Thinking Out Loud On Evangelism, Part 1

The events of the past three months have been rather troublesome to all of us. Who could have dreamed at Christmas time 2019 that by March 1st we would have a nationwide shutdown with thousands of deaths, a wrecked economy, people wearing masks in public, churches closed to in house worship, etc., etc.

   Our response in the Church has been to wonder when we will be getting back to “normal”.  But what is “normal” to church folks? Normal to churches all across the land has been confined to Sunday worship. Some go there out of a sense of duty  alone. Others go there to find a sense of comfort in a tumultuous world. But this is far from being what the church is to be about. The early church was about outreach to the lost. Consider Acts 2:41 - “...and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” 2:47 - “ And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” 5:41 - “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number.” 8:4 - “Therefore, those who had been scattered (due to persecution) went about preaching the Word.”  I believe this was “normal”.

   In my lifetime the churches of Christ have rarely been “N.T. normal”!  In the early 50’s there was a flare up of evangelism when people were inviting their neighbors to join them on Sundays in worship. In the 60’s there was a great interest in evangelism using the Jule Miller filmstrips as a tool of evangelism. But for the past 50 years the interest in outreach to the lost has been on a downhill slide. Baptisms have been confined to our children and we haven’t done a real good job doing that. We have continued to add various ministers to our church staffs and yet conversions are few. Will we ever learn that evangelism is not the job of professional ministers but rather the responsibility of every convert to Christ to tell the “good news”.  I wonder if somehow we are failing to get that message across.  People are not hearing the message of their sinfulness, the message of the redemption that is in Christ which is indeed “good news”.  That being the case, with no message of “good news” it is no wonder that the events of our day are troublesome and churches are declining.

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