This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti’s series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ.
1 Nephi 8 describes Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life. A key moment in the dream occurs right after Lehi tastes the fruit of the tree (which we later learn represents the Love of God and Jesus Christ). Rather than keeping it to himself, Lehi immediately has a desire to share what he has found with his family, so he begins to seek them out to share it with them (verses 12-18). I’ve always felt that this is a great example for each of us, that we should all have a desire to share the gospel with others.
The Apostle Philip follows this example after meeting Jesus. He immediately goes and finds his friend Nathanael and says, “We have found him! The one who Moses and the prophets wrote about — Jesus of Nazareth!” As has happened to many of us when trying to share the gospel, Nathanael is not immediately receptive, saying “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Realizing that words will not be enough to convince him, Philip finally just says, “Come and see,” and Nathanael is then introduced to Jesus. (See John 1:45-51.)
Many of us do the same today, inviting people to church to “come and see.” We do this because we have a desire to share the gospel and see the church grow. However, perhaps we’ve become discouraged because such invitations are rarely accepted. Why should this be? While it’s true that many people are just not interested in church today, there are some who would consider it. How do we reach them? The answers may lie within ourselves:
- Is my life indicative of a servant of God? Do people who know me see me as a person of love, joy, faith, integrity, etc.? Those who know me will likely assume that my fellow church members are a lot like me, so will they envision a body of Christ or just a group of people who get together for meetings?
- Can I describe (even briefly) why this is “The Church”? Saying it’s the church I’ve always attended or it’s where my family attends isn’t quite the same as saying we’ve found the Christ (or the Church) that the prophets wrote about.
- Do I have a personal testimony that I can share? Being able to relate personal answered prayers and miracles or how my life has changed since knowing Christ makes the Church sound a lot more attractive to someone who is truly seeking.
OK, so I can answer Yes to all of the above questions. I invite a few people to come and see and they accept. When these visitors come to church, what exactly will they see?
- Will they see people who are loving and welcoming? Will they see people who are united for the cause of Christ? Will they see people?
- Will they hear the Word of God preached in power? Will they hear testimonies that illustrate how God is blessing the members of this church?
- Will they feel that this is a haven from the fear and division in the world? Will it feel like the people are communing with the Lord Himself? Will they feel the Spirit of God emanating from these people?
While it’s true that it’s the Lord who converts people, He uses people like us to bring new people to Him. Saying “Come and see” is a good thing to do, but remember that how much the Lord is reflected in your life will make a difference in whether people you know will COME and how much the Lord’s presence is felt in our gatherings will contribute to whether the visitors SEE Christ in our church.
With the challenges we currently face in the world, it may seem like our primary mission is to get ourselves to church. It isn’t. Our primary mission is unchanged — to bring the gospel to those who don’t know the Lord. Our names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We have already tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life. We need to share it with others. Don’t let any force on earth take our focus from the goal of building up the kingdom of God on earth — that will be something to Come and See!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
Very well said and inspiring! I wish I could invite someone to church as I was invited and share the gospel with someone new. One day. Thanks for another great read brother Jerry!
Three very powerful conversion items:
1. 3rd Nephi chapters 8-28 (in the Book of Mormon).
2. William Bickerton’s Testimony (booklet).
3. The Divine Continuity of The Church of Jesus Christ (booklet by Joseph Calabrese).
… and the gifts of the Spirit manifested during the meetings.