Posts Tagged ‘Church’

EvangelismWe want you to be involved in sharing the Gospel but the unfortunate truth is that most believers will not.  The reasons are usually related to fear or ignorance.  We launch new programs and campaigns and offer training in our church and we still have the same results; those people who are predisposed to sharing the gospel do  and all others have just add another area of their spiritual life where they feel failure.

I want you to be a success in your journey with Jesus. I want you to be able to think about the Gospel, about missions, about soul winning without feeling like a guilt-ridden failure.  I want to show you how believers can freely and enthusiastically be involved in evangelism.

Two Observations about Evangelism

  1. When Jesus and the Apostles talked to people about the Gospel they were often in a large group but sometimes in smaller groups and one on one.  In each of these groups, they were invited to speak about the Gospel.  The group expected to hear it, the group came for that purpose, or the group asked a leading question.
  1. In our culture, the people reject any effort to impose the Gospel on them.  They will resist an unsolicited presentation. However, if they initiate the conversation about Jesus, they will freely talk and listen.

You are at this moment freed from ever having to interrupt a person’s day with an unsolicited Gospel presentation.

 At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison, – Colossians 4:3

How can we all be involved in evangelism in the local church?

Pray

As the text tells us, pray that God opens a door for the message.  In 1 Timothy 2 we told to pray for everyone because God’s wants to save them all, in Luke 10:2 we are told to pray that God will send workers into the field.  The Bible is clear that God wants us to pray and to pray for people to hear the Gospel.  The movement of a non-believer to believer is a supernatural event that requires a supernatural force. We ask God to do the work in preparing the non-believer and the believer.

If you don’t do anything but pray you are heavily involved in evangelism.

Pause

Then we wait. John 6:44 tells us that no one comes to the Father except the Spirit draw him.  So we must wait for this drawing to take place.  We must wait on the Spirit to prepare us and to prepare others.

This is evangelism you can do every day for as long as you want.  You haven’t spoke to a soul yet you are still involved in the ministry.

While you are in Pause, you could still Pray.

Proclaim

Now, this is where we could have a break down but we won’t. See, we are waiting for the invitation.  When you are “prayed up” and watching for God’s movement, you’ll also be ready.  Someone will say something to you that indicates they are ready to hear from the Lord.  You are not going to miss it, they will ask you a question and all you have to do is answer the question.  I don’t know what they’ll ask, but if you have  a good handle on your own salvation story and a good handle on Jesus’ story you’ll be able to answer those questions.

I  was working  in a “serving” type ministry one day when a person who had been watching stopped me and asked “Why do you do this?”  This is a clear invitation to speak.  I simply answered the question.  “I like people.  I became a follower of Jesus Christ and He lead me to this job to help people.”  They person continued, “what does following Jesus have to do with this?”  I said,  “When I heard the Good News that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, was buried and rose again on the third day and is alive today and that I can be forgiven and changed, I became his follower and have been in this process of becoming like Him.  He has put into me this desire to love people as He does and to serve them as He does.  I wouldn’t  be able to do this without Jesus Christ.”

It was that easy.  I just answering a question.  The fellow was not offended  and didn’t yell or argue or do anything negative.  He said, “Interesting” and wandered away.

You might not get an opportunity everyday, but you’ll get them. You’ll be able to enthusiastically talk about your faith because someone asked you a simple question.  You’ll be involved in the ministry of evangelism every day and we’ll be fulfilling the Great Commission of “as you go make di
sciples… “

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There have been five periods of major spiritual revival in the US over the past 300 years. Each had it’s unique method; open air preaching, a focus on holiness and repentance, or small group bible studies but the one constant in all of them was prayer.  It seemed that in each instance people began to get together to pray to God.  These “prayer meetings” were not formal or organized but were simple gatherings of believers who prayed.  It wasn’t 24 hour prayer-a-thons, or prayer walks, or continuous prayer chains around the world events, just people praying.

The other constant was that the people felt a need to “get back to NT Christianity.”  I think it is easy for us to get  a little “mission creep” with whatever we are doing and church is no different. We devise methods and plans to accomplish the Great Commission and soon the plan begins to change and morph into something entirely different. Soon, we are no longer meeting the Great Commission. We become stale and stagnant in our spiritual lives until someone suggests we get “back to the basics.”

