The word “evangelism” conjures up a variety of thoughts in each of us. Some hear evangelism and immediately think about missionaries in Third World countries, while others think about Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons, while still others imagine that evangelism is going door-to-door inviting people to church. Some missionaries, like Dan Vogel and Gail Ludvigson (the ones Emmanuel supports) inspire respect. Other missionaries, like the Mormons, tend to set our teeth on edge.
You are right to assume that missionaries (and Mormons) are doing evangelism, as are those who go door-to-door inviting people to church. But evangelism is more than just going to foreign lands or doors in your neighborhood. Evangelism, in its simplest form, is just telling people about Jesus. You don’t have to be a missionary in Africa to evangelize nor do you need to be a pastor. You can be young or old, outgoing or shy, eloquent or inarticulate, and still tell others the story of Jesus and what He means for them. And whether you tell them the Gospel at work, school, Kathy’s Korner, Sparky’s, or on their front doorstep, you are doing the work of an evangelist (and the work that God has sent you to do).
Jesus says in Mark 16:15-16, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Christ’s command is quite clear – Go and Preach. Christ shared the news of forgiveness with us, and now we take that knowledge to others who need to hear it. We are some of the voices that Jesus uses to bring others to know and believe in Him. Paul says, “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?” Now preaching brings to mind sermons from the pulpit, but preaching is, again, just telling people the Good News that you know.
When you have a new baby or grandbaby, don’t you share the news with everyone? Friends, relatives, neighbors, and even perfect strangers get to hear your good news, and usually see pictures as well. We should have the same attitude towards when it comes to the Good News of the Gospel. We want to share this news, we want other people to know the joy that we know. We can’t possibly keep it to ourselves!
I bring this all up because Emmanuel is kicking off a renewed emphasis in evangelism. We are blessed to know Jesus, so we’re going to take steps to introduce (or re-introduce) others to Him as well. Toward that end, here are some things that are going to be happening in our wonderful congregation. They’re not just happening though, I want you to be a part of them.
• On the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 the Evangelism Committee will meet to talk about, well, evangelism. Everyone is invited to attend, and we’d love to have any and all of you join us and share your thoughts.
• Keep your eyes peeled for more information about the movie night that will be happening in October and November. These will be open to our community and we’ll serve soup and sandwiches.
• We are putting together handouts and a new brochure that will highlight our congregation while inviting people to join us. These will be distributed at the campground, to new residents of Lake View, and with the rest of our wonderful community.
• A new website will soon be up and running which will help spread the Gospel beyond our city limits.
• There will be other things that will be happening that we’re excited for you to see.
• Finally, the first Sunday of the month has been chosen as “Invitation Sunday”. On this day we are encouraging all Emmanuel members to make a concerted effort to invite someone to church. You can invite a neighbor, a family member, or a member of Emmanuel who hasn’t been to church lately.
On this day, you’re encouraged to sit with your guests, introduce them to others, and encourage them to join us for fellowship time. Let them see the love that Christ has for them, and that we have for them.
The sad fact is that 22% of Americans claim no religious affiliation, and a large number of those who consider themselves Christians are non-practicing. It’s for this reason that we faithfully do as Christ has taught us, we go out into the world and we evangelize, we share the Gospel.
Evangelism can be a scary sounding word, but it doesn’t need to be. Do you know why Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again? Then you have enough information to share with others. Do you know that Jesus forgives all your sins and wants you to spend eternity with Him? Then you have wondrous news to share with others. Let us join together to bring Jesus to those who are lost, and we trust in the promise of God that His Word will accomplish all that He sends it to do.