Why we are experiencing such poor evangelistic results when today’s church has more resources, tools, and technological toys than at any time in history. Our lack of harvest stands out in bold relief when placed against the context of Jesus’ promise that “the harvest is plentiful” (Matt. 9:37a). While this promise was directed to the first century disciples, I believe it still rings true today. The second half of the verse points to the essential problem we are facing concerning the harvest—“but the workers are few” (9:37b).
So here is the critical question—what needs to be done to mobilize believers to share the good news? This question takes precedence over other questions such as strategies or methods of evangelism for the twenty-first century. The issue is not a failure of programs but a lack of passion. We have grown indifferent or uncertain about the condition of the lost. We no longer have the concern that once drove believers onto their knees and into the streets.
I work from one simple truth that defines all I do and write—“nothing changes anyone’s heart and mind but the Word of God applied by the Spirit of God. Let me make four simple declarations.
- Prayer is the foundation for all evangelistic activity.
- Evangelism must be the climatic of the church before a strategy will be embraced by the people.
- A biblical foundation for reaching the lost is essential to creating an evangelistic climate.
- Each church must establish an intentional and personalized strategy based on its unique context.
If we go back to Matthew 9 we will find that Jesus not
only gave the reason for such a lean harvest, He gave the solution—“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (38). Evangelistic praying must focus on both the laborers and the potential harvest field. Develop a strategy to pray regularly that God will give people a passion for the lost. Create lists of persons who need Christ and pray for them by name in every small group setting.
Since God’s Word changes a person’s heart and mind, we must develop a sound theological foundation for evangelism. Here are a few doctrinal non-negotiables.
- The lost person will be eternally separated from God in hell.
- Christ provides the only access to the Father.
- The fields are ripe for the harvest.
- The Great Commission is a mandate.
- Witness is who we are before it is what we do.
- The Holy Spirit empowers us to witness.
- God produces the results through us.
Each church must have a personalized and intentional strategy that includes building relationships with lost people, equipping everyone to present the gospel, taking the Good News to the streets, inviting people to accept Christ, and assimilating and nurturing new believers.
Here are a couple of new resources from Auxano Press you may find helpful—Splash and V.E.L.C.R.O. Church.