In almost every seminar, during our private elders’/preachers’ session, I am asked, “Do you have any suggestions for reaching our brethren who are not returning to the worship assembly?” In just about every church of Christ, attendance is down 25-50 percent. It is hard to wage an all-out war to seek and save the lost when the army is suffering with such internal losses. Since January, we have been encouraging churches to add these names to their contact list and to begin sending “Compassion Cards.” Once the cards are sent, the soil is ready to receive the seed. It is the same principle as with non-Christians.

During your Sunday evening “Compassion Card” meeting, why not add missing members to the list? COVID-19 has not only attacked our physical body, it has also attacked the spiritual body. Write cards to encourage Christians who have grown spiritually distant and weak. Since restoration is a congregational work (Galatians 6:1-2), tapping the power of the pews is essential and impactful. We would suggest using the “Praying for You” or “We Miss You” categories. A link for the website can be found below. Here are a few examples of what you might say:

“Dear Brother and Sister _________, The past year has been difficult for everyone. We know you have suffered along with so many others from this virus. Perhaps the greatest of all suffering is from the lack of congregational unity, fellowship, and worship. We are so thankful that our assemblies are now open, and we cannot wait to see you.”

“Dear Brother and Sister _________, It is our sincere prayer that the church is able to come back together as a family and worship again. We have missed you dearly. Every time we see your empty pew, our hearts are sad. We pray you can soon return to the Lord’s Day assembly and enjoy the edification and fellowship of the church. In short, we love you and miss you.”

Sadly, we need to start evangelizing our own. It is difficult to be upset after an overwhelming effort of love sent by your Christian family. Imagine the impact on the families who receive dozens of cards over the next few weeks!  In fact, we do not have to theorize what might happen; we actually know what is happening. Congregations are reporting immediate results as families are returning. Compassion cards not only till the soil of the lost; they also fertilize the soil of the saved! “Of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22).

Congregational Reports

BCS, College Station, Texas: Wes Mangan reports, “Sydney Polk is one of our college students. She studied with Ruthie using Back to the Bible. She was baptized last Wednesday evening.”

North Jefferson, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: Kris Groda reports, “My son Kaden finished his first Bible study, and Kayla put her Lord on in baptism. This is the niece of our associate minister Jeff. The Johnsons have completed book 2 with the Mowerys. There will be a workday this coming Saturday at their place in the country to help cut down some trees. Pictures to come. The elders are restoring the work of mailing HTH, and we will start the “Welcome Wagon” to welcome newcomers. We had our organizational meeting last night for our compassion card teams. The work will officially begin Sunday. We have had another visitor who has found a good connection to our members and has enjoyed the worship services of the church. He came early for worship and got in on the last part of our auditorium Bible study. He thought it was very interesting—we are studying Believe the Bible, book A. His name is Rodney Forsythe.”

Beattie Road church of Christ, Albany, Georgia: Charles Harris reports, “Yesterday I finished working through the Back to the Bible series with the congregation. Next Sunday I plan to preach a sermon based on the fact that, since we now have a method to use for teaching others, let us use it. We have our new mover basket and visitor bag groups set. I plan to start making some New Mover visits this week. As we get more baskets put together, I have some in mind several husbands and wives to help with making visits. We have set up the congregation into two teams for card writing with team leaders for each card-writing group. Hopefully, within two weeks we will begin the card bombing process. A card writing, new mover basket, and visitor bag room has been set up. Yesterday at our evening service, Nick Mick was baptized. Joe and Tabatha began a study with Nick a few months ago. Other members have been encouraging him along the way. It has been a group effort, and that has been wonderful to see. There are other studies taking place, and we hope to have more baptisms soon. Starting April 18, we are having Bible school again. One of the classes that will start on that day will be a New Convert class. My elders will be taking turns teaching that class using brother Bates’s book, Growing in Christ. So far, we have six students for that class. Hope to add more soon.”

Coweta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum reports, We had another blessed week. We completed Lesson 2 of BTTB with John Allen. He received it well. He came to church Sunday and wanted to go through Lesson 3. Prior to beginning Lesson 3, he shared his story of how he was “saved.” He said he was saved first and then was baptized later at mass baptism at the denomination he attended. We then began the Lesson 3 study. As we progressed through the study, he began to recognize that his baptism had not been scriptural. He immediately requested to be baptized. We were happy to accommodate! He was back Sunday evening for worship service and is excited about his new walk with God according to the Scriptures! We also finished Lesson 1 with another young man whose girlfriend is a member. He was receptive and Lesson 2 is scheduled. Please keep these studies in your prayers as we continue to evangelize as a congregation!”

Cordova church of Christ, Tennessee: Bruce Hatcher, preacher, recently attended the HTHSOE advanced evangelism seminar at the Memphis School of Preaching. He was so encouraged by the training, he took it back to his elders and scheduled a seminar for the congregation. Bruce immediately started using Back to the Bible. His first conversion was his son! Praise God! -Rob Whitacre

East Ridge church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tennessee:  Luke Griffin reports, “I just had to share with you what happened last night when Charlie and I made our visit. Ms. Judy had sent a card thanking us for sending HTH to her. When I shared with her that I worked with House to House, she invited us in because she wanted to show me something. She pulled out a book with copies of HTH in it. She told us how she is like a grandma to the children in the neighborhood and showed me how they come over and answer the quizzes. We gave her some bookmarks to give them as prizes and she was thrilled.

She grew up in the Church of God but is now going to the Baptist Church. She was thrilled to hear we have evening and Wednesday services, and said “that’s real church.” She said they haven’t done that since covid. She also said that she can tell from HTH that we teach the Bible and is sad that so many others don’t do that anymore. We invited her to services, and she said she will probably come on a Sunday evening. We plan to make a follow-up visit with her, and I think she will be receptive to a Bible study. Please pray for this effort.

Charlie also told me that there are two other members that he is aware of that have studies this week. Charlie is going along as a silent partner on one tonight. Please pray for these studies as well.