Evangelism For The 21st Century
Mid-State Bible Institute
With this lesson we are now one third the way done with this class. By now
you have probably started to notice that Evangelism is something that the
Christian Worker has to plan for. It is not something you just “go do”. You
must know God’s Word at least enough to share Scripture. You need to have
a plan, and you need to be right with God yourself. One of the reasons most
evangelistic efforts sees no fruit is because the Christian worker is not
prepared. But, there is another reason that evangelism fails many times.
That reason is because the Christian workers heart is not in it to start with.
They would rather be doing something else…anything, just not evangelism.
Many Christian workers approach Evangelism like a job…something that has
to be done, or something that they “have to” do. If you have ever had a job
that you did not like, or a job that you loved, you will understand my next
statement. For Evangelism to be successful, it must be a way of life, not a
job. If you approach Evangelism like a job, people will see it. They will know
that you are not sincere, and that you really don’t care. In 21st century
Evangelism, people need to know you care. They are looking for something
real. The custom of the Rabbi’s during the life of Jesus was to wait until
students would come to them and ask if they could be their student. The
Rabbi would then take them under their wings and teach them with the hopes
that some day, they would pass on the information to others. But, when
Jesus started His earthly ministry, He did the exact opposite. In Matthew
4:19, Jesus approaches Peter and Andrew and says, “follow me and I will
make you fishers of men”. By doing this, Jesus was establishing a new norm.
No longer was the teacher to sit around a wait for a student to pass on
information to, but was to go out and find students to transform. Notice in this
verse that Jesus did not say, “follow me and I’ll give you some information”.
No, He said, “I will make you…”. What Jesus had to offer was not just
information, but a transformation. When we approach Evangelism as a Job,
we end up just passing on information as the Rabbi’s did. But, if it is our way
of life, if we really believe and live what we are saying, our Evangelistic
endeavors become transforming to those who hear.
“The call to evangelize is a call to do what Jesus did, and it is a very high
calling. Evangelism in the local church is not a program, a Bible study, or
fellowship time. Evangelism is the very DNA on which the church was born,
grows, thrives, and reproduces” (Evangelism for the 21st Century, Dr. Kevin
Riggs, page 39). At this point I would like you to read Ephesians 4:11.
Notice in this passage that there are five offices in the church…. Apostles,
Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers. The Apostle is a “messenger,
or someone who is sent”, The Prophet is a “foreteller”, the Evangelist is a
person who “preaches the Gospel, the Pastor is “a shepherd”, and the
Teacher is “an instructor”. In this verse, Paul is telling us that God calls us to
different ministries. And the ministry that has the sole function of preaching
the Gospel is the Evangelist. Without this, there is no church. Without
evangelism, there is no need for a teacher or preacher. Without the
21st Century Evangelist, the work of the “messenger” and the “foreteller”
would be in vain. And if we approach it as a job, the transformation will never
take place. Is it any wonder that many churches are closing their doors? Is it
any wonder that Christianity has lost it’s power?
Another reason, that goes hand-in-hand with this thought is that we have lost
our joy. Christians today, especially in America, have no joy in their Christian
walk. Church to them is something they are suppose to do, instead of
something to look forward to. God created us to be part of a community. He
built within each of us a sense of needing to belong. In Hebrews 10:25, God
tells us to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together…”. God created
us to be part of a Christian fellowship. But since so many churches have lost
their first love, and there is no room for Jesus inside anymore. The love of
many has grown cold. Fellowship and communion together is a thing of the
past. The Joy that passes all understanding is gone, and as a result,
Evangelism has become a thing of the past. If your not happy about your
Christian community, are you going to go and share the Gospel with others?
Probably not. If going to church is boring, Evangelism will be boring. If you
don’t love Church, you wont love Evangelism. And if going to the house of
God is a chore to you, Evangelism will be a chore to you as well. We see a
wonderful example of this in Acts 2. In this chapter we read that the
community of believers met regularly to teach, fellowship, break bread
together, pray. And then in verse 47 we read, “and the Lord added to their
number daily those who were being saved”. You want an
effective Evangelistic ministry? Get happy about Church again.