One of my friends commented to me recently; “So many Christians are like bad photos …over exposed and underdeveloped.” What did my friend mean by that? I believe what he was trying to say was simple. The church is not doing a good job, its commissioned job, of making disciples. If you and I are disciples we will be witnesses. I didn’t say that Jesus did.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
220 Million Lost Americans live, work, play and walk around us every day yet they are not encountering the Gospel. They are not seeing the Gospel lived out. They are not hearing the Gospel. Ray Comfort’s research tells us that 97% of “Christians” will not share their faith before they die. 97%!!! What are churches doing to reach adults in our society?
Doing What we’ve Always Done and …
Some are doing what they always done…evangelistic VBS, Harvest Revivals, Compassion evangelism and event evangelism and it seems to still work. In some areas! There does seem to be a shift however from confrontational evangelism (cold calls door to door) to serving the community or Servant Evangelism. Dr. Chuck Kelly president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary said this in a recent chapel at NOBTS “What confrontational evangelism was in the 70’s – Servant evangelism is to this generation.”
Pastor John Marshall…said the size of the church is not the issue. If your church is 10 people you can do something locally. It is the heart and the mindset of your people that will impact your community for Christ. What impact is your church making on your community? If your church had to close the doors would the community scream out in pain of the loss or would they even notice.
You may remember how you first learned how to ride a bike. I do.. it involved training wheels. Those little wheels let me ride with confidence until I developed a good enough feel for the bike to ride without them. Our Sunday School classes or small groups are the training wheels to help our people learn to become evangelistic! Kevin Myers, pastor of 12 Stones Church in the Atlanta area challenges his people to:
- Be Inspiring ……to challenge neighbors to be on a spiritual journey
- Be Sharing life…..small groups seek to reach out not IN
- Be Giving ourselves away…….involved in the community by giving back
He says,” The lack of programming is on purpose. We want our people to engage in their community. “
Churches should take a fresh look at their disciple-making process if they desire to reach the LOST. Churches should equip their folks to share the Gospel. Then they should release them to reach their community. With that in mind I keep going back to Kevin Myers words “The lack of programming is on purpose, we want our people to engage in their community.”
Steve H. Pearson is the Evangelism Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention.