Somehow, we all know that evangelism is important. Despite this, we tend to leave it to the side, believing we are not the people to do this massive and holy task. Often, we come up with excuses as to why we cannot do evangelism. Sadly, this means the task gets left undone. The world is filled with thousands of churches that claim evangelism is important, yet unfortunately, they are doing nothing—or next to nothing—for its progress in the world.
This is the gloomy reality we face today. My heart yearns for the Church today to realize the essential priority of evangelism. I long to see men and women raised up like Isaiah: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me’” (Isa 6:8). Isaiah was captivated by the vision of God’s glory. Enraptured by what he saw, he could do nothing else but volunteer himself when the question was asked. God’s glory was precious to him. He had no other desire than to spread the Word about that glory to those who would listen.
Do you have the same passion as Isaiah? I do not mean that you have to drop everything you are doing to suddenly become a full-time evangelist. Are you willing, however, to make a priority out of evangelism? Are you willing to do the work of evangelism yourself? Or maybe you are willing to fund those who do? Or maybe you could do better at praying for evangelism? Whatever the circumstances, I hope by the end of this article God has convicted your heart by His Word to prioritize evangelism.
Doing the Work
At the beginning of his book on evangelism, Ernest Reisinger wrote: “The church that does not evangelize will fossilize, that is, dry up and become useless to Christ and the world.”1Reisinger. E. C. Today’s Evangelism: Its message and Methods. Craig Press. Philipsburg: NJ. (1982). Xv He was absolutely right. We need evangelists in the Church today, otherwise, who will hear the message? The Apostle Paul specified “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom 10:14). If people are to come to church and hear the Word, then churches need to send members to find those people. We need to cast our nets across the shores of our cities, towns, and villages, taking the gospel wherever there are people to hear it.
This can be done in a variety of ways. We can go to the streets to meet people, talk to people at work and school, even create events at church where we can meet new people. The opportunities are vast and almost unlimited. Think, right now, about how you might be able to better give the gospel to the people around you. Perhaps you can go to the streets to meet people? Can you organize visits to a local prison? Can you set up a pastoral ministry for those suffering in hospitals? There are a number of opportunities, and we cannot let them all fly past our heads. The Church is quickly fossilizing. Only if we are faithful with this calling will we see the revitalizing Water of Life transform this situation.
Perhaps you have already considered these things. Maybe such thinking has led you to be one of the dedicated souls in your church who has realized the need for evangelism. Whether there are many or a few in your church, you have stood up to be counted. You have said, with Isaiah, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
If you are serving in this way, be encouraged. There is little of more importance than what you are doing. What you do directly brings glory to God and also has the possibility of seeing souls added to the Kingdom. Whenever you present the gospel to somebody, it always achieves what God intended (Isa 55:11). Imagine, in eternity, that you can look down the hall of the redeemed. How wonderful would it be to know that some are there because it pleased the Lord to use us in this life? In contrast, think about the horror of knowing that lost souls are currently on their way to Hell. We must be willing to love the lost enough to risk everything as we give them the gospel. Let nobody you know go to Hell without you pleading with them to repent and know Christ.
If you are not stirred up on their behalf, then may the glory of God stir you up. As a Christian, you should want to see Christ magnified in this world. You can do that as you testify and witness to His great work in your own life. Are you prepared to do this? Are you prepared to keep going? We are the clay jars that God is pleased to use (2 Cor 4:7). You are not too weak to do God’s labors if He has called you to do it.
Yet, no matter how many of us there are, we always need more. Jesus Himself addressed this: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37). Are you praying this prayer? Are you looking in your church for who else might be able to join you as you labor in this field? How can you do this service?
Adding to the Team
We must not force people to serve in our churches. People will serve if the Lord has convicted them by His Word to serve. If we push people to serve, then they will eventually fade out. If they never had a heart for the work, then there is nothing to be cultivated. There being nothing left to cultivate, you will only be left with miserable people who put in the minimum effort. No, it is better to do our best to stir up hearts for this task. Following this, we wait for the Lord to bring His sheep to do His work.
So, how do we stir people up for evangelism? The first thing we must do is pray, just as Jesus specified. He specifically told us to pray that God would send more workers to the field. If, where you live, you see vast fields of people who need to hear the gospel, take this seriously. Pray for them and pray that God would raise up more men and women. May He raise up church members who are passionate for evangelism. You and I cannot do this alone, so we need the Lord to add people to the team.
Doing this helps us remember that it is the Spirit’s work and not ours. If we have prayed earnestly for a lengthy period of time, then we know it was not our work that caused the event to happen. It can only have been God. Our man-made efforts fell flat. Thankfully, prayer brought about what was desired. Prayer brought about what we never could alone. Should we humble ourselves to submit to this call, then who knows what will happen? God may give us the great blessing of workers who realize the importance of evangelism.
The second thing we can do is simply talk to other church members. Share with them the wonderful things you have seen God do through evangelism. Help people see why it is so important to be out on the streets telling people about the gospel. Remind them of the glory of God and how that is perfectly seen on the cross of Christ. Remind believers from what they have been saved. Ask them to consider being part of what will help others also turn from Hell and to the Savior.
Doing this, the Lord can use our words and experiences to stir up even more people in our churches. If we say “no” to forcing people and “yes” to prayerful waiting, it will be the Lord’s work alone: the only thing that is sustainable.
I think, as well, that churches should make more of a point about meeting together specifically to pray about evangelism. We should all be able to write lists of non-believers we know who need prayer. Churches should be able to come together to pray for these souls. We should all be able to pray that the Lord would cause His people to be stirred up for evangelism. We should also be able to pray that the Lord would provide opportunities for us to go out to give people the gospel.
Have you tried this? See what will happen if you try it. You have nothing to lose. Dedicate some of your prayer time to praying over these things.
Supporting Those Who Are Called
Despite all this, there are some who will not make the time to do active evangelism. At the same time, there are some people who make the excuse that they are not called to it. We must all evangelize as we go to work and school. That is a requirement and there are no exceptions. Despite this, there are some who are called to do special evangelistic works. This might be a specific given role in their church or even as missionaries. Not everybody is called to this, but it is important to acknowledge those who are called.
If you are not called to this, then you can still help. The Lord has financially blessed some people in the Church. Are you such a person? Praise the Lord. He has made you the steward over many things (Matt 25:14–30). How can you be responsible with that money? One of the many ways is to support those who do this work (Luke 16:1–13). If there are any evangelists in your church, can you help them by purchasing the brochures and books they may need for evangelism and discipleship? Can you financially support church events that are connected to evangelism? Are there any missionaries out there who you know are doing this work that could benefit from your financial support?
There are many ways that money can be used to assist what the Lord is doing in your local church’s evangelism. Are you being a responsible steward? Are you helping out in this way, even if you cannot in other ways? If you are convinced that evangelism should be a priority in the church, then this is a wonderful opportunity to give to that work so it can continue. Money is essential to some evangelical outreaches. Where can you give so that it can continue?
We have seen three ways in which evangelism can be worked on in our churches. We can go and do the work ourselves. We can pray that the Lord would send more workers. And we can financially support those who do this work. In a certain sense, we should all be willing to do all three of these things. Wherever we can, therefore, we should find the joy to do so by the grace of God.
It is time to ask yourself what more can you do? Can you go? Can you pray? Can you support? What will you do? What will the history of this world declare about you when we are in eternity? Will you be named as one of those who did what he/she needed to do? Or will you keep your time, money, and talents to yourself?
|1||Reisinger. E. C. Today’s Evangelism: Its message and Methods. Craig Press. Philipsburg: NJ. (1982). Xv|