITY OF SPIRIT COMES FROM WORKING TOGETHER WITH A COMMON GOAL
Over 40 denominations were active in organizing the Billy Graham Mission. There was an uncommon oneness as people from various religious traditions, prayed, studied, worked and witnessed together, with the single goal of winning men and women, youth and children to Christ.
6. THE CHURCH MUST FIND WAYS TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO VERBALLY AND PHYSICALLY EXPRESS THEIR NEW COMMITMENT OR RECOMMITMENT TO CHRIST
Following Christ was always a visible and verbal declaration that one had turned the corner leaving his old life behind and beginning a new life in Christ. We must find ways at Parkwood to allow people to declare their faith in Christ.
7. AFTER CARE IS CRITICAL
The Billy Graham Organization knows this, and places great emphasis on follow-up, helping new believers, and recommitted believers to be nurtured and surrounded by like minded people. We also must make this a priority at Parkwood. Other people will have learned many others things at the Mission. These have been some of my observations.