If there's one thing Ron McCrary has learned about listening to God and
getting involved in His work, it's that he should always be prepared for plan
B. And sometimes even plan C.
For example, when Ron and his family invited their
neighbors to their home for a weekly Bible study, they expected to teach
couples how to raise godly families. But, according to Ron, God had other plans
for the study.
"People would tell us, 'So and so doesn't live here
anymore,' and we would learn it was because of a broken relationship or
divorce. So our planned Bible study went from one aimed at couples to one aimed
at anyone who wanted to learn what God says in His Word."
The result: a small but fledgling congregation in
Austell, Georgia, known as Christian Family Fellowship Baptist Church.
While most Christians may not be ready to start a church, McCrary models how
each of us needs to be willing to adjust as we find ways to share Christ.
"I was hungry to share Christ," McCrary explains.
"One thing I've always had to keep in mind is that I have to remain focused,
but I also have to be flexible. And knowing that made the adjustment
Ultimately, making the adjustment meant seeing results that McCrary wouldn't
have initially imagined. When the Bible study group grew to 25, space in the
McCrary home ran out, and it was time for plan C.
"It was becoming evident that God wanted to start a church," recalls Ron,
who had been trained by the North American Mission Board's Jerome King to plant
Ron taught others to knock on doors, to be sensitive to the folks who answer
but bold with the invitation to attend.
Besides opening their invitation to people of all backgrounds, they learned
the value of "going where the unchurched spend their time, not always expecting
them to come to us." For example, he began playing basketball with neighborhood
kids who also were being targeted by Black Muslim leaders. With his moves on
the court, he earned their respect and the right to tell his message.
As his congregation cast a wider and wider net, they began systematically
collecting "success stories."
"Two Jehovah's Witnesses accepted Christ. Several Muslims have attended and
begun questioning what they've always believed. I'll never forget my first
conversation with a young white woman right down the street from me. She had
been brought up in the south and knew that many people here go to church, but
she never knew why. She had no idea about the significance of Jesus, only His
name." He shakes his head in wonder.
"She's not the only one. I've met people within blocks of my house who live
in a vacuum without any inkling of the saving grace of the Lord, who have never
heard the words of John 3:16. I tell Inell: 'This is our Jerusalem.'"
Plans to purchase the building of a disbanding church fell through. Ron
still reels from the disappointment.
"That was really, really hard. I go to the Lord and ask, 'Why?' And just
when I'm about as far down as I can get, He sends someone with an encouraging
word, and I'm back on my feet again."
--Lisa M. Smith
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC