Christian leaders throughout the nation say the focus for their churches and ministries for 2012 will be an increased effort to reach people with the saving Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Whether it be from the platform of their church’s pulpit or through a specific ministry, pastors and ministry leaders say they want to advance what they already have been called to do – tell others about God’s grace.
The answers to which methods the Good News is shared by Christian leaders may be many, but one thing is clear, pastors made their presence increasingly known on the Internet in 2011. Through the continued mastery of social media and effective websites, they plan to continue their online evangelism in 2012.
Megachurch pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren, who has nearly a half-millionTwitter followers, told pastors at his year-end webcast that they need to continue to make use of social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as a part of their ministries.
“I want pastors to dominate Twitter,” said Warren, whose church is based in Lake Forest, Calif. “We don't want celebrities dominating these things, we want pastors using this for the Good News.”
Harvest Ministries pastor Greg Laurie told The Christian Post that his ministry’s focus in 2012 will be on a nationwide evangelistic event that will use the latest technology to expand on the successful Harvest Crusades.
The event, called “Harvest America,” will use HD streaming video, radio, and TV to “extend what we are doing here in Southern California at Angel Stadium to a nationwide audience,” Laurie said.
“Our goal is to reach as many people in the next 1000 days as it has taken us to reach in 22 years of live Harvest events,” said Laurie, whose church and ministry is based in Riverside, Calif. “My focus in this coming year is to continue to do everything I can to bring the Gospel to as many people as I can in every way that I can.”
Will Graham, eldest son of Franklin Graham, and the assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., told The Christian Post that 2012 is shaping up to be a very busy one.
“As I look ahead to 2012, my ministry focus will continue to be the same as it has been since I was called to be an evangelist several years ago: proclaiming the saving Gospel message of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible for the glory of God,” Graham related in an email.
“I have two domestic Will Graham Celebrations planned, both of which will be in the Dallas area on back-to-back weekends. The Red River Celebration will be held in Gainesville, Texas, March 16-18, and the Trinity Valley Celebration will be held in Terrell, Texas, March 23-25.
“Internationally, I will be speaking in seven countries (in addition to the U.S.) across five different continents,” he said. “I will be sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in Canada, India, Australia, Mexico, Kenya, Thailand, and in the United Kingdom. I also plan to travel extensively in support of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.”
When asked about his focus for next year, Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, reflects the same desire for evangelism that many church leaders are expressing.
“I’ve got three major resolutions for 2012. First, I want to reach more and more people with the Gospel. Second, I want to reach more and more people with the Gospel. And third, I want to reach more and more people with the Gospel,” said Strobel, who serves as co-director of The Institute at Cherry Hills, an evangelism and apologetics ministry at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
He adds, “Seriously, there are a lot of goals I have for the new year, but the older I get the more determined I am to see increasing numbers of people come to faith in Jesus Christ. I’m praying God will use my writing, preaching and personal life to bring the Good News to more and more people who desperately need it. Seeing people transformed by God never gets old; in fact, it’s what keeps me young!”
Pastor John Bishop of Living Hope Church in Vancouver, Wash., said he wants to focus on reconciliation as well as evangelism.
“More than ever I want to reach our city for Jesus, but it has to be through abundance IN CHRIST,” Bishop wrote in an email response to the question of church focus.
“More of Jesus allows us to do more for him. Anything else is religion. Stabilize to mobilize. The more stable we are in Jesus, the more we can be mobilized for Jesus,” he wrote.
“Our focus for 2012 is one word ‘RECONCILED.’ 2 Corinthians talks about God giving us the message and ministry of reconciliation,” he said. “I am praying that our whole church will be more than ever about the message of reconciliation. With God, with each other, in our homes and in our hearts. Reconciliation is the good news of the gospel of Christ. So, I am very excited and extremely hopeful as God's favor is restored.”