Christian Life 

Evangelism - what's needed: what's missing?

 
"Evangelism? It's something I wouldn't do to my dog." These were the words of one young believer who subsequently went on to write a best-selling book on the subject of personal evangelism.
But do we fulfill the Great Commission today? And if so how?
 
first published 31/03/10


John the BaptistWHAT do we think when the subject of Evangelism is raised? How do we respond? Excited or Embarrassed?  Defensive or Daring? What is our mental picture of an evangelist? How is evangelism outworked?

The subject of evangelism can provoke heated discussions amongst Christians. "I take my faith onto the streets and share it openly with anyone who will listen", says one.
"Well I believe that a low-key friendship-based approach is the best way," says another.
"Actually you're both wrong", says another. "Better to leave it to those with a gift in spreading the Gospel".

In fact there is no absolute in terms of the right way to share one's faith. Paul endeavoured to become 'all things to all men' and instructed young Timothy to 'preach the word in season and out of season'.
Philip spoke to a man on his way home in his chariot. Peter reached out to a prison officer while in jail. Paul spoke to a governor. Jesus himself spoke very publicly to a hungry mulitude, and in private to a women from Samaria. He mixed with the social outcasts of his day. He mingled with despised collaborators and women of dubious morals.
 

So how are we doing in the 21st century?


The notes to follow list (on a one-at-time-basis) six prerequisites to motivating and enabling God's people to witness effectively to a needy, but largely un-reached world. These suggested components of effective outreach are posited principally to stimulate thinking (and - who knows? - discussion) on the subject.

Evangelism
(Note: with exception of the bearded evangelist (above) all these real-life pictures of outreach(s) were taken by the editor in Inverness, Glasgow and the Highlands. The baptism of a believer was in the River Ness. See margin for some links.)
 

Prerequisite No. 1: A living personal relationship with Jesus Christ

 

Question 1: 

How easy (difficult) is it for churches containing a mixture of committed believers and those who are just 'church attenders' to implement and maintain a mission-orientated ethos? (And of course a church member who doesn't personally know Christ cannot, and should not be expected to communicate a faith which they do not have.)


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Prerequisite No. 2: A clear and universal understanding of the Gospel and the Great Commission

 

Question 2:

Is the body of Christ well taught and keenly aware of  the callings and responsibilities of the Gospel and the Great Commission to travel into all the world (into every section of society) to make disciples of Jesus?

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Prerequisite No. 3: A clear and universal teaching and understanding that every single believer in Christ is called to witness to their faith.

 

Question 3:

Is there a mindset, teaching and impression communicated which restricts the role and calling of evangelism to those who stand in pulpits and/or those who address assembled masses?

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Prerequisite No. 4: A process and facility within local fellowships which allows individual believers to better understand and get to grips with personal, day-to-day approach to evangelism

 

Question 4:

With the common view that an evangelist is someone like Luis Palau, does the average Christian have an adequate 'model' of how to share one's faith at a personal and everyday level?

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Prerequisite No. 5: A believer who is engaged in personal evangelism should have the full support (in prayer and in commitment) of the local church of which he/she is part.

 

Question 5:

To what extent is the 'missionary' support directed solely towards those who work in a foreign land rather than the local hospital, or workshop or serve in the home and community?

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Prerequisite No. 6: Each 'evangelist' should be confidently able to identify a local church fellowship (including their own) to which an enquirer or young Christian can be directed.

 

Question 6:

Do believers have a freedom from their own church leadership to direct and accompany enquirers or new Christians to churches other than their own (if that is the most appropriate thing to do)?
 
 

Thesis:

Without these prerequisites in place, it is unlikely that any one individual within a local church will be highly motivated, equipped, encouraged and supported in personal evangelism.

Postscript:

The following 'conversation' can be found (below) in the message thread. However it has been extracted and placed here because the issue which 'Derek' raises is so vitally important.

Thread snip


The article 'What to look for in a church' can be accessed by <clicking here> or on the 'conversation' above.
 