We could use a spiritual revival.  It would be nice to see some changes in our own lives as well as those around us.  It would be nice to see our communities begin to change and leave these destructive tendencies and see the healing of lives and families.    It would be great to see Jesus’ name lifted up and exalted about all others in our own homes and cities.

But, only God can bring about a spiritual awakening. The power is in God, not the prayer or the method.  We are but obedient servants, prayerfully obeying the will of God.  Our call and challenge is to obediently pray and wait for a movement of the Lord.  Can you pray?  Will you pray?

At this point, in our modern tendencies, I’d suggest that we all meet somewhere or we go to a conference or we schedule something.  Let’s not.  Let’s just pray.  You set aside a time, or now, and simply pray and ask God to bring a new spiritual fever in your own life and then in the life of others in your church and then in the life of your community.  That’s it.

Do the work of an evangelist – 2 Timothy 4:5

1. Evangelism is Action – Do

We do evangelism.  It is an activity.  We’ve tried to make a part of our everyday activities rather than a special event that requires us to gather in one spot, touch home base (the church building) then go out together following a program.  However, sometimes we get a little off-centered and we exchange other activities for evangelism.  Some of these activities include; fellowship gatherings, conferences, concerts, bible studies, community service, hanging out at the coffee shop together, hanging out at the park together, hanging out at the building together. We do a lot of stuff that doesn’t equal evangelism.  The Great Commission, the last instructions given to the church prior to Jesus ascension, is to make followers of Christ out of all nations.  That’s something specific to do.  Let’s do it.

2. Evangelism is Labor – the work.

This is not easy.  It will be much easier to talk about it, to preach about it, to read about it, to blog about it, to sing about it, to dream about it, to plan it, to program it, and to organize it,  The work is difficult and challenging.  The result do not come easy.  The risk is great. We are commanded to go (Matthew 28:19) but we are not sent alone  (Matthew 28:20).  So we must team up with Jesus and get to work.

 3. Evangelism has a Focus – of an evangelist.

We are to do the work of an evangelism which is evangelizing, which is telling people the simple good news of Jesus Christ.

Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor. – Spurgeon

(I took this outline from evangelismcoach.org)

We’ve all been “church shopping.”  We’ve recently left a congregation (for whatever reason) and now we are looking for a new place where we feel like we fit.  You’ve found a church; it’s warm and friendly, it’s biblical and the worship is real and meaningful.  The Pastor is friendly and personable and preaches the Word of God.

What now?  Here are the next three actions you need to take.

1. Commit to the church

We need to commit to a local church and join it because

1.  We need to spiritual oversight and mentoring (Heb 13:17)
Pastors are better able to provide leadership and encouragement when they know you are “in the flock.”  Pastors don’t always keep an eye out for the occasional visitor and you could “fall through the cracks” and no one would know.  The commitment to the body lets the pastor know he can “meddle” into your spiritual life and provide leadership and guidance.

2.  We need the accountability of the body (Matthew 18:15-17)
When you commit to a body of believers they know they can help you in your spiritual walk. When you get “out of whack” they can be there to help. The body of believers are there to provide encouragement and help in times of need.

3.  We create a stronger group to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
There is much work needed to do in fulfilling this mandate from our Lord and we need more folks to be “on the team.” Your commitment to the group puts you on the team and the people know they can count on you to be there.
There is much work needed to do in fulfilling this mandate from our Lord and we need more folks to be “on the team.” Your commitment to the group puts you on the team and the people know they can count on you to be there.

2. Join a small group Bible study

Besides the accountability and the discipleship you also get the fellowship and community.

There are  many self-taught type people who don’t need a big group to help them learn and grow. I get this. But we do need people for encouragement and community and they need us. I think the big picture that many self-taught types miss out on is that others need them.  Even if you never get anything out of a Bible study taught by another they group needs you.

We all need the encouragement and togetherness of a small group Bible study. This is where we build those lasting relationships that are so much a part of a healthy church.  Every Christian needs to be in a small group.

3.  Get involved in a  ministry

There is plenty to do.  The Great commission is a little more difficult than simply sitting at McDonald’s and telling folks who will listen about Jesus.  There is much work left and we don’t need to be “sitting on the sidelines” or letting someone else do it.  We don’t need to create jobs that are essentially “self-licking ice cream cones” but work that is meaningful, necessary and effective.  I like ministry that makes a difference in people’s lives and eventually gets the Gospel into their heads and hearts.  Membership in the local body gets you “into the game.”