Archive for the ‘Awakening to Urgency for Evangelism’ Category

In 1984, the year I was saved, churches had a Pastor of Evangelism and staff. He helped keep the church focused on the Great “Missionary” Commission. Then came the day when churches did away with the Staff Evangelism person and team. This was the trend in early 2000 – 2001, 2002, 2003-.

The decrease in salvations and baptisms recorded the following years soon followed among leading churches, both were already on a downhill slope. The decision to eliminate a key role in the local church accelerated the decline.

If a church wants to impact its community, then the focus on prayer and evangelism are foremost.

And the bigger a church gets the more evangelistic it must become, or face becoming a memorial in the community.

Is it time for churches to retool their staffs and get back to prayer for the lost, and evangelism as the major emphasis. The battle for the souls of men and women continues as many churches have sat unengaged on the sidelines.

In the book of Acts, we learn that the apostle Paul carried the Gospel to Rome, the capital city of the world of his day, by doing intentional evangelism in the metropolises, towns of his day. Then he gathered believers into house church groups.

The apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome made it very clear of the importance of obeying the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20. In chapter 10:13, Paul quotes an Old Testament passage, Joel 2:32, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Robert Mounce wrote, “If everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved, it is important that everyone have the opportunity to hear.” (The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture- Romans)

“Apart from hearing the message no one can believe” wrote Mounce. He points out Paul’s exposition states clearly that “No one can believe in one of whom they have never heard.” (Romans 10:14) Paul makes a profound statement, “And how can they hear without a preacher?” Paul is reaffirming the Great Commission in this verse and with his statement. Unless, the Christians and the church is intentionally going and evangelizing, that is making Jesus known to the world, lost people will not know, he wrote.

Also, Paul clarifies who is supposed to go. “How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:15). Therefore, it is necessary that a messenger (Mounce), an evangelizer be sent. The New Testament Greek Lexicon, defines the English word “sent” as “I send forth” or send away. The New Testament Greek word is a compound word, “apo” (away) and “stello” (send), and the tense is “passive”.

The passive tense means that the person being sent is not making the initial decision to go. It means a Superior, a leader, is making the decision for him. The structure of the Greek language in Romans 10:15 is best understood as “sent on a defined mission by a superior.” (Biblehub.com/Lexicon) This is clearly understood that God sends us to go evangelize our community and the world.

In verses 14 and 15 of Romans Ten, Paul primarily deals with evangelistic preaching. The Greek word “kerusson,” is the more commonly used verb for preaching. (Mounce) The Lexicon defines it this way as “to preach (announce) a message publicly and with conviction (persuasion).” Evangelistic preaching is supposed to with conviction and persuasively. Paul affirms this thought in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.”

The Greek word for persuade, “peitho’” is also in the passive tense. Which would also mean the messenger is not the one trying to persuade lost people to believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior. No, by no means. The passive tense means that it is God Almighty, God’s Holy Spirit, speaking through you persuading lost people to believe in Jesus Christ.

Again, Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 5:20. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” It is God who is making the appeal through us. It’s source is from God.

So the question every Christian must answer, “Is God sending me?” Yes, He has, according to Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8. You are sent. Now Go and Tell others about Jesus Christ.

As an adjunct teacher for a seminary, I have had the opportunity to read and teach through the Old and New Testament books. This has created an opportunity for God to reveal to me and connect “the dots” in understanding God’s plans and purposes to make His truths known. As the church, Christ-followers, we are to still make Jesus known.

As I read, meditate and teach the Old and New Testament books, I see God’s plan, and methods for Himself and later making Jesus Christ known to the world. Besides, home visits, personal evangelism, evangelistic preaching at the temple, the most commonly used approached for the first-century church was street evangelistic preaching. Some scholars would call this “Market Place” evangelism.

Here are a few Biblical examples of God calling His men to proclaim His Holy Word.

