How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. | Romans 10:14–17
As a pastor, I have a lot of conversations about how we are going to reach the lost with the gospel. These conversations vary in content, but they all start from the same place: it is the job of the church to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.
One of the changes that I have seen in the church is a shift from seeing this as an individual responsibility to seeing it as a institutional one. In other words, while we have become individualistic in our thinking, we have tended to expect the responsibilities to be taken by the organizations. This has implications on how we view politics and social justice, but also how we view evangelism. If we believe that the church as institution is responsible for people hearing the gospel, than we will spend most of our time trying to figure out how to get people to our church service. We will create outreach events aimed at engaging the culture. We will make sure our band and look is contextual. The pastor will be the main means of the Word being preached.
If you bring a friend to church, they should hear the gospel! The gathered church is not a place where evangelism doesn’t happen; this also isn’t the main thing we are doing on Sunday. This is primarily a gathering of the Ekklesia, the people of God, coming to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered. It is when the saints are equipped for ministry (Ephesians 4.12) and the word of God is preached in order to teach all that Jesus taught (Matthew 28.20). It is a time to take communion, eating the bread/drinking the cup, and proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11.26). It is also a time for us to minister to one another through conversations filled with the word and through singing to God with one voice (Colossians 3.16). In other words, Sunday gatherings are primarily a time for the church to be the church. When does the church do evangelism then?
The idea is that as we send out these encouraged, equipped, and empowered saints into the world, that THEY will be the ones proclaiming Jesus to the lost. It is an extremely limited thing to narrow the mission-field to those who would be willing to walk through the doors of a church or who will show up to a revival. The church has people in every company and subculture. We have people in all clubs and city councils. Every Christian I know has unreached people in their own family. What the church needs is not more events aimed at reaching the lost; we need more Christian who speak about their faith. We need to not only be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, but we need to actually do it! Simply because we believe that God will do His work through the proclamation of His word and that He is glorified through it.
Change the world: SHARE YOUR FAITH.