Why Evangelism Matters
In Matthew 28:19-20a it reads; “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. This is the great command that Jesus gave to his disciples. Their job was to go and evangelize and make more disciples. As ambassadors for God, we are called to spread the good news.
What comes to mind when you hear the word evangelism? This word has many different meanings to many different people. It really depends on the context that you are in. Theologian Archbishop William Temple defined evangelism this way; “To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that people shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Savior, and serve him as their King in the fellowship of the church.” We all have a personal relationship with God and know how important He is in our daily lives.
Are you willing to share the treasure that you have with others? We should want others to share and have the same joy in their lives that we have in ours. This move of the Holy Spirit in our church echoes the resounding heartbeat of God who longs for all to come within his saving embrace. It affirms the mission of the Church stated in our Book of Common Prayer, which is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Jesus Christ.” We cannot bring others to the unity of God if we keep our gifts to ourselves. There is no better time than the present step outside of our comfort zones and go out and share with other the “good news” of Jesus.
How would you define evangelism? In Transforming Evangelism, David Gortner says: Evangelism is your natural expression of gratitude for God’s goodness.” He goes on to note that “true evangelism emerges only out of your own transformation.” The topic of evangelism is an area that a lot of us are uncomfortable with. When some think about having an Adult Spiritual Formation, they pushback saying that they are already supporting important social causes on their own outside of church. So why do we need a formation about evangelism? The truth goes back to Matthew 28:19-20. God expects all of us to publicly proclaim the Word of God. The work of evangelism should not fall to the priest alone.
Others may feel that this is something that “others” do but not Anglicans. I see this response as a fear of doing something that we are just not comfortable doing. We are terrified of invading someone else’s privacy of mentioning the name of Jesus. We are afraid of rejection. It is easy to recall how we treat others who have approached us from different religious backgrounds. It is important to know that even Jesus was rejected as he tried to spread his message. If it didn’t work all of the time for him, then we should not be afraid of at least trying.
There is yet another reason that some don’t feel called to do the work of evangelism and it just gets down to laziness. To further explain, it would require stepping outside of our comfort zones. We spend the majority of our time doing what we want to do and not what God wants us to do. When we fall into the routine of staying in our comfort zones we tend to become idle and lazy. We should not bury of talents that we have be blessed with. We must leave our comfort zones and be willing to tell others about Jesus.
So why should we evangelize? Simply put, because Jesus commanded us to. If Jesus made evangelism the subject of His last command to His disciples on earth, then it must be important. If we love Him, then we should be committed to carrying it out. The New Testament makes it clear that evangelism is in some way connected with the final return of Christ. Evangelism prepare the way for his return. Another reason is out of your love for God. Remember that God saved us even though we didn’t deserve it. Out of our gratefulness for what He has done for us, we should want to share that with others. Bringing others to know Jesus and develop a personal relationship with him will help to fulfill the command.
So, I pray that you will join me in the endeavor to bring others in to enjoys the gifts that we are so fortunate enough to enjoy. Look at this opportunity with a joy to share the best news: of salvation for the world through Jesus Christ. There are people all around who are waiting for someone to care enough about them to offer a warm invitation to fellowship at church. Most people who are unchurched have never received an invitation. There is good news to share in a world with a lot of hurt. “Blessed are the feet of those who bring good news” (Rom. 10:15). Be blessed and be a blessing to others my brothers and sisters. To God Be The Glory!!
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Gortner, David, and James Lemler. Transforming Evangelism. New York: Church Publishing,
Publishing, Church. The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church. New York: Greenwich, Conn.: CHURCH PUBLISHING INC, 1979.