Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Key for an Evangelistic Church

A couple of different places I look every week linked to an article entitled, "15 Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today" by Thom S. Rainier.  It's a good idea to think about why churches aren't evangelistic.  Have you noticed that lists are click bait?  People who write top ten lists get attention for their blog.  It's number one on a list of ten reasons for getting blog traffic.  I've been sent to Rainier's list posts on various occasion, because they're working. Some of his points on these lists are true sometimes like a broken clock is right twice a day.  Number one, breathing is good.  Number two, drinking water also is good.  With  thumb  and index finger, I stroke my chin hair with contemplation.

Thom with an "h" has fifteen -- two more than a baker's dozen and four less than Johnny Unitas's jersey number -- reasons churches are less evangelistic.  The list is worth reading.  They were gleaned from his unscientific twitter poll.  Number one was, "Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people."  Why are shoes scuffed?  Shoe wearers have no sense of urgency to shine their shoes.

Our church is an evangelistic church.  This is going to sound too obvious to some, but the reason we're an evangelistic church is because we are preaching the gospel to people.  It isn't acceptable in our church not to be evangelistic.  You will stick out if you are not evangelistic.  I was evangelistic this last week because I evangelized.  I wanted to evangelize, so I did.  It was not acceptable not to evangelize.  It never is.

Almost every Sunday night in our evening service, our church gives evangelistic testimonies.  People have testimonies.  My oldest daughter is graduating with Kinesiology and does internship at a physical therapist's.  They all know she is a Christian and since she was open about it, she has preached the gospel to the staff.  My wife has two evangelistic Bible studies going with a lady she just discipled.  She was looking for a woman's house, whom she had talked to.  She wasn't sure of the address, so she stopped at the wrong house.  That house was interested in a Bible study.  Then she went to the actual house and that lady wanted one.

I had an appointment where I discussed the gospel for four hours over a meal.  After it was over, I stopped at the hardware store to pick up some weather stripping, and a solar power salesman started a conversation in the aisle.  I preached the gospel to him.  How?  I told him I would buy solar if it were less expensive for me.  I told him I would buy solar if I thought I was destroying the earth, but I don't.  I said, I believe the world will be destroyed a different way.  Jesus would come and judge the earth.  I went from there. A teenager asked me for some help the next day, and I preached the gospel to her.  I went door to door, and the first person we met, I talked to a fifty-something African American woman the entire time.  I preached the entire plan of salvation to her.  That was not an unusual week.

Our church is evangelistic because we evangelize.  We schedule it and we do it.  I don't go a week without preaching the gospel to someone.  Our church knows I do the work of the evangelist.  They follow my leadership.  People think that's what it is to be a Christian.  Jesus said, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  If you are not a fisher of men, then you are not following Jesus Christ.  If you are not following Jesus Christ, are you a saved person?  A regular conversation in our church is about who we are evangelizing.

You can't read the New Testament without reading about evangelism.  Almost every teaching in the New Testament relates to evangelism.  The unity of the church is about evangelism.  Dealing with problems is about evangelism.  Being strong is about evangelism.  Christian liberty is about evangelism.  If you are filled with the Spirit, you will preach the Word of God with boldness.  Prayer is about opening my mouth boldly as I ought to speak.

Every day I pray for the kingdom of Jesus Christ to come.  When Jesus Christ came, He preached the gospel of the kingdom.  The gospel relates to the kingdom.  Jesus is King.  If you pray for the kingdom to come, then you will talk about the King.  You want Him to reign.  You want Him to reign now in people's hearts. How will that happen?  Through the gospel.

I believe that the list of fifteen complicates this issue too much.  It really is a list for evangelicals and certain fundamentalists, who don't get it.  They have so grown up in churches using church growth strategies, that they don't recognize the life of Jesus Christ in the church.  It's all the trappings of church stuff that is part of successful church attendance.  They are building their attendance, not the kingdom.  They want to see their church get bigger, and evangelism is actually an enemy of that.  People don't want to join a church where they will have to evangelize.  This is easy.  If you want people to be comfortable, you can't talk about preaching.  So these churches don't.  Even some of the strongest, conservative evangelical churches don't.  They might be very theological and exegete their brains out, but it's rare they evangelize.

So again, the key to having an evangelistic church is evangelizing.  The key is that there really is no key.


Dad Kirby said...

Thanks for the encouragement and reminder of what we are to be doing. The other day was a first for me. I was talking to a lady at a house realty closing for our son and gave her my favourite gospel tract, "This was Your Life". We talked briefly as she had to move on to another closing. But the interesting part was she emailed me latter to thank me. She didn't have any reason but the word of God had an impact. Isaiah 55:11 keeps coming back to mind, sometimes we see the truth of it but the fact of the truth of it, is. Praise be to our God for His Truth. Thank you and the family for continued faithfulness in one of the hardest places on earth. I knew that when we left the Bay Area 45 years ago. The fields are ripe, no matter where we go now.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Dad.

Everyone, this is my father-in-law who is tremendous as a personal evangelist and maker of disciples, terrific love for the Lord. I appreciate that dad.

Bill Hardecker said...

Now c'mon, Pastor Brandenburg. There's explosive and cooperative (ecumenical) evangelism, There's Alpha courses, there's Mega-church outreaches & "compassionate" (social) ministries, there's the drawing swarms of folks in via worship music & CCM, I guess this could be "music" evangelism. There's a whole host of other innovations, you know.

Well, I'd rather stick to the Bible. There's proclamation evangelism, preaching or proclaiming the good news of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There's earnest and fervent prayer for boldness, for the word of Lord to have free course, and be glorified. There's going out on purpose to proclaim, to reason and to persuade; there's even more incidentals and opportunities to speak a word for the Lord Jesus, to represent Him in fleeting moments that will never be again be repeated (like in a check out line, or a bus stop, etc.). The evangelism opportunities abound much more if our hearts and eyes were but open to the harvest field all around us. I appreciate this post Pastor B. Thank you.