Having established the need for personal revival (see part 1), we can start to look now at reviving evangelism. When we think about a church being focused on evangelism it must be different that mere outreach.
Outreach used to mean preaching the gospel.
Outreach has become the “churchy” equivalent of advertising and marketing. That is, our efforts to recruit people to our church. This outreach is manifest through our donations or acts of service or even compassion for wounded hearts and souls. Certainly, we should show love, but acts of love divorced from the gospel is not the great commission. Showing love is wonderful, but the most authentic demonstration of love is to bring to light the soul’s condition before a holy and omniscient God.
Let’s start with the premise that the paramount mission of the church is the proclamation of the gospel and creation of disciples. That’s according to Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. (Matthew 28:19)
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
Why does this commission need to be revived? Why is the church today, regardless of denominational affiliation so anemic? Why aren’t more souls bent in prayer, and more saints fasting and begging the Lord for His intercession? Why aren’t more believers utterly captivated with Christ and what He has done to the point of overflow? Is our love for the Lord somehow constrained to Sunday morning at a specific building?
If these questions have never plagued your conscience, let me plant the seed.
Evangelism is proclaiming good news and there isn’t any better news on the planet. Our evangelism efforts must include redeemed believers actually going out to share the gospel. How shall they hear unless one preaches? What that looks like will differ from region to region. The Lord said “to let our light so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew5:16)
We are all called to proclaim the facts that once I was lost but now I’m found. Once I was blind but now I see. I’m a terrible sinner saved by a great Savior.
Other believers will notice if you are stirred up for evangelism, and guess what? It is contagious! At your prayer meeting, report on activities that are related to proclaiming the gospel. Tell others the names of the people you share the gospel with and the response, so they can join you in prayer.
There’s a well-known atheist who was quoted as saying, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
You may say, I’m not an evangelist. Do you know a believer who is? You can ask them how they start a gospel conversation. You could offer to help with a door-to-door campaign, or about what tracts they use or join them the next time they go to preach the gospel.
You may say, I’m not in a leadership position at my church to start working. This is not uncommon, neither is it insurmountable. Speak to the leadership about your burden. You can also simply ask for prayers in your church in advance of the work. Or go and do the work and report on it at your prayer meeting.
There is no church that is not under the watchful eye of Christ. There is no church that is excused from the great commission. What would He say about yours?
This is not an all-inclusive list to revive evangelism but it is a good starting point:
- It is paramount that the church repents from distractions and turn our faces to the living God for direction and provision.
- We ought to confess our sins to the Lord and to one another.
- We should seek the Lord for a vision in evangelism, praying over and for our families, our homes, our neighborhoods, our towns. Pray for gifted believers.
- Make evangelism a priority of our prayer meetings. Pray for the preachers, and pray for conversions.
- Make evangelism a priority of the leadership of your church. Find events or avenues to proclaim the gospel and show the love of Christ.
Some practical options
Send out a mailer. The U.S. post office has a service that will send to every residence on a route. This is a great avenue to proclaim the gospel, it’s like mailing out a tract. There is a possibility the mailer will get thrown away. So, use that as the impetus for a visit to the door. You can start the conversation with, “did you see the mailer we sent out?” It helps to have a reason to knock on someone’s door.
Look for a fair or festival. Our state has a farm show that attracts close to a million visitors over the course of a week. There are routinely evangelists there sharing the gospel one on one. Big events like this are a great encouragement to the church.
Purpose to have gospel conversations. Make a point of introducing yourself to your neighbors and bring a tract to share the glorious hope that is within you!
How precious to pray to God about these types of works in your community, and see the Lord answer prayer!