My Perspective on Six Questions about Vision 2020: Seeing Jesus Clearly

On Monday afternoon/evening, July 20, 2020, at the Sandy Downs Arena, there will be a family-oriented, gospel event for the public.

  1. Has Idaho Falls ever organized city-wide gospel events in the past?   In fact, in the ’90s, the historic, local Evangelical Ministerial Association (EMA) held events for three consecutive years. All the local churches who participated experienced ongoing conversations and discipleship opportunities.
  2. Are city-wide gospel events artificial or “flash-in-the-pan”? If we thought evangelism to be limited only to a preacher in a church service, Christian concert, or Christmas/Easter event, we are in trouble.  Christians are not to be spectators in seats watching only a select few down in the field carrying out the Great Commission.  All Christians are all called to be actively making disciples for Christ.  This takes place in the relationships all around us throughout the week.  My hope is not simply in a one-time event, but in the ongoing gospel conversations leading up to a city-wide gospel event and then all the conversations following the event.  Our hope is in the gospel being lived out and shared in relationships Sunday through Saturday every week in eastern Idaho.  Yet a city-wide event is just one of the helpful tools in the box for encouraging and strengthening believers in their witness for Jesus.
  3. Out of 100 people who might make decisions in a city-wide gospel event, can you even count on one hand the number of those people who will be active in a local, Bible-believing church a year later? First, let me answer that question with a question. Is there not an eruption of praise in heaven over one lost sheep who is truly found and brought home?    All the time, talent, and financial treasure wrapped up into an event where one man, woman, or child experiences life regeneration and is placed on a path trajectory of following Christ as Lord for the rest of their lives—it is worth it all!  Second, we all know that the path of discipleship involves a lot of watering, many little influences, and decisions; and there are different types of soil conditions to reckon within human hearts.  Third, we all must be committed to journeys of discipleship with people through the ups and the downs, the good and the ugly, and be patient. We are to be diligent in teaching Christianity 101 among all our contacts. And then we are to ultimately understand that we plant and water, but it is God who gives the increase.  To God be the glory.
  4. Is a city-wide gospel event too much of a financial cost? Not in my estimation. But I do think the money spent on cars, furniture, clothes, motels, restaurants, movie tickets & popcorn, and specialty coffee drinks in Idaho Falls can get a little crazy at times.
  5. Don’t you need a big name like Greg Laurie and nationally known Christian bands to draw a crowd? I can’t tell you how excited I am to simply hear one of our local pastors, Pastor James Runcorn, who lives and loves among the people of our city, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  Same for musicians.  This is not to say that we might have nationally known evangelists come to Idaho Falls in the future.  I think it would be terrific to have a three-day “Celebration of Hope” with Will Graham in 2023 or so.  But I am just as happy to hear our local, faithful proclaimers of Christ’s gospel who are in the conversations year-round.
  6. Who is joining in on the promotion of Vision 2020? We ask for participating churches to be in alignment with the faith of historic Christianity as laid out briefly in the Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition’s Statement of Faith and Affirmations.  And we invite all who have a passion for Christ’s gospel, the redemption story laid out in the Bible, to join us.  “We express the unity of all believers in Christ on the basis of our measure of consensus in confessing the Gospel. . . . In all dimensions and aspects of our inter-Christian relationships, the Gospel is at the heart of who we are and what we do.”  What a thrill it is, to sing the gospel, to preach the gospel, and to live the gospel together in eastern Idaho.  Back in the pioneering days, there was a slogan for Northwest Idaho Missions – “The gospel to the farthest man back.” For Vision 2020, it is our desire for every man, woman, and child in eastern Idaho to have the opportunity of seeing Jesus clearly.

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