  • King Solomon addressed the nation of Israel with a loud voice. (1 Kings 8:54-56)
  • The prophet Ezra call the people of Israel to repentance as they sat in the square.(Ezra 10:9-14)
  • The prophet Jeremiah stood at the gates of the Lord’s house and proclaimed the words of the Lord. (Jeremiah 7:1-3).
  • God sent the prophet Jonah to preached on the streets of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-5).
  • In the New Testament we see God called Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, as the first street preacher, the first to herald the good news in the open-air, was John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2Mark 1:4Luke 3:3).
  • Jesus sat atop a hill and preached the greatest sermon ever preached in the open-air — the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
  • Jesus’s disciples preached on the streets in many villages (Luke 9:5-7).
  • Peter preached in the open-air at Solomon’s Portico, after healing the lame beggar (Acts 3:11-26).
  • Philip preached the gospel to large crowds on the streets of the city of Samaria (Acts 8:6-8).
  • Paul stood before the judiciary of Athens, atop of Mars Hill, and preached to the men of Athens in the open-air (Acts 17:22-34).

While in seminary, in my proclamation class, I would periodically hear professors share how they had to do one session of street/sidewalk preaching as a student as a requirement for classes for sermon preparation and proclamation. Where are our street evangelists?

On a daily basis, we hear in the news about all the street crime, killings, and violence. It seems that the streets are a fertile place for street communicators of the gospel. I had the privilege of serving on a team of street evangelists for over ten years. Most of these men were of the Boomer generation. Some were of the Builder generation. I have met a few men from Gen-X as street evangelists, but we need more street evangelists.

Who from the next generation, the Millennials, will stand up and be the street evangelists and take the gospel to your generation? This is not a calling for everyone, but there are a few good men who will and are called to this type of God-called ministry.

Being a street evangelist is not an “in the spot-light” ministry. Being a street evangelist will not make you rich but God does provide for your needs. However, the blessings of seeing the multitudes of hard-core lost individuals come to faith in Jesus Christ is super rewarding! You will see drug dealers go from selling to not selling in a matter of minutes. You will meet people who are broken, without purpose and meaning in life be transformed by the gospel right before your eyes.

I have seen an individual recently saved, transformed from not a Christ follower to after trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior, go and evangelize a neighbor. I have seen individuals saved and three minutes later encouraging friends they needed to listen to my message about Jesus Christ. The New Testament Church is built on street or market place evangelists making Jesus Christ known to a community and a city.

In the book of Acts, God revealed to me that His plan was to take the gospel in twenty years plus, over 1,500 sea miles from Jerusalem to the capitol city of the known world at that time, by using the apostle Paul. Paul had to go from city to city preaching and teaching in the communities. Paul had to first evangelize the lost, make disciples and then form the churches. The churches then supported Paul in his ministry. Also, the churches continued to evangelize, to make disciples and to send out evangelists to make Jesus Christ known.

We need some good men to stand up for Christ and surrender to become street evangelists. Some will do this full-time and others will be part-time. But God will call, empower and lead you to preach evangelistically and make disciples. Who of you will answer God’s call to be the next generation’s street evangelists?

America needs you! God is calling you! Will you answer God’s call?

Invitations in the Bible were most always public announcements that required a public response. With very few exceptions, God called followers publicly, and He still calls today in a public manner. The prophets of the Old Testament preached publicly and gave public appeals to their listeners that required public responses. Prophets such as Moses, Joshua, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Malachi, and others gave public invitations for people to follow God.

The first evangelistic appeal recorded in the Bible is in Genesis 3:9, where God publicly called out to Adam and Eve after they had sinned. He said, “Where are you?”  Mankind sinned and separated from God. Because of disobedience, Adam and Eve had broken their relationship with God Almighty.

As mentioned earlier, the Old Testament has a record of the prophets calling people to repentance and right relationship with God. Noah, while he built the ark, extended an invitation to those who mocked him and his sons. We can estimate that for at least 70 years Noah extended an invitation to repent. The invitation lasted up to the moment “God shut the door” of the ark (Gen. 7:16). God kept giving the people opportunities to repent right up until the time He shut the door of the ark.

In Joshua 24:15 the leader of the nation of Israel, Joshua, offered an invitation to the nation to choose who they would serve. Then he took a stand and informed the people that he and his family would serve the Lord. This appeal was one of many offered to the nation of Israel.

On Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah appealed to the people to consider: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1Kings 18:21). Elijah challenged the Israelites, who were worshipping both God Almighty and Baal, were to stop dividing their hearts between the two.

