Hodgepodge Evangelism

eyeseeyouI believe that one of the most beneficial changes any church could make is to correct their misunderstanding of evangelism.  We’ve made such a monster of it in our minds that very few of us do any of it at all.  We count on having user-friendly churches with seeker-sensitive assemblies featuring a great preacher, state-of-the-art equipment and methods.  We rely on doing Bible classes and assemblies so well that when people visit us to do their church shopping, we hope they’ll choose us instead of that other church down the road.  There are three things wrong with that.

·         First, it’s not evangelism it’s accumulation.

·         Secondly, people who have to be won by attractive methods and surface cosmetics will only last as long as those remain valid.

·         Third, it is a focus and emphasis unknown by Jesus, the apostles and the early church.

The church that won the Roman Empire knew nothing of “user-friendly” or “seeker-sensitive churches or spectacular methods of reaching the unconverted.  Mark Galli writes,

What it did have seems paltry: unspectacular people, with a hodgepodge of methods (so hodgepodge they can hardly be called “methods”), and rarely a gathering of more than a handful of people.  The paltry seems to have been enough, however, to make an emperor or two stop and take notice (Christian History, Issue 57, p. 8).

Without publicized campaigns or even an explicit evangelistic strategy, Christianity made its way quietly and effectively in an environment not wholly unlike that in the post-Christian West today. 

            Glenn Hinson writes, “Most churches had the same goal: evangelism.”  But it was not evangelism based on getting people into church buildings since it was nearly 300 years before the first one was built.  This was evangelism by friendship.  It was outreach through good works such as feeding the hungry and rescuing abandoned children (1 Peter 2:12).  It was the message of a moral and pure way of life (1 Peter 3:2).  It was seen in their keen pursuit of justice.  Each disciple was ready to tell their friends and associates the reason for their hope (1 Peter 3:15).

            Evangelism is the life-blood of any congregation of the church.  Only if it becomes our goal, we will truly become alive.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Hodgepodge Evangelism

  1. Jessica McGaughy

    Very true, and thought-provoking! Thank you, Dwight!

  2. Terry

    For people to tell others about the wonderful relationship that can be had with God they first must have one, they don’t. You cannot share something you do not have and you will not share something that you do not understand. And one reason they do not understand is because the past generations have not done a good job of helping us to know who God is.
    In many areas we have redefined God’s intent. We have redefind many things in the Church from it’s intented meanings of worship, giving, preachers (a word used just one time in the New Testament) evangelist as well as many others and until we start a correction course people being won over to Jesus will not happen. Right now we are going through a sifting of sorts and some of us have to be prepared to work with those that come through that shifting. The struggle, who will lead this charge? It want be Shepherds, the ones Jesus left in charge. It want be trained (preachers) because in most cases they are still filtering what they learn through what they have always known. In truth it will be those who are in love with God and not just the idea of God, They will teach what is right in the face of persuction from their own and they will teach those who are seeking out a relationship with their creator. They will waste little to no time chasing those who do not want to know and less time teaching those who should know and yet refuse to except the fact that they do not know.
    Many are called but few are chosen, the very words of Jesus.

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