An owner of a small, crossroads store was appointed the local postmaster. But six months after his appointment, not one piece of mail had left the village. When concerned postal officials from Washington investigated, the local postmaster explained, "Well, it's simple; the bag ain't full yet."
Once there was a church board that decided it wanted its congregation to grow numerically. An evangelism committee was chosen. The first thing the committee did was read every book and article they could find on church growth. The second was to ask persons in the congregation what they thought of when they heard the word "evangelism."
They discovered that many people were unsure of what exactly evangelism is. Some had negative images, thinking evangelism is people in the street shouting "repent, repent, repent" or handing tracts out to strangers. It was something other churches did but not their church.
The evangelism committee was both surprised and challenged by the results of their informal survey. The committee understood evangelism as something Jesus commanded of all believers. They focused on Jesus' teaching: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) Believing that the church should be always reaching out to others, they devised a plan to attract new people to their church.
Full of enthusiasm, they shared their plans with the congregation only to get a mixed reaction. Many of the members were like the postmaster who wouldn't deliver the mail until the bag was full. "Before we go after new members, we should try to win back members already on our rolls," some said. "I like the church the way it is now," said others. Someone summed it up best: "Who wants strangers in our church? We should just stick to our own."
May we not forget that Jesus is counting on you and me and our churches to help God’s people experience his saving love.