GOING BEYOND THE WALLS IN UNITY AS THE CITYWIDE CHURCH
(By: Jim Barbarossa)
Praise the Lord – Hallelujah! I have a question for you: Was the God's Altar banner helpful in imparting the vision in the last session? The scripture also says we’re to write the vision and make it plain. That Banner is an example of writing the vision and making it plain. Now we had something happen this week that we’ve never done before. I felt the Lord told me to go to my friend and ask him to do a rush job on a smaller version of that banner; it is 4’ wide and 8’ tall. It also will fit in a conventional 8’ ceiling, and if anybody would like to order that banner, you can do so at the table and we will ship it to you when they come in. There is also one back there that somebody could buy and take home, but I believe that God is going to take that banner all over the country and use it as a teaching tool and as an aid to help impart the vision and make the vision clear. When we have vision, people get saved and they go on to be with Jesus.
Well this segment is going to be called “Going Beyond the Walls.” One of the questions that I had in my heart and I’ve already heard it asked here is: How can the citywide church of Genesee County take the next step? The next step is going beyond the walls, joining hands in unity, and taking Jesus into the community. That’s the next step wherever your city is – come together united, get the pattern right, and then get out into the city.
I shared earlier this scripture and I’m going to read it again.
Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
That was the first commission; to replenish the earth to give the Father children; children who are in rightstanding with him. Well that commission has changed a little bit in the great commission, but it’s still the bottom line – it’s the same thing. Get out there and reach the world; go do what God has called us to do.
In Luke 10:10, Jesus said he came to seek and to save those who are lost. That is the mission; the mission that Jesus came for: To seek and save those that are lost. So that’s our purpose and that’s really what it’s all about.
There are various ways to do this, and I’m going to be the first one to tell you folks, I do not have all the answers. God does; I don’t, but I’m going to share a few things that he showed me and these things that he showed me, we’ve actually done them. They have worked and we’ve seen results because of it.
In this first segment I’m going to talk about the shofar a little bit, and also these shofar tracts. When Carla and I travel, it is a way of life for us to look for opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We don’t cram the Bible down peoples’ throats, but we listen to the Spirit of the Living God, and we watch for opportunity.
On a typical day when we were traveling, this was in France earlier in the year where a neat thing happened. I blew the shofar and we were able to pass out some shofar tracts, and a gentleman ran up behind me and said, “Do that again! I want to video that. I’m taking that back to Belize where I live so that people can hear this there.” You just don’t know how God is going to take something and what he’s going to do with it if you’ll just be obedient and do what he wants you to do.
We were standing in front of a restaurant, and it’s kind of funny when you’re in a place like this, I don’t speak any French at all. Most of the people don’t speak English, but when I give a shout with God’s shofar, it gets and commands attention, and people love to hear the sound of that which is like the voice of God. It opens up opportunities and we simply pass out tracts or CD’s. We took 200 CD’s with the gospel message on that trip to France and we passed out all 200 of those, and only two people refused the gospel message. This is in a nation that doesn’t particularly care for the United States, and doesn’t particularly care for Christians. That’s amazing that you can share the gospel 200 times with people over a ten or twelve day trip.
This is the Eifel Tower.
In this picture below we’re in a baker’s shop; Carla and I always look for nice coffee shops, bakeries and places like that to stop at. What I do is I carry the shofar on the sling and I watch for people’s reactions. I don’t go in like a bull and just do whatever I want, but I watch. And even though there’s a language barrier, I knew this person wanted to hear it. So I just motioned to them in such a way…would you like to hear it? And their head would nod, and I would play the shofar. The door was opened up to where we could share a tract or a CD. It’s that simple – it’s so easy.
In this picture you see in the lady’s hands one of the shofar tracts; I hadn’t even gotten out of the store and she was reading it. I was sharing the gospel; it was such an easy thing to do.
Now while I’m sounding the shofar below here for these two people, you’ll see the man has a tract in his hand; look at that, ten or twelve people spread out along the background. I’ve got all of their attention, and so as I make my way further, other people will stop and they will want to hear it too. Or they’ll be smiling at me as I’m walking by, and I just hand them a shofar tract or a CD. It’s just so easy; you’re just sowing. And what’s amazing to me is how God uses the shofar to open up the heart of the person to receive.
