What If We Stop Doing Evangelism?
The question is a sobering one to think about. Often when we hear the word “evangelism”, fear takes over and we get nervous that someone might ask us to do something that we feel we can’t.
Church, your faces tell the story on Sunday morning when we talk about sharing the Gospel with our friends and family! There is a visible reaction when I mention the words “evangelism” and “sharing the gospel”. The reaction is a mixture of fear and disconnect. It may not be intentional but it happens. Fear and discomfort set in and we don’t know what to do about it.
We recently read an article at our staff meeting that posed the question, “What will happen if the church continues to ignore evangelism?” Using the warning given to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2, the author warned that if the church does not repent for its lack of evangelism and return to the things that the church should do, then we were in danger of losing our effectiveness and possibly even our existence as a church.
As I read the article, things got quiet in the room. All eyes were hanging pretty low because I know that they felt, as I do, that evangelism is tough and at times it’s not the priority it should be. As I continued to read, Jesus’s words from Matthew 5:13-15 were explained. Listen to these words from Scripture:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp
and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house."
Even if our evangelistic pulse is faint, God’s Word is clear about our response - We are called to be salt. We are called to be light. And if we don’t, then God’s Word says that we will be ineffective and “no longer good for anything but to be thrown under people’s feet”
Pretty powerful words, right?
God does not want us to be ineffective – that is not what He wants for you and I. Rather, He wants us to repent (if we have reason to repent) and make sharing the Gospel with our friends, co-workers, and family a priority.
As I finished reading the article, I immediately went into a chapter in “How to Grow” where author Darryl Dash gives an introductory understanding of what the Gospel is. As the words leapt off the page, Darryl pointed us to God’s holiness, God’s love, God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s mission. It was refreshing because it reminded us together of just how good that Good News is. We ended with a time of reflective prayer, thanking God for the Gospel and the privilege we have of sharing it.
Don’t worry Church, I’m still working this out in my own life but my desire is to grow in missional effectiveness while God gives me time. Who’s with me, by God’s grace?
You are dearly loved,
Note: Evangelism is a muscle and every muscle needs exercise. Join us for March’s EQUIP as we dive into evangelism and get some tools to help us share this amazing news we have been given. EQUIP is on Monday March 9th.
Stories shape us. They remind us where we have been, and encourage us for the journey ahead. On May 26th we'll be telling stories and asking some important questions. What is the impact of your faith as you live out your life, and what is the impact of our church on the community around us.
After the service there will be a free BBQ with special guests Forest Cliff Camp. All are invited; mark your calendars and plan to attend. We can't wait to see you!
When it comes to the local church, times have changed. A few generations ago, the local church was a natural hub for the community – a connecting point – providing support and services to the entire neighbourhood. But in recent years many churches have struggled to balance gospel-centred ministries with community-centred programs. How much time should we give over to programs and events where the Word is not preached and there is no opportunity to come to Christ?
Several years ago, a ministry leader said to me, "We are a church, not a social program." Ouch. That’s a little harsh. He’s right though, we absolutely should be making disciples who love God. But we also need to love people and serve the world.
It would be so much easier if the Bible said, “Pick one - would you like to love God, love people, or would you prefer to serve the world?"
I can love God when I read my Bible, making notes in the margins and whispering “Amen!” at the encouraging parts. I can love people by making meals or talking to them when they are feeling blue. And I can serve the world by giving my money to organizations that are doing great work.
But in actual fact, for the Christ-follower, loving God comes first and the rest follows closely behind. You see it is out of the overflow of loving God that we love the people that He has placed in our lives. 1 John 4:19-21 says, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.“ And because Jesus Christ lay down His life for those He loved, we also die to self and serve others.
As a church we are committed to our neighbours. Calvary provides free space for GirlZone, a group presented by Boys & Girls Club, plus a playgroup for parents who are newer to the country or who need support, and for the Halton Prenatal Program (HPNP) for expectant and new mothers.
A number of people from Calvary are involved in a community Food For Life program, and we provide space and support for community endeavours such as North BurLINKton Dinner Night Out and 55+ Lunch, partnerships with Halton Police, and more. At different times of the year we collect shoeboxes of toys, baby bottles of coins, and a variety of food and hygiene items for our community. We run movie nights, game nights, pizza nights, student hangouts... the list goes on.
We don't tell you this to pump ourselves up, rather to help you see that Calvary is extensively involved in our community on many different levels. What happens on a Sunday morning is exceedingly valuable, but it's just a piece of the puzzle that makes up our church calendar.
So the question remains - since we are a church, how much time should we give over to programs that are not Theocentric? For the answer we look to Scripture. 2 Corinthians 4:5 says, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” Church, everything we do is God-centred because it begins with a love for Jesus and a desire to serve Him and the people He has placed in this community. We love others because we are loved, and we serve others because He served us and laid His life down for the church.
While we are not a social program or community centre, God has strategically placed us in the centre of the Mountainside community for a reason.
Curious about some of these things we've listed? Find out if you can drop in and see, or even if you can support some of the programs that are happening. Maybe GirlZone would like you to organize snack or teach a game. Dinner Night Out could need you to wash dishes or make coffee. You might be the ideal person to spearhead the next church BBQ or games night.
Love God? Love people? Serve the world? I’m thankful that we don’t have to pick just one. By God’s grace and through His love we have the privilege of engaging in all three.
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.