It is extremely important that the entire area be conscious that your church is after sinners and aware of the fact that at any given service you are trying to reach people for Christ. This will encourage them to bring their loved ones and friends to your services if they want to get them saved. Your church should be known as an evangelistic headquarters in the city.
Let me illustrate. A lady in our city who attends another church recently called me on the telephone telling me that her husband was coming to our services that evening. Then she continued to say that her church was having a musical program, and her husband finally consented to go to a service one time. She knew that the First Baptist Church would try to get him saved. She knew that no musical program ever takes the place of preaching in our Sunday services. She could count on it. She brought him: he was saved. He joined her church after he was saved and is now attending faithfully. Scores of people do this each year.
One lady called me on the phone and said, “I attend another church, but my brother is dying in the hospital and I want you to try to win him.” I asked her why she didn’t call her own pastor. She replied, “He does not specialize in those cases.” But she knew I did. So we reached him for Christ before he died.
This will enable you to be a blessing to other churches as well as your own. It is vitally important for an evangelistic church to be known as such. And even if a sermon is directed to Christians, there should be a strong evangelistic appeal at the end of the message inviting people to come to Jesus Christ.
Now, we do have musical programs, but they are on week nights and announced as such. We do have Christmas programs and Christian movies, but they are at times other than the announced public preaching service. We always have the preaching of the Word of God and a gospel invitation in our Sunday services.
Suppose that a person prays for a lost loved one. Finally, his prayer is answered and the loved one agrees to attend the services. Suppose that this particular service is one where no invitation is given and no evangelistic appeal is offered. What a tragedy this would be! Now I am not saying that everything in the church should be evangelism, but I am saying that everything in the church should ultimately end in the salvation of souls, and that people should know they can bring their lost loved ones to the services at any time to have them hear the message of salvation and have an opportunity to be converted.