This short excerpt is from the book, “Breaking the Evangelism Code” chapter twelve entitled “Giving An Evangelistic Invitation: Inviting Someone To Trust In Jesus As Lord And Savior.  (available on amazon.com)

Some have argued against the pubic invitation by saying, “I am not the Holy Spirit.” I agree there is only one Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit uses the believer to give the invitation. When a person is born again, the individual receives the Spirit as God’s guarantee of salvation and His power. Author Roger Carswell refers to the Holy Spirit as the Evangelist.[1] Every Christian can evangelize in the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who gives the invitation, as Dr. Tom Johnston professor of evangelism said, “Using our vocal cords to communicate the gospel and persuade men and women to trust in Jesus.[2]

This short excerpt is from the book, “Breaking the Evangelism Code” chapter twelve entitled “Giving An Evangelistic Invitation: Inviting Someone To Trust In Jesus As Lord And Savior.  (available on amazon.com)

[1] Roger Carswell, And Some Evangelist. Christian Focus Publications, 2000

[2] Dr. Tom Johnston is a professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas, Missouri.

If you read God’s Word daily, He is teaching you all you need to live the Christian life, to be his witness, in Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Here are some questions to ponder:  How long have you been a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you a witness for Jesus? How much many more Bible studies classes, or books on “how to live the Christian life do you need to read?

As you read the Bible, as you are daily studying the Bible, God’s Spirit is teaching you God’s word. Now you need to go and take God at His word.   Most Christians have learned enough, and probably know more of God’s teachings, principles, and have more copies of God’s word than the first century Church. When will God’s church start being the “Going Church” Jesus commanded us to be? (Matthew 28:19-20)

Saul of Tarsus, a rabbi, and a member of Israel’s Sanhedrin Council, when on Damascus Road, had an encounter with Jesus Christ and was saved. Paul asked, “What do You want me to do?” Jesus told Saul, later called apostle Paul, that he would take the gospel to the world. (Acts 9:6) Jesus responded, “Arise and go into the city and you will be told what to do.” (Acts 9:6)

Jesus has instructed, us the church to go and make disciples. I asked the church in a sermon on Sunday, “What is the mission of the Church?” I shared, Our mission is the Great Commission according to Jesus’ words, command, and mandate. Our mission is twofold. First, Jesus has instructed us to “Go.” This can be understood as intentional evangelism, as intentional proclamation, and intentionally making Jesus known to the world. Second, we are to teach, new believers Jesus teachings, Jesus is the Logos, God’s Word.

Evangelism is basically, part of the disciple-making process. Lost people do not know they are in a Bible study group when you are sharing biblical truths with them. We evangelize, God’s word penetrates to their very soul, and the Spirit works in their heart, bringing change, with the purpose of transformation by salvation and a new person inside and out.

The day after I was saved I went to work, never having taken a soul winning course and I began to share what God had done in my life. I had placed my faith in Jesus. A dear friend led me in a sinner’ prayer. I thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I asked Jesus into my heart and acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior. No one told me to go and begin telling others how God had changed my life. I was so overjoyed that I could not contain the joy of it all.

So, let go, and let God use you. Let’s go and turn this world upside down in Jesus name. (Acts 17:6)

If your Church is interested in having Evangelism Training, Evangelistic preaching, Revival, Prayerwalking and follow-up with new believers, go to http://m28evangelism.com/.

Go order gospel tracts go to http://www.billygrahambookstore.org/CustomModule.asp?pageid=30

For another year in a row, we have seen fewer baptisms in our churches across North America. When there are so many new people coming to America. God is sending the world to our front and back door. The foreign mission field is so close that we interact many of our new neighbors on a daily basis.

We must begin to ask some hard questions if we are going to see an exponential change in the practices how we engage in evangelism or the lack thereof. (1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations? (2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness? (3) What changes in strategy, or strategies need to be added to see increased evangelism efforts? (4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

(1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations?

According to the Immigration Institute in Washington D.C., on their website, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states, facts show that the mission field in here and churches have the opportunity to minister and evangelize if we will just go and make disciples. As stated in a report,

“In 2014, 1.3 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, an 11 percent increase from 1.2 million in 2013. India was the leading country of origin for new immigrants, with 147,500 arriving in 2014, followed by China with 131,800, Mexico with 130,000, Canada with 41,200, and the Philippines with 40,500.”

Note: The Census Bureau defines recent immigrants here as foreign-born individuals who resided abroad one year prior, including lawful permanent residents, temporary nonimmigrants, and unauthorized immigrants.

