As Deacon of Evangelism at our church, I’m always on the prowl for creative ideas to reach friends and family members for Christ. Recently I came across an attractive brochure on a visitor’s kiosk entitled, Eternal CPR. It contained a listing of coded events and ministries offered at the church. Events tagged with a C were programs providing an occasion to cultivate relationships with unbelievers like a shopping spree or an outing to an art museum. Ministries marked with a P for planting offered exposure and interaction with God’s Word such as a weekly book discussion of Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life at a local coffee bar. And finally, R stood for reaping activities where the gospel is clearly shared and the opportunity made for people to not only consider the claims of Christ, but to accept them and enter into a relationship with the Lord. My church offers an investigative Bible which would be considered an R activity and is entitled, Clueless About Christianity. Several times throughout this twelve week course salvation is explained and people are invited to receive Christ as their Lord.
Our women’s ministries is adopting the CPR idea this year on a trial basis to see if we can not only enhance outreach, but also measure our ministry in terms of evangelistic passion and provision. If it is successful other church ministries may consider identifying their format in terms of Eternal CPR in the future.
The Lord Jesus’ personal ministry reflects all three aspects of Eternal CPR. He cultivated relationships with unbelievers by spending time with them in groups and one on one. We find Him having dinner with Matthew’s acquaintances and engaging the woman at the well in conversation. He planted the seed of God’s Word among the crowds He often addressed and in the many parables He taught His own disciples. He challenged His followers to consider His claims and to receive His forgiveness of sins. And although frequently rejected He continued to cultivate, plant and reap regardless of the results of His efforts.
Is Eternal CPR reflected in my life and in yours? Are we continually engaging non- Christians by intentionally spending time with them? Do our children see us cultivating friendships with unbelievers? Do they see us “hang” with sinners and tax collectors? Are we involved in planting activities in order to expose our friends to God’s Word and His love for them such as neighborhood Bible studies, MOPS, and Christmas Coffees? Finally, are we about the task of reaping? Can we adequately share the gospel with a friend and invite them to receive the Lord Jesus? Do we have a plan to bring a friend we are praying for and sharing with to an event or an activity where they will clearly hear the gospel and be provided with an opportunity to invite Christ into their life?
As we examine our priorities and our schedules we may need to make some adjustments to ensure we have time and energy for all three aspects of Eternal CPR. But in this case, is not the price tag worth the sacrifice? What greater purpose may our lives fulfill than seeing our friends spend eternity in Christ’s presence?
A portion of the Scriptures I memorized with two friends has encouraged me to consider Eternal CPR in my own life. I thought perhaps you might like to memorize these words along with us, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).
· Invite someone to make jam or can applesauce together.
· Throw a spontaneous potluck supper together with neighbors.
· Plan a creative memories day or evening with a friend.
· Call a family and invite them to join you for a simple birthday celebration.
· A friend of mine has her teenage daughter’s friends over weekly for Survivor and popcorn. Not your cup of tea? Ask your child or grandchild what their friends would like to come over for: pizza, movie, a game night?
· Visit an amusement or water park with a family from the neighborhood.
Start a knitting, beading, or what-ever-is-in among moms at your child’s school. (I started attending a knitting group at our elementary school called Knit Wits even though I’m a novice in order to meet other moms.)