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.

(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.)


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?


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?


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?



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?


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)?


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.


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

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Penny Lee 29/07/2012 14:53
"I might barge in again one day."

No need to barge in - the door is always open!

I didn't even notice the 'Peggy Lee' thing. It isn't my real name anyway. Only one person here knows the significance of why I chose Penny Lee. You will meet me one day - if not on earth then certainly in Heaven! I think I'll know you instinctively!
Annie (Guest) 29/07/2012 16:39
Can't wait! Just watch out for a dumpy little lady with purple hair.
Editor 04/07/2013 14:42
Derek - a site visitor - has posted the following comment(which has now been moved onto this discussion thread which relates to the same subject). The question Derek raises relates to a very important topic.

The majority (if not all) of our communities in the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland are disconnected with Jesus and completely disengaged with church.

So why is mission, which is not an option but a command of God to “go” into our communities and estates with the Gospel more or less ignored by the church?

How is it that vast amounts of Christians are so content living in their comfort zones and would rather debate/argue about many issues and spend so much of their time and energy on lots of things as long as it’s not mission?

It would appear nowadays that the nearest many of our churches get near to mission is opening their doors on a Sunday with a notice board outside declaring that everyone is welcome in!

But thankfully, whether a church is authentic or not in terms of the Gospel call to mission is clearly evidenced by fact and its life.
P Carr (Guest) 04/07/2013 15:07
I disagree with Derek's analysis. That may be his experience in his neck of the woods, but can assure him that the church's mission is alive and well here, and mission is very much on the top of our list of priorities!

Also, some of what worked in the past (like door to door), is less effective, but other forms of outreach (like Messy Church) are proving highly effective in engaging people of all ages and both genders :)

Derek, look further afield to see what others are doing, you will be pleasently surprised and encouraged.
Jack Thomson (Guest) 04/07/2013 15:20
The reason that so many communities are disconnected with Jesus and disengaged from the church is that all of the churches (with very few exception)are all diconnected from the Holy Spirit and therefore disengaged from the real Jesus.
Traditional churches give a carnal impression of godliness but, through that religious pretense, all that they can do is deny and frustrate the reality of God'spower and spiritual inspiration.
I have to laugh when I pass all of thoe churches which have the sign at the door 'All welcome' - when what they really mean is 'All welcome - except true, spirit led Christians'
On the question of 'mission' - this has to be the Holy Spirit's initiative in the life of individual believers - and I happen to believe that God is in the process of preparing humble, submitted and (therefore) empowered Christians to take the gospel into the communities of Scotland....
Frank Macauley (Guest) 04/07/2013 16:46
I think that Derek has indeed highlighted a problem. But I cannot agree with JT's comment that an All welcome sign is a barrier to spirit filled Christians. I know Spirit-filled Christians in many different churches - including in the Roman Catholic church.
Evangelism is not about churches, it is about introducing people to Jesus.
Derek (Guest) 04/07/2013 19:39
Mr C, just for your info I have been working full time in front-line mission for the past three and half years and I am Chaplain for two facilities which provide for addiction and addiction/mental health/homelessness. I also have a number of contacts throughout Scotland who are also involved at the cutting edge of the work and have read the books and been to the national conferences! Delighted your fellowship is faithful to the Gospel but if you believe that the majority of people in Scotland are not disconnected with church - not sure if that is what you mean - we will just have to disagree.
Jack Thomson (Guest) 04/07/2013 21:05
Quote: I know Spirit-filled Christians in many different churches - including in the Roman Catholic church.

Given that God the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth - and recognising that the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father are One - I cannot comprehend how the Holy Spirit would allow 'spirit filled' believers to languish in a church which is carnal (man centred) and idolatrous to its very core............
P Carr (Guest) 04/07/2013 21:36

I don't doubt your credentials or your concerns, I am simply saying that I do not agree with those concerns from my perspective. I too have some experience in church life, and a fairly good handle on what is happening elsewhere. Admittedly people are not knocking down the doors of our churches to get in (but when have they ever?), but many churches are working hard and reaching out in new ways. The Lord is still in control no matter what direction our society is taking, and His Kingdom is still being established by His people (who are the true church). :)
John Miller 04/07/2013 21:58
Derek's comments are very challenging. I understand that many will feel very uncomfortable reading them but can their truth be honestly denied?

Let me venture these thoughts. The Christian, and by extension the church is first called to worship and then to witness, in that order. If our witness is not in Spirit and in truth (John 4)' our witness will be defective. I would therefore suggest that we consider the nature and relevance of what we consider to be worship.

Without being specifically critical my observation is that many consider worship to be the expression of human excitement. Am I being harsh? Others can judge.

What I am suggesting is that worship according to biblical truth and teaching will determine whether or not our witness is effective.
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Reaching Out > Evangelism - what's needed: what's missing?