We see that just from immigrants, there is an influx of newly arrived souls, most likely many of them are not followers of Jesus Christ! Just like in most major cities, there is a section of town that the government has located and is using as the Refugee and immigrant, a community for placing newly arrived souls. And hopefully, in some cases, there is a church or ministry that is reaching out to the people in their mission field. Truly The fields are white for harvest.

Having partnered with one such Church, and community in Metro Atlanta, GA where there are over 50 language groups in a square mile, there have been many attempts to reach these souls with the gospel. The church currently has about nine different congregations under its umbrella that are making Jesus known.

I recently heard Franklin Graham share a story how Samaritan’s Purse teams are some of the first Christians many of the refugee Muslims meet after, surviving the long trip on rafts, to the Greek Islands. He shared that many of the refugees are saying that that Islam has failed and does not work. They are asking for someone to tell about Jesus Christ.

(2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness?

If we were investigating a crime scene, what evidence or proof would we need to come to the conclusion, without reasonable doubt that a church is living in blatant disobedience to Christ command to go and evangelize lost people and make disciples?

I can think of one key factor, intentional evangelism. The church and denomination would have

  • a staff person/leader who gives leadership and is personally involved in evangelism, evangelism training
  • continually engaging lost people to share the gospel
  • making leaders from people groups and language groups, and to develop leaders in their specific group to expand the ministry through evangelism and disciple making
  • Offer session in developing an evangelistic strategy and its components to churches, pastors, and church leadership to have an effective outreach and evangelism ministry
  • Producing new strategies and emphasis for evangelism and prayer, and disciple making
  • Producing new gospel tracts and approaches bases on the biblical principles and prayer materials

(3) What changes in strategy, or what strategies need to be made or added to see increased evangelism efforts?

Through my doctoral project, I learned about surveying, evaluating, and study of strategy development and implementation for churches to determine if they were evangelistic. I learned about the value of evaluating the ministry, a pastor, and a church. Evaluation is good a place to begin. We must ask some hard questions about a strategy, methods, approaches, and its principles. We must make sure that strategy is biblical and at its core is an evangelistic DNA that will reproduce and spread.

The Bible such be our primary source for evangelism strategies, methods and approaches, and principles. We methods and approaches made not identical but in them, you should be able to identify key basis components for evangelism.

If the ministries of a church are not encouraging and equipping believers to go out and make Jesus known on a daily and weekly basis, then should we reevaluate our strategy? Evangelism is the lifeline of the church. We do not reproduce biologically to grow a church, but through spiritual new births. Though, at some point, hopefully, you will share with your offspring about the trusts of Jesus Christ. They will need to believe in and trust Him for salvation.

A good evangelism strategy should include components such as having a person who fans the flame of evangelism in the church, by promoting, conducting and leading out in evangelism.

(4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

Through my doctoral project and through my personal ministry experience I learned about leadership and having the person in place to lead a specific ministry. I know of one church situation where an individual was hired for a staff position on the basis that he was an excellent manager in the business world.

But when the individual was put in charge of the evangelism ministry he grew the ministry from over 250 people down to 15 people in a matter of months. When the evangelism teams went out to make visits, he did not go with a team. He stayed back at the church. Obviously, evangelism was not his passion, but a tool for success.

As I mentioned earlier, I learned a great deal about evaluation that it is good a place to begin. One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

Dr. A, as we all called him, said that if there were not any baptisms, nor added growth, then he would ask what changes need to be made to become more evangelistic and see potential growth. Then he added, “either they made changes to make sure that ministry was evangelistic, or the person was replaced with a more evangelistic personality.”

I have learned that effective organizations conduct an evaluation for the purpose of improvement. But you cannot force people to do something that they are not passionate about and are living out.

What changes need to be made:

  • Hire leadership that has an evangelistic heart and lives it
  • Hire other staff members or develop a team of volunteers, to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Leadership and team are continually seeking to develop a team of leaders to help carry out the evangelism emphasis, and with logistics for evangelism impact in the community
  • Other staff members are hired to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Develop various strategies and materials for churches to have an intentional and reproducing evangelism ministry and new church growth

On a regular basis, I pray for pastors’, churches, and believers to become more evangelistic. That they would make Jesus known to their community around them and to the world. The world will not know about the saving grace of Jesus unless we go and make disciples. Jesus plan is to for to “Go and makes disciples of all nations,” Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. We the nations are here at our front and back door. The Distance is not far, but our commitment to Jesus must be deep. Go Make Jesus Known!