 

Christians Together, 24/06/2014

Feedback:
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Annie. (Guest) 27/07/2012 16:03
Well said Penny Lee. I like to "eat well", but even I sometimes sample junk food (just flick through the God Channels for a taste!) Thank Goodness my digestive system has a built in warning alarm - a bit irreverent to compare the Holy Sirit with my digestive system, but He keeps me on the healthy diet I need to function properly. I am truly blessed by the banquet He puts before me every week. If I ever get the chance to share it with you guys.....I'd be honoured.
Annie. (Guest) 27/07/2012 16:46
Philip....the church is NOT made up of born again Christians.- if it was I wouldn't have a gripe. I see what I see. And I love what I get on a Sunday, like I said before, I get a banquet - week after week, as well as the food I partake of at home in my daily readings. I am well nourished, honestly! But it doesn't stop me seeing the spiritual poverty and famine that is all around me - mainly because the "Chefs" have made up their own strange recipes and sometimes try and "force feed" us the ingredients (there is such a thing as Spiritual Abuse). Enough of these analogies! Rest assured I am aware that many of the churches are doing their best. But many of the churches are doing nothing. My point is, you don't have to go to church TO GET SAVED! You can browbeat me with quotes from the bible till the cows come home, and many of your comments are relevant, but I can't help thinking that you are just a tad angry because I disagreed with you over Plan A (or B)
Hey, it's only an opinion after all.......
Philip (Guest) 27/07/2012 17:31
Me, angry, no. Just frustrated by poor biblical interpretation and theology that ignores God's revealed truth. Me thinks that we will have to agree to disagree

Editor 27/07/2012 17:56
Annie and Philip, you are welcome to continue posting onto this site, but as a general policy I ask that all (like yourselves) who wish to contribute regularly, please register to become a member of the site or be in touch with me personally.

If you are already registered with the site, then please log on before posting. (There is a facility to obtain a new password if you need to do that.)

Many thanks,
Ed.
Annie (Guest) 27/07/2012 19:03
Colin I AM registered with the site, but it easier to post and quicker if I just jump in when I see something that takes my interest. I think I will bow out now from this particular discussion. As Philip says We will just agree to disagree. Best wishes to Philip and to Peggy Lee - thanks for the mental stimulation!
Penny Lee 27/07/2012 19:18
I think it all comes down again to what we consider church to be. I am all for church but only in the sense of it being a gathering of Christians sittng under proper Biblical teaching and, sadly, it often is not that. It is a mix such as Annie described in her earlier post. It gets bogged down by arguments over buildings, finances and practices and now by what the world wants it to be, which is quite different from what the Bible's view of what it should be is.

If you are in a good Biblical church then great, keep going and feast on the spiritual food being provided but if going to church is an ordeal due to teachings which are in direct contradiction with the Bible and sideshows which have nothing to do with anything, then that is not church and will not feed you what you need to keep spiritually healthy. Also, not everyone who is dissatisfied with their church has the option to move to another. They may have to leave altogether and find other types of ways to be spiritually fed. If that is meeting with other local Christians in homes, then that is church too.
Philip (Guest) 27/07/2012 19:57
Peggy Lee, (sorry Penny),

It is not our view of Church that at the end of the day that matters, but God's. Unless we have a biblical understanding, then is it Church as God wants us to view it?

A Sunday in God's view is not Church, it is a small part of it. Being Church should extend to every area of our lives 24/7. On a Sunday for example we are Church gathered, the rest of time we are Church scattered. In our understanding of Church for example, do we foster relationship with others of other Churches, or do we stay in our own little huddle?

Why can't a Christain who is unhappy in a Church leave and join another, unless of course they live in a jungle or desert?
Editor 27/07/2012 19:58
I will shortly be posting news about a study which is being undertaken into the growing number of unchurched Christians.
If anyone is interested in taken part (all in confidence) then please be in touch.
Ed.
Meanwhile there is a section on the website (with the intention of adding to it) for small groups, house church, etc.
http://www.christianstogether.net/Groups/190753/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Small_Churches_and/Small_Churches_and.aspx
Penny Lee 27/07/2012 21:42
"Why can't a Christain who is unhappy in a Church leave and join another, unless of course they live in a jungle or desert?" Simply that - due to location and availability.

I also agree with you that church is not just on a Sunday. What I meant was that church is not a building so therefore if what is going on within a church building is not in line with scripture, then it is no more church than the local corner shop.
Annie (Guest) 29/07/2012 12:36
I said I was bowing out of this, and I have. That doesn't mean I'm not watching and reading your continuing correspondance. Penny Lee - my apologies for keep saying Peggy Lee(someone I loved to hear singing) - one day I hope I meet you, or at least have a "proper" conversation with you....gossiping the Gospel and just fellowshipping
would be nice? You and Philip keep posting.....I might barge in again one day.
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Reaching Out > Evangelism - what's needed: what's missing?