The 4xfour challenge for Parkside Baptist Church:
"Helping People Find the Lord”
This is the purpose of Parkside Baptist Church. Most of us would admit that we didn’t find Christ on our own - someone influenced us along the way. It may have been a close friend, or a family member, or someone to whom we looked up. But someone, somewhere along the way helped us, and so now we have an obligation to help others also. Not only that, but we have a commandment and a commission from Jesus, who promised to make us fishers of men, to “go and make disciples.” While mass mailings and television programs may have some positive effect, we know intuitively that it takes people to reach people. Since 2011, our church has been using a ministry of “embrace” called 4xfour to wrap our arms of influence around people in our circles and lovingly influence them toward Christ and toward the message of the gospel. "When He saw the crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” Matthew 9:36-38.
The following summary describes in some detail the 4xfour process at Parkside Baptist Church:
Step one: Identify.
The first step may seem simple, but in some ways may be the most difficult. Unless we identify the specific people that we are “after” we don’t really have a specific sense of direction. We must take the initiative to identify those we want to reach with the gospel. These should be people within the geographical reach of the church, which we call our “ministry target area.” It’s certainly ok to pray for others farther away as well, but each church member needs to identify four local souls for which you will take a burden of responsibility to the Lord. Identify them. Write them down. This is the first step, and until it happens none of the rest will come to pass. Identity your four for the 4xfour strategy. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -- Luke 5:31b-32
Step two: Intercede.
You have Identified four people or better, four families. What now? Before we talk to men about God, we should earnestly talk to God about men. So, pray for them. Intercede for them with all your heart, and ask your Heavenly Father to touch their hearts. This must be done earnestly, but as we learned from Daniel, it also must be done regularly. At least four times a week, pray earnestly for your people. They may be next door, in the next office, at the cashier stand, or serving your coffee. It may be the person sitting next to you in the stands at your children’s basketball games, or the other parent at the dance recital. Pray for them, and let them know that you have them on your prayer list. No one gets offended by knowing someone is praying for them, so be sure to let them know you will be praying for them, and then be sure to pray for them -- at least four times a week. Lift their names earnestly to the Lord. God answers the prayers of the faithful, and if you will faithfully pray, He will do a great work. Pray for your 4xfour, four times a week and see what God will do. Step One: Identify. Step Two: Intercede. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3:12
Step three: Invest.
This is perhaps the part of 4xfour that can be the most fun. Invest your life in your 4xfour. At least four times a year, invest time and money in their lives. Have a barbeque, and invite them. Take them to a Cowboy or Ranger or High School football or basketball game. Help them with their yard, or a project at their house. Take them to breakfast. Keep their kids so they can go on a date night. As you can see, there is a growing trust level here, and you must be real. In most cases, as you get to know these people, you will become an important part of their lives, and they will sense that you really care about them. Don’t allow them to think they are a “prospect” you can bring to impress your Sunday School teacher. Get them to the place where they love and trust you, and you have them to a place where they can love and trust your God. If you will invest your life in your 4xfours, when something shakes them up, and a 3am phone call needs to be made, guess who they will call. They will know that you really care about them, and they will also know you as a person who knows how to pray. Investing is just that -- it takes time and effort and yes, money, but it is the greatest thing into which you can pour your life. Invest. “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your hear and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -- Matthew 22:37-40
Step Four: Invite.
At least four times during the year, our church will have something special. It may be a church picnic and baptism service at Lake Texoma. It may be a Christmas Pageant. It may be a concert. It may be an Upward Celebration. It may be a Pacesetter Game night. It may be that very special event called Sunday Morning. As you cultivate the folks you are praying for, the ones you have identified, you can invite them to come with you, and there is something compelling and powerful about the moment. I love it when someone says to me, “Pastor, I have one of my 4xfours with me this morning and I want you to meet them.” Or when someone is standing at the altar after the invitation, or looking up in the baptistry, and whispers, “That’s one of my 4xfours.” It doesn’t get better than this. Except perhaps when, through our reproducing discipleship, we see the process start all over again. Invite your 4xfour, and see what God will do. Invite them to church, invite them to listen while you share the story of your testimony, and the gospel. Invite them to know Jesus. Invite! “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him” -- Mark 1:14-18
(Adapted from Texas Baptists Materials -- formerly BGCT)
Click here to read an article about 4xfour