So those of you who are shofar sounders, I want to encourage you to a new level. Get these things beyond the walls of the building, get out into the community, carry it in everyday life, and just use it in life as you’re going about and allow God to open the door and watch what happens. You will be amazed.
This really touches musicians especially – this was a musician on the street. Man, when he heard that shofar, he just lit up! I was able to share a Gospel CD in the French language with him. He didn’t speak any English at all, and I didn’t speak any French.
This one is at Mount Rushmore. When I sounded the shofar at Mount Rushmore, hundreds of people circled around and starting applauding. It was amazing! I thought to myself…if you only knew what you were applauding. If you only knew that was just like the voice of God going forth into the atmosphere.
I was up on the top of that one you see below here with the flag, and from the bottom to the top there are several levels. All the way up and all the way down I sounded the shofar, and on every level we met people asking…what is that? My response was handing tracts to so many of them. When we got up on the top, I sounded it, and so people started worshipping God. There were a 100+ people up there and about five of them knew what a shofar was, and they started worshipping up there. Brother, you made my day coming up here…they would say. Imagine what would happen if all shofar sounders would all start carrying their shofar on daily journeys as they’re doing things.
There is something that takes place when you sound
the shofar in a public setting and you release that which is like the
voice of God into the atmosphere. The scripture says that God is
eternity, and another scripture says that God has placed eternity in the
heart of man. So every man, woman, and child that you meet along the
way has eternity in their heart. They have a place within them that
belongs to God, and when you sound the shofar you are releasing that
which is like the voice of eternity, and the hearts of people recognize
it. That’s why their hearts are opening up.
Look at the faces of those young people – they are happy to receive the gospel message in that book! You see, the book not only has forty testimonies, but it has pages called truth laced between every fourth chapter. Those pages of truth are the Bible – the Word of God laced between the stories. Those young people were so happy to receive!
Now I’ll tell you this - there was a time when Carla was afraid to share her faith. Does she look afraid to share her faith on that picture? She needed an equipping evangelist in her life to teach and help her to figure out how she could effectively share the gospel. Every church everywhere needs an equipping evangelist in the house equipping the saints how to share the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s not the prophet’s job. That’s not the apostle’s job. That’s not the pastor’s job or the teacher’s job; it’s the equipping evangelist’s job to teach the saints how to share the good news.
Carla ended up praying with this lady; she literally came to tears at our table. It was just amazing!
When we are out and about, Carla likes to shop, and Jim likes to sit on benches. So as I’m sitting on benches, I watch for opportunities and I’ll pray for her when she’s in the store.
You see the book tucked under her arm? When she goes shopping, she always has a book tucked under her arm. She’s not going just for the purpose of shopping; she’s going to be the light of Jesus to shine into people’s lives. She’s had it happen where she’s walked into a store and the person has said, “Is that a good book?” And she says, “It sure is and it’s yours!” I mean God just opens up the door.
This is one the things I do when I’m sitting on a bench. Notice it says, “To: You! This book has come a long way to find “You!” You can read our stories on pages 55 & 63. Somebody is going to pick that book up that I laid on that bench, and it’s going to say “To: You!” And that person who picks it up is going to think…Wow, I wonder if somebody is trying to tell me something.
There’s one sitting on a table where I left it. You don’t want to do this on a rainy day by the way; you want to be able to look at everything.
This young lady here was so happy to get this book. I mean she was so happy!
About twenty minutes later we’re coming down the
other side of the street, and I took this picture below here. What is
she doing? She’s reading the book.
Look at that smile. That’s the lady that said God sent us there for her that day. When she saw that book she said, “You came here for me!” And I can’t tell you how many times that we have seen this happen.
This is another way of sharing the books. We’ve made up book displays, and we have these positioned in places like the YMCA, local banks, local Laundromats, and we’ve even had them in bars, bowling alleys, pop and cigarette machines, and in liquor stores. That’s taking the Gospel into dark places! So those little stands become mission bases, and every one of those books is a missionary.
Even though Jim and Carla are here, we’ve got mission bases all over the city where we live and the Gospel is being shared in Portage and Chesterton, Indiana while we’re here with you. Now this could happen all over Flint. This could happen in your city. In fact, it could be your testimonies in the book, and the members of your company could be in the book.
This is one way that we have found to be super super effective; you just simply teach people how to write their testimonies for the glory of God. Put it in print to a professional book, a professional looking cover, and you start giving them away. Everybody can do this! I don’t care how young or old you are. I don’t care if you’ve been shy. I don’t care if you’ve been backwards. You can do this, and the members of all of our churches can do this. I think it would be an awesome thing to do a book called “Real Life Stories Flint Edition.” The idea is for several churches in the region to come together all saying the same thing to the community at the same time. That will speak to people! Wherever your city is: Virginia, Oklahoma, California, and New York, etc. Wherever it is, we can help you to do a book like this in your city. This is a practical way to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the walls.
Another way to do that is what we call the “CD Outreach” and you’ll notice we’re in a purse shop. I don’t like to buy purses, but I have bought quite a few of them indirectly. Carla loves to shop and I encourage her to shop. Do you know why? It’s because she shares Jesus when she goes shopping. Amen! That’s a good thing.
We’ve designed a set of CD’s; one of them is called “Sex Has A Price Tag”. Everybody needs to hear this message.
Another one is called “Death – Do You Fear It?” These all have full colored labels and they grab people when you strategically lay them places or hand them to people.
There’s another one that’s called “Betrayed”. This is a testimony of a Jewish business man, and he shares on this CD how he got a call one day…Daddy, I found the Messiah and his name is Jesus! This Christian business man set out to save his daughter by reading the Word of God. He was going to prove that his daughter was wrong. This CD is his personal testimony of finding salvation through Jesus Christ.
There’s another CD we have called “Real Love”- it’s got five testimonies on it, five or six songs on it, and it’s just a wonderful tool for reaching out for people to be loved.
There’s also one that is done on scientific principles. It’s good for reaching those who are intellectuals.
Then we have one that’s called “Happy Jack”. It’s a picture of a guy all tattooed up riding a motorcycle. This is a true story; I know this man personally. This will speak to people who are into motorcycles. You can give this to somebody like that and it’s going to touch him and speak to their heart.
We have one in the Spanish language called “Do You Ever Feel Like There’s Something Missing In Your Life?”
Another one is called “Is The Fire and Torments of Hell Real?” We also have the English version of “Do You Ever Feel Like There Is Something Missing In Your Life?” as well as “Words of Comfort” that speaks to the intellectual and the atheist.
So there’s eleven different CD’s that can be used to share the gospel. What I teach people to do is listen to them all two or three times. Know them inside and out; keep a few of them around with you, and as you go through everyday life, as the Holy Spirit leads you, you’ll know which one to give to which person. You will see results and people will get saved.
I remember a truck driver calling me. He said, “Man, I was passing through Missouri and stopped in this truck stop. I found this CD lying up on the counter. I probably shouldn’t have, but something said ‘that’s for you.’ And he said, “I snatched that thing up and took it in my truck; I got saved and gave my heart to Jesus!”
Hallelujah! Look at their faces – look at that! That’s the gospel being shared with happiness! I mean that is just totally amazing. This picture below is the owner of a business. Look at that – he was so thrilled to get that CD. That was so cool!
Now this particular CD that you’re seeing on all of these is in the French language. We were going to France and I knew where we were going and I thought…how can I minister to people…I don’t speak their language. So we had a CD developed in the French language. We shared the gospel with 200 people through those CD’s. That’s the way God does things.
Street vendors and musicians – they love it
This one here is an open vehicle. I set one on the seat so whoever gets in there is going to find a CD about Jesus.
This fellow below here – I had blown the shofar and noticed him
smiling. So I walked over to him and just handed it over. He looked at
it and thanked me.
It was so easy folks. Imagine what would happen if we did a citywide Flint/Genesee County CD Outreach where we developed all of these CD’s with local contact information and all of the members of all of the churches within this region would just start carrying these in everyday life and sowing them everywhere they went. Just imagine if this happened in your city. Maybe you’re the catalyst that God wants to use to see that it happens.This lady here started to tear up. God was doing something.
