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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:
(page   1   2   3   4   5   6)
Editor 20/05/2014 23:25
I don't know all the churches in Perth, but (for Presbyterian) try the Free Church; for Pentecostal the Perth Christian Centre.

The Trinity Church of the Nazarene might be another.

I could certainly put you in touch with a reliable believer in Perth who would be able to give you an overview of all the churches. (Send me an e-mail if you wish.)
Clinton Baptist (Guest) 21/05/2014 21:42
Well, Mr Editor, why not throw in the RCC as well, for good measure? Such are your ecumenical leanings!
Editor 22/05/2014 09:34
Sorry Clinton, I will not do as you suggest. (I am given you the benefit of the doubt and interpreting your remark as an honest suggestion rather than sarcasm.)

I would not recommend the Roman Catholic Church (if that is what you are referring to). I do not believe in many of their major doctrines. (And it is most likely be that much of the RCC church - but not just much of the RCC - comprises the apostate church at the end of days.

You may wish to visit -
http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/199086/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Current_News/The_Reformation_they.aspx

And just to say that the 'unity' I seek is not 'ecumenical' (organisational/denominational) it is 'unity in the Spirit'.

The fore-runner to this website was a paper newsletter of the same name. I was under substantial pressure at the time to entitle the newsletter 'Churches Together'. I chose not to for the reason I have given above.

If you are a believer and follower of Christ you will know what I am talking about. But of course I don't know whether or not you are.

However as this article is about evangelism let's keep it on that topic.
John Miller 22/05/2014 10:40
James. I can unhesitatingly recommend the Knox Free Church in Perth. Paul Gibson, the minister is a faithful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in my opinion is possessed of a gift by the Holy Spirit in preaching and teaching, besides his concern for pastoral care.

We visited the church recently in Paul's absence and received a very warm Christian welcome.

He faithfully stood against sexual perversion in the Church of Scotland in Tain suffering as a result. We have had the privilege of having him preach on more than one occasion at our church fellowship in Glenrothes and his ministry was a blessing to all.
James (Guest) 22/05/2014 22:45
Thank you all very much for the recommendations/comments etc.
But they all seem to me to be subjective?
John Miller 23/05/2014 11:20
Sorry James, I don't follow your reasoning.

We can only recommend a subject, individual or institution by arriving at a subjective evaluation based on the facts as we judge them, based on our own knowledge and experience. You asked if anyone could recommend a Bible believing church in Perth. I gave you an honest recommendation based on my belief in the Bible and my knowledge and experience of the Knox Free Church. What more are you looking for?
Editor 23/05/2014 11:38
James, I would share John's comment. To my knowledge there is no definitive study available on the different churches in Perth (which would be 'objective'). Therefore any advice which you receive as a result of your request would be necessarily 'subjective'. I did offer (and the offer still stands) to put you in touch with a solid believer in Perth who (I believe) would offer you an unbiassed overview of the churches in the area.

If you are looking for a traditional 'minister-led, building-based' church then you might find help by reading one of the most visited articles on this website is entitled 'What to look for in a church' -
http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/155046/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Christian_Survival_Resource/What_to_look.aspx

Otherwise there are an increasing number of house churches around the country (and Perth is probably no exception).

Trust that you are able to find a spiritual home.
Witness (Guest) 29/05/2014 11:51
Evangelism?
Editor, I note that you have a caption "Don't follow the crowd, follow Jesus".
Perhaps you should make a correction, and insert the word TRUE between follow and Jesus?
I say this because, in his book "RAYS OF MESSIAH'S GLORY" David Baron (orthodox Jewish believer in Jesus Christ) writes; "More than forty false Messiahs appeared in the history of the Jewish nation, all of whom were followed by multitudes, and a few of them were in turn proclaimed to be the true Messiah by some of their greatest Rabbis...."

I think that Christians would do well to apply that solemn truth to their walk with God?
Dipphe (Guest) 10/06/2014 13:14
With respect to "evangelism" in the UK, what constitutes Britishness? Is there such a thing as Britishness-Mr Cameron seems to think so. Britain is the UK, I can understand why people used to call (some still do-laughs!) Britain a Christian country, so with that in mind, people can point folk in this nation BACK to the Bible; because our values were in no small way based on God's Word. So ultimately if Mr Cameron wants traditional British values taught in UK schools, he had better start sending Bibles back to every school?
I think I might write to him.
John Miller 10/06/2014 20:08
Dipphe, please let us know Mr Cameron's response.
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NOTICE: - The 'Response' facility on some articles may be restricted to CT site members. In these circumstances comments/questions from non-site members should be sent to the Editor by e-mail: editor<atsign>christianstogether.net

Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Reaching Out > Evangelism - what's needed: what's missing?