Pastor Scott Distler at the Grace Brethren church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, recently challenged his congregation with a unique and startling way to keep unsaved friends and neighbors visible to members of his congregation. Here is his explanation, taken from his blog, which may be read at www.folkslisten.blogspot.com. (photo courtesy Elaine Bendinsky)
If you were here at Grace Church last Sunday you witnessed and hopefully participated in something that you probably have never seen or done before in church. We wrote on the wall of the auditorium.
I don’t mean that we wrote on a paper hanging on the wall. We wrote on the actual wall. We didn’t use washable crayons. We wrote on the wall with permanent marker. That’s right. Go take a look at the wall of our auditorium and in black, permanent marker you will see somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 names written on the wall.
As we ended our series on Jonah we saw how deeply God loves the world. He loved the Ninevites and He loves lost people. The application of the book is that we must also love the lost people around us.
As a result, we ended the morning by having everyone identify three people that they know who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. We call this a “Target Three” list. This is a list that we each are committing to pray for daily, build bridges to regularly, and to partner with the ministries of Grace Church to see these people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
In the past we would encourage each person to come forward and turn in their “Target Three” card. But this time we wanted to do something that would cement this commitment in a far deeper way.
So instead of coming forward and turning in their card, we asked people to take their card to the far wall of the auditorium where we had a hundred permanent black Sharpie markers and to write their “Target Three” names on the wall with the markers.
I first saw this at the church Perry Noble pastors in South Carolina. The walls of their auditorium were white and everywhere you looked, as high as people could reach, there were names of lost people on the walls that their church was praying for. Each day, Perry would walk into that auditorium, see those thousands of names, and be reminded why he does what he does each and every day.
It was an amazing and powerful sight on Sunday to watch our church write their “Target Three” names on the wall of the auditorium. Now, every time we walk into that auditorium on a Sunday morning or any other time we will see those names and be reminded of our need to love lost people and to reach them for the Lord.
Imagine how cool it will be someday when someone on your “Target Three” list comes to know Christ and you can take them over to that wall and show them their name so that they can see that you have been praying for their salvation daily.
Now if it bothers people more that we wrote on the wall of the auditorium than it does that your friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers who don’t know Jesus are going to hell, then we have a whole different problem.
Folks, listen, when we get to heaven and stand before God I doubt very seriously that He is going to say, “You really didn’t reach many people for Me, but that’s okay because you sure had nice clean walls in your church!”
In fact, even God wrote on a palace wall once (read the book of Daniel). The truth is very simple. If God loves lost people, and He does, than so should we! May we be reminded of this every time we come to church and see the names on the wall.