Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whatever happened to Evangelism?


There are some verses in the Bible that are so well-known (perhaps one might even venture to say “over-used”) that they are considered passé. Yes, we have read those verses. We know what they say and many of us can even quote them. But they are just words written on the page. “We have heard all the Sunday School lessons and we know this is what God says but these verses are not to be taken so seriously. They are put in the Bible for our contemplation.” Really? Many would never say these words with their mouth but they say them every day with their actions.
            Most of us would understand the importance of teaching, of doctrine and some understand the importance of theology. We collect these thoughts and bring them out of the bag for discussion or demonstration on Sunday morning and then we place them back in the bag in order to live our “real” lives. One of those ideas is “evangelism.” Now, you probably already know that the word “evangelism” does not appear in the King James Version of the Bible. And the word “evangelist” only appears twice in the KJV. Perhaps then there were only two evangelists? Perhaps there are only some who are called to evangelize?
            Let us bring out a few of those dusty verses to contemplate.

                 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them

                 in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” - Matthew 28:19 

 

            There is no doubt that we “know” this verse. We have heard it and it is brought out often for our Sunday morning contemplations. Prior to proceeding we should do our “Bible work” and define what a disciple is. After all, if we are going to meditate upon this verse before going back to our lives we should know what Jesus is talking. What is a disciple? Well, if you know anything about us “conservative” preachers we are very fond of little sermon games like word studies.
Disciple (μαθητής)- “student, pupil, follower of one’s teachings.”
            Jesus commands His follower to “make disciples” or followers.
How are disciples made?
   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
What is the Biblical method for hearing the Word?
“For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:13-14


            We have already seen that evangelism is not a unique “spiritual gift” or special office but is required of all followers of Christ. What role, if any, does the pastor play in evangelism? Is he to bother himself with such trivial work?
            “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist,
            fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 
            All followers of Christ are called to make disciples. The only way a person can be a disciple is if they are converted. Conversion is not possible apart from the hearing of the Word of God. The normal method for people to hear the Word of God is through the preaching of the Word of God. Pastors and elders should be leading their congregations in evangelism. Anything less is disobedience to the commands of God.
            Pastor-Preacher- Minister-Missionary- Church Planter: If you are not actively sharing the Gospel message with those around- not just those in the church, not just from the pulpit- but in your everyday life then you are disobedient. How can you expect God to bless your ministry or grow your church if you refuse to be obedient to this simple command? How can you expect to escape God’s judgment?
            As pastors often times we are so given to the non-essentials. We will worry over so many little things. We will concern ourselves with so many administrative and organizational issues all to the neglect of the greater good. In the case of evangelism, it is not merely “greater good” but a direct command. We want church growth and the vast majority of any growth we see is a person joining our Church from another congregation. Although this grows our church none are added to the Kingdom of God.
“Do the work of an evangelist- go make disciples” 

5 comments:

chad beck said...

I agree 100%. I actually was speaking of this tonight in our prayer meeting. When did the "Great Commission" which begins "Go" become "come." We have become so enamored with telling people to "come to church" we have forgot Jesus commanded us to "go" and MAKE disciples. I told our people don't invite people to church rather, invite them to Christ! This means hard work, going into the highway and hedges and teaching people who might have an int rest in the things of God. Great post.

Bobby Crenshaw said...

Amen to that Chad!

Frank Rollberg said...

Amen!!

todrawneargod said...

I agree with you... There is really a great need of Revival... Maybe we Christians are so comfortable in our comfort zone that we avoid getting our feet soiled... But "beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news..."

In our church, we visit communities and even offer prayer to some houses... We conduct Bible studies to unbelievers/pre-believers (if they are willing)... ANd have campus ministries... Currently, by the Grace of God, we have 3 daughter churches and God-willing, the 4th church is in Japan...

Because the heartbeat of Jesus is "souls, souls, souls" and He called us to share the good news so that many people will come to know Him and have eternal life...

Will we be too selfish not to share the free gift we receive??? God wants us to share what we have, especially the life we have in Christ...

todrawneargod said...

I'll be following your blog. God bless your blogging ministry... U'm glad to find Christians here in the blogging world...

http://todrawneargod.blogspot.com/