In this mission appreciation month, Pastor Mark and I are writing a series of articles related to this all important topic. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on evangelism with you. Most people assume, rightly, that the work of the local church is: - Edification: equipping believers for ministry - Benevolence: meeting the needs of destitute brethren - Evangelism: spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost
The organization and worship of the church naturally focus on the first two, i.e., edification and benevolence. The third, evangelism, risk neglect, unless we direct conscious effort to focus on it. And neglecting evangelism, I believe, will be harmful to the spiritual life of the church. To prevent this from happening and to give focused attention to this important duty, let’s begin by first understanding what evangelism is.
The translated words “gospel”, “preach” and “evangelist” all come from the same root word in Greek: euaggelion, euaggelizo and euaggelistes, respectively. I’m sure you’d notice the close association: gospel means good news, to preach is to bring good news, and evangelist is one who declares good news. And in the New Testament, to “evangelize” refers to bringing the good news of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Hence, basically, evangelism is sharing the gospel. But we mustn’t forget that it is something that is commanded by Jesus Christ. It was He who gave us the Great Commission and He wants the good news proclaimed to every person in the world!
Moreover, we mustn’t be lulled into thinking that the work is to be done solely by preachers and pastors; it is a duty appointed to all Christians: “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Evangelism is also conducted by churches sending forth pastors and preachers, just like the Church in Antioch of Syria, which sent forth Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13). Evangelism is advanced also by churches helping those who go forth to preach. We note that Paul received help time and again from churches like Philippi. And individual Christians are praised in the New Testament for being “fellow workers for the truth”.
A church without evangelism is like a branch of the vine not bearing fruit; it is out of step with its Lord. It will be cut off!
Evangelism is Christ’s appointed means for the saving of souls and you need to be involved. You could go and tell others the good news or help and send others to go on your behalf.
So I encourage you as individual Christians and as a congregation never to lose heart for evangelism.
Pastor Robert Chew