Evangelize or Fossilize x

The Lord’s followers who had
been scattered went from place to place,
telling the good news.
—Acts 8:4 CEV

Christ’s church has a divine mandate to evangelize—to go about spreading the Good News. Following our Lord’s original charge to His followers, we are to carry the gospel throughout the whole world. This is a key purpose for which we have been brought from death to life. God wants us to tell others who are languishing in sin the Good News.

He wants to whole world to know that the Righteous One died for the unrighteous to bring sinners into a relationship with God. This is why Jesus instructed His followers “…go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all” (Mark 16:15, MSG). Sharing this news keeps our faith alive and vibrant (cf. Philemon 6). Neglecting to do so produces individual believers and congregations that are like hollow halls in which only echoes of bygone days can be heard. Either we evangelize or we fossilize!

How are we doing?

Word from the researchers gives us reason to be concerned. One indicates that roughly 5 percent of churches of Christ in America over 25 years old are growing through evangelism. Another suggests that membership figures paint an alarming picture. One half of our congregations have fewer than 50 members. Only 11 percent have more than 200 members. Furthermore, it is estimated that fewer than 5 percent of the members of the church of Christ have led a searching soul to a saving relationship with Christ.

Why are we stagnating so?

Well, I do not presume to have the complete answer. Two observations do come to mind, though.

First, it seems that we have not placed the proper emphasis on evangelism. Even though it seems to be the attitude of some, evangelism is not an option. It is not even a program of work to be added to the ministry line-up. It isn’t everything, but evangelism should be a part of everything. Every ministry should be reflect a desire to reach the reachable and teach the teachable!

Second, it seems obvious that many members of the body of Christ are ill-equipped for evangelism. A carpenter without tools cannot do much building. Likewise, a Christian whose feet are not shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace cannot do much soul-winning. We need to take our mission seriously. We also need to take full advantage of every opportunity to become better equipped for the task at hand.

What, then, must we do?

—We must come to the realization that we are to be fishers of men, not keepers of an aquarium!

—We must realize the urgency of our mission. We have been entrusted with a message that the world desperately needs to hear.

—We, who are God’s messengers to the world, need to muster the courage to speak of our Savior and His saving grace.

—We must share the Good News so that lost souls might turn from darkness to the light, from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ.

—We must evangelize (or fossilize)!

© Bill Williams
September 29, 2007

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Discipleship Training, Evangelism, Kingdom Living, Missional Church and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Evangelize or Fossilize x

  1. preacherman says:

    Bill,
    Excellent post brother.
    It is my belief if we aren’t reaching out as a church then the church will eventually end up dying. I believe that is why we must focus on Christ, the Holy Spirit and the gifts he has given each of us, love one another and live out the function of the 1st Century Christians who turned the entire world upside down. Again, excellent thoughts. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Thanks, good brother! May God bless every effort in the cause of Christ.

  2. Bob says:

    Bill,
    Here are a couple of links that you might find interesting. Have you read Brad Palmore’s blog? He has an interesting paper you can download from his blog on evangelism.
    http://www.bradpalmore.com/

    One of Brad’s suggestions is that you should mention evangelism at every service. Something we’ve been trying to do at Mt. Dora.

    Christianity Today online has an interesting article about church planting.
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/september/36.68.html

    Hope you have a blessed day tomorrow.

    Great links, Bob. Thanks!!

  3. Pingback: Relationship » Evangelize or Fossilize

  4. Matthew says:

    This is great and true.

    http://www.matthewsblog.waynesborochurchofchrist.org

    Thanks, Matthew. Hope all is well with you and your work for the Lord.

  5. Greg England says:

    I fear we’ve chosen the latter, and are determined to stick with the choice.

    You know what they say, Greg: Fear is a dark room where negative thoughts are developed! May God help us to be difference makers (as you have been in your life of service to the Lord)!

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