Outreach Thrust of Crieve Hall Church of Christ
By Paul M. Tucker
The whole mission of the whole church is to preach the whole gospel to the whole world. Our Lord commanded: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15; cf. Matt. 28:1920). "Go ye" is the commission to all of us who are disciples of Christ. There are no exceptions! "Preach the gospel" means to preach the whole gospel. This includes every item of revealed truth and excludes everything else! The gospel of Christ, nothing more and nothing less, when believed and obeyed makes Christians, nothing more and nothing less. "Every creature" includes every human being in every nation. The whole world is in need of the whole gospel. It is impossible to preach the gospel to the wrong person.
Time is too short, souls are too valuable, the message is too urgent, life is too precious, heaven is too grand, hell is too horrible to waste time, alter the message, or temper the thrust and thus endanger the destiny of millions of lost souls. When people become baptized believers, they must be taught to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," and thus perpetuate the ongoing thrust of the whole church.
This missionary thrust has saturated the philosophy of the teaching and preaching of the Crieve Hall Church of Christ from its beginning. In fact, this church was considered a mission point itself in its incipiency. A few Christians thought the large, growing Crieve Hall residential area needed a conveniently located place of worship, so they began having planning meetings. This resulted in regular worship services beginning in November 1955.
Early preaching to encourage this "mission point" was done by H.M. Phillips. Later, Charles Moore preached for us until he left to become a missionary to Sicily. Aaron Thomason next served as preacher until leaving for a mission work in Georgia. During these years, the Crieve Hall Church of Christ became more and more involved in world evangelism as opportunities and resources permitted.
Crieve Hall Church of Christ has grown numerically and spiritually through the years. Our annual budget of $1,357,200 reflects a positive outreach thrust. Fifty percent of our budget is designated for over 90 places or persons on several continents. The strength of the outreach of the church depends upon the strength of our base of operations which is the local church.
The strength of Crieve Hall Church of Christ depends on a number of factors. First, there is the grace and providence of God. Then there is the importance of a receptive community. There is a group of strong, biblically qualified elders. There is solid Bible teaching from the pulpit. There is also soulmoving, great gospel congregational singing under a capable song leader. There are a variety of programs of work which involve all the members of the congregation in work at home and abroad.
Crieve Hall Church of Christ is overseen by eight elders: Harold Burch, Ray Frizzell, Clyde Lee, Robert L. Mays, Bill Merry, Don Michael, and James Wood. There are fortyeight deacons. Each elder is given a particular area of the congregation's work to oversee. Deacons are assigned to him to assist in carrying out that particular area of work. All major decisions on any aspect of the work are made by the elders.
The elder who is in charge of our missions program is Robert L. Mays, a member of Crieve Hall for more than 35 years. He is acquainted personally with all our mission projects and can answer detailed questions concerning any of them. He probably is as well versed as any elder in the world about the overall mission work of the Lord's church.
In the article to follow, we expect to tell about numerous programs involving our members in community outreach and also about farreaching worldwide evangelistic efforts in which the Crieve Hall Church of Christ is directly involved.