All it takes is a little bit of obedience, a little bit of effort. If we love people…if we are serious about the Gospel, we’ll be willing to do these types of things in everyday life. Let me tell you something; evangelism is not an event. It is a lifestyle. Now, we can incorporate it into events and that’s a good thing, but evangelism is a lifestyle. It should be something we live and breathe; it is who we are. We stopped earlier and had a cup of coffee; before we left that place they got one of those Real Life Stories book. I filled it out and put the person’s name on it, dated it, and said ‘this is for you.’ They said…thank you…thank you. They were so happy to get it, but this is who we are. This isn’t just some act. This isn’t something that I’ve just prepared to amuse people. This is a lifestyle; this is what we do, and this is what God wants all of his people to do, which is to develop ways to simply love on people and reach out to them.
Again, Carla is shopping and sharing a CD…
Now, we created a little display…Food
For The Soul…Mind, Will & Emotion. We take those displays with the permission of business
owners to set them up by their cash register, and we freely give Gospel
CD’s away in secular businesses that are owned by people who are not
Christians. Now it’s one thing to get it into a Christian business; I’m
talking most of the people who allow us to do this are not Christians.
In fact, sometimes the Christian women and businessmen are afraid to do
it because they might lose a little bit of business.
That’s the truth. So that’s a good way to develop an outreach that can get us beyond the walls in this area.
Here’s another way of developing an outreach (and I don’t have any pictures for this one unfortunately).
We did this for a church several years ago, and what we did was that we simply went into the neighborhood of one of the members of the church. We did a block party. We blocked off a street. We put up bouncy toys for kids. We had live music. We had the gas barbeque going. We cooked food. We sat people down and served them. We loved on them. Some sat around and played different kinds of games and things, and I remember one man in particular showing up. He said, “I live down the street a couple blocks. Would you mind if I go home and get my 6-pack?” I said, “You know, this is kind of a family environment and it probably wouldn’t fit. What do you think?” He said, “No, you’re probably right.” But here’s what happened; that man stayed all day…all day. When the day was over, he said, “Wow, I never knew you could have fun without getting drunk!” The lady that lived next door got saved, because somebody cared enough to open up their yard and feed people doing a cookout and just love on people.
Now imagine this…30, 40, 50 churches in Flint all do a neighborhood block party on the same day. You’ve got a group over here doing one; you’ve got a group over there doing one; you’ve got a group over here doing one. People are driving all around Flint and everywhere they go, they’re seeing these things going on. They could be promoted in the paper, television, radio and there’s no mention of any church name. It’s just a free block party! Who gets the glory? Jesus gets the glory. So that’s just another way. There are all kinds of ways. We have a creative God and he will give you creative ideas of how to reach your city. These are just things we know about.
This is another one that we have actually done; I think you maybe have one or two pictures on this one. We call it a Car Wash, because that’s what it is! We get a big 4’ by 8’ attractive looking sign that can’t be missed, and we put it out in the front of the place where we’re holding the car wash.
Free car wash…free hot dog…free pop.
needs to eat, right? And everybody needs to get their dirty car
People are driving down the road…how many of you like to wave flags? I’m going to challenge you to put those flags to a little better use. What we do when we do these car washes is we have shofar sounders down on the road; we’ve got dancers down on the road, and we’ve got flaggers down on the road. We may even send them a block this way and a block that way holding signs…Free Car Wash…Free Lunch…Free Food. Do you know what happens? Here’s what happens…people pull into the parking lot. Free Car Wash…what’s the catch? You see, people know the church. All they want is money. That’s what the world thinks. I told the people that we deal with…if you take any money, I’ll break your hands. I didn’t really say it that way, but I got the point across. We have to break that religious demon that thinks you have to get paid and raise money by everything you do. That is not what this is about. This is about reaching lost souls in the community.
So people coming down the road see that sign saying Free Car Wash, they actually would pull over and say “what’s the catch?” There isn’t “no catch.” You pull your car in there and you see. They pull their car in and as they come in, somebody meets them at the entrance and opens their door. Somebody else walks up; they will escort you over to where the food is. We take the car and wash it. We don’t do some shoddy job; we do a professional job, the way it would be done in a detailed shop. We do it with a spirit of excellence because we serve a God who has a spirit of excellence.
