"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:35 (NASB)
As we move into this next discussion on evangelism, I would like to talk to you about a culture of evangelism. I believe that this form of evangelism should be the most prominent strategy in Christ’s church. Of course, there are a variety of ways that we can get the good news to the lost, but I believe developing a culture of evangelism is the most effective for clarity and longevity. The early church grew so rapidly because people were talking about Jesus wherever they went. They brought people to check out the community of saints, the church. When lost people saw how different the church was from the surrounding world, they wanted in. That is really the way it should be with us. We should be bringing lost people to our services, our fellowship events, our Bible studies, our meal ministry, and our Sunday School classrooms to let them check us out. We are a team. Consider what Mack Styles writes as he describes a culture of evangelism that should be descriptive of Christ’s church:
When I coached my five-year-old son’s soccer team, we would gather the team (very, very cute) and ask, “Okay, team, when the other team has the ball, which of our players are on defense?” They would shout, with gusto, “Everyone!” Then we would ask, “And when we have the ball, which of our players are on offense?” “Everyone!” they answered. However, when it came to an actual game, putting that concept into play proved to be a bit more difficult with five-year-olds. Evangelism is like that. But the goal for both is the same: for all to pull in the same direction together. In a culture of evangelism, there is an understanding that everyone is engaged. Have you ever heard someone say, “Evangelism is not my gift,” as if that excused him from sharing his faith? That’s a kindergarten understanding of evangelism. All Christians are called to share their faith as a point of faithfulness, not gifting (Matt. 28: 19). I long to share my faith in the context of a church that understands what I’m doing and is pulling with me. In such a culture, when I bring a friend to church, others don’t assume that person is a Christian. They are not shocked when I introduce someone and say, “This is Bob, and he’s checking out Christianity.” And not only are they not shocked, but they respond with something like this: “I’m so glad you are here. I was in the same place a couple of years ago, and I’d love to hear about it. Tell me, what are you thinking through?” I long for a culture where we are all working together toward the goal of being witnesses for Christ. (Stiles, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus)
On Sunday, April 8, we are going to have an evangelistically oriented Sunday. The sermon will be more evangelistically oriented. We will have a chili fellowship afterwards, which will allow you the church to build relationships with many of our guests. And, all of the proceeds will go to support Rusty Ford and his family evangelize through missions in Spain. Please make plans to attend and be thinking about how you can participate in our culture of evangelism at Grace. Until next time, this is pastor Daniel writing, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”