If you're not, gird your loins: Early this morning those 40,000 members descended upon our fair city for their annual Holy Convocation. This is good news for the city's restaurants since the church members have just completed 30 days of fasting and prayer and are probably really hungry.
The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) was originally a primarily African-American Pentecostal denomination from Memphis, but about 25 years ago, it decided to branch out and now boasts 6.5 million members in 60 countries. It's the fourth-largest Protestant denomination in the United States. But the St. Louis-area members have a very special mission:
For the past month, Bishop Bob Jackson has been training local "Saints" in the delicate process of winning souls.
No matter where you may find yourself on this Christian journey, Bishop Jackson's "7 Steps to the Kingdom" approach to witnessing is not only feasible for all Saints to utilize, but it is also straightforward and uncomplicated. It entails having a brief conversation with someone who may not know who Jesus is:
1 GREETING: "Hello, may I have one minute of your time?
2 STATE: "Did you know that Jesus Christ is Lord? Well, He is and He loves you and wants to be your Lord and Savior. A lot of people want to be saved but just don't know how."
3 SAY: Romans 10:9 says - "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved."
4 ASK: "Can you say Lord Jesus?"
5 PRAY: "Let's pray, repeat after me: Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I believe that you died on the cross, was buried and on the third day God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now Lord Jesus, open the door to my heart and I receive you into my heart, as my Lord and Savior."
6 QUESTION: "According to the prayer you just prayed, where is the Lord Jesus?"
7 CONFIRMATION: Share I John 4:4 - "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."
Yes, it is truly as simple as that. And as Bishop Jackson expressed, "we even have 5 year olds who can do this!"
The COGIC Holy Convocation is convening at America's Center downtown. Prayers will be said. Bishops will be consecrated. Gospel songs will be sung. There will even be blood (in the form of a blood drive supervised by the American Red Cross). And the whole thing will be broadcast via live Internet feed so you can watch it from the privacy of your very own computer. That, dear heathens, is the new-time religion.