So that person gets walked over to a table and then there’s a big gift basket – Free…Sign Up Here. Everybody wants to sign up to win the free gift basket. We get their name, address, and email – their contact information. Alright, they get a chance to win a free gift basket. Then somebody from the next group comes over and says let’s take you over to where the food is and let me help fix you a plate. So we’re serving and waiting in them. And then we escort them over to sit them down, and there’s another group of people whose gift is more of loving on people, and they sit and listen and talk and they just love on people.
While that’s happening, we have another group of people who have those names and addresses (contact information), and on the back of that paper was a prayer request card. So we had people writing down prayer requests, but we don’t wait until their gone. As they finish their meal, we slip up to them and say, “There’s a request here that’s got your name on it; I’m going to pray for you.” We don’t ask permission; we lay our hand on their shoulder lovingly, and we start to pray and God starts to melt them. I mean melt them! And then tears come, and then people show up in church the next day, because we do these on a Saturday, but people show up in church the next day on Sunday and get saved.
People say things like…while they’re sitting there eating a hot dog…I’ve been driving by this place for eight years…I’ve always thought about stopping in someday, but I figured I might as well stop today for some free food. Or my car was dirty…
I remember another time a couple of guys who worked for the utility company pulled in with this big utility company rig…hey we’re here for lunch. Good, we’re here to feed you!
One that really touched my heart was a mom and two kids. She said, “I was driving down the road and I was saying I don’t know where we’re going to eat today.” They had no money; they had nothing. …I don’t know where we’re going to eat today…and they see…Today Free Car Wash. They came in and God took care of their needs.
I had to have this banner made up and when we do this here, there are going to be some religious demons try to rise up and we’re going to have to stomp them out, ok? Because no matter how much I told people this isn’t about money…you can’t take any money…I had somebody still want to slip a jar out there just in case. There isn’t no “just in case!” We don’t want the money! And so I had to have this banner made up and we hung it above the tent and it says…
This helped because now when people were trying to force money on them, they would just point out the banner to them and it worked. It really made a difference.
There is seven page car wash document that I created a few years ago with about a dozen pictures on it, and step by step instructions of exactly how to do this complete car wash event. It’s one of the least expensive and one of the most effective ministries that I have ever done. And it’s because we’re meeting two natural needs – the cars that are dirty need cleaning, and the people who are hungry need to eat. So even in a fast paced life, people are going to slow down to wash their car because they’re going to have to do it anyway.
They’ll slow down to eat because they’re going to have to do it anyway. Why not do them both at the same time where the price is right and it’s free. This works. People will come to these type of events, and there again, this isn’t about one church or one company doing a car wash cookout. This is about 30, 40, or 50 churches in the same city, or the same region on the same Saturday, between the same hours, all doing the same thing.
You can take out a full page ad in the newspaper saying…Free Car Wash…Free Food at all these different addresses in the city. There’s no mention of religion; no mention of church, and no mention of money. It’s all FREE. And then when they come, they find out why it’s free. It’s free because we love you…because God loves you…because Jesus loves you. And when you start doing things like these block parties and car washes, that’s when all those gifts, the Romans and Corinthians gifts, start to really function.
That’s when those gifts really start to operate when you’re in the community and the Holy Spirit gives you a word of knowledge you’ve never seen before. They hear that and say…how did you know that? Only God can touch the hearts of people with a word that nobody else could have known. And he can do it through any one of us at anytime anywhere.
We just have to learn it, and when we put ourselves into an environment like a citywide block party or a citywide car wash, when we take that step and get into that environment we are saying to God, “Here we are; use us.” Amen? Would anybody like to see any of these events done in Flint and Genesee County? Would anybody like to see these done in your cities to wherever they might be?
Carla and I are available to partner with anybody who wants to do this. Our heart is to reach cities for Jesus Christ. We don’t have all the answers as I said before, but we’ll sure teach and help you with what we do know.
For more information, please feel free visit our websites at:
Phone: (219) 762-7589