On Sunday we talked about a culture of evangelism. This is a phrase I stole from Mack Stiles in his evangelism book. What he means is that evangelism is something that is an embedded part of what the church is and does as a group. Evangelism is not a solo sport, something we do on our own as individuals, but something the church does as a body—“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
In the conclusion I listed some essentials of a culture of evangelism. This was my adaptation from a list that Stiles included in chapter 2. I thought that I would summarize it here for you by way of reminder:
- We must love those who are not yet Christians. We must learn to see them as those who are created by God and bear his image. That means a judgmental spirit has no place in God’s church.
- We must know the gospel and be prepared to explain it. If you cannot summarize the gospel in less than a minute, keep practicing.
- We must be confident of the power of the gospel to transform hearts and minds.
- We must understand the means God has given for evangelism and embrace those means.
- We must be able to work together as one. We are strongest when we work together in the same direction. Competition has no place in a church that truly cares about evangelism. And that means being excited about people sharing their faith and encouraging those who do. One of the ways you can encourage it is by making sure to greet those whom others bring to church with excitement and kindness.
- We must not be afraid to talk about spiritual things with those who come. Ask them if they are a Christian. If not, ask them if they are exploring Christianity. Ask about what questions they have.
- We must understand that the goal in evangelism is for individuals to be completely transformed to be like Jesus. We want more than just a commitment. When someone professes faith, we should rejoice, but never think the job is done. We must have the long-term in mind.
Simply put that means that our building on the foundation that Christ laid must be fitting to that foundation—humility, sacrifice and service, with a focus on the long-term, not just the short.