We must remember that faith in Christ is always a gift from God. While we desire to give others the treasure we possess, faith in Jesus can only be received from above. It’s not ultimately in our hands to give. Still, Jesus has invited us to participate in his mission to redeem the weary, worn and broken. He is making all things new – including anyone who would come to him to receive the life that surpasses any other.
Regrettably, however, many churches miss the relational aspect of evangelism, and see it only as an event. Outreach events have their place but are no longer the “end all” as they may have been in the former paradigm. Sharing the Way of Jesus with others is all about building relationships. Our challenge is to help our church members get to know their neighbours and build meaningful relationships with them. It all starts here.
Be willing to restructure
Effective churches today are finding ways to remove evangelism from a committee, where only a few reach out to others, and reshape the whole mission and structure of the church to be geared toward including outsiders. This is a more difficult task and involves an overhaul of all our events so that they are open to the outside. When every department, every committee, every program of the church has an evangelistic component, then everyone knows where they fit in the church’s larger mission to the community.
Evangelism must be central to the identity of the church. It’s too important not to be! Congregations will be wise to have clear, concise, present-day, mission statements which guide the decisions about where they invest themselves. Pastors and church leaders must frequently ask such questions as: What about our church . . .? Is our mission clear? Is it aligned with the Great Commission? Is it known by our people and uppermost in the minds of our leaders? Is it concise and memorable? Does it really guide our ministry priorities and decisions?