By Chris Lopez
The growth of the Lord’s church, both in the universal sense and in the local sense, is something that ought to be of utmost concern to all Christians. “How does the church grow?” is a question of fundamental and ultimately eternal importance.
Simply stated, growth is accomplished through the drawing power the Gospel (Jn. 6:44, 45; 12:31; Rom. 1:16), which is the seed to be sown into the hearts of all men (Lk. 8:11). Evangelism is the heart and lifeblood of the work of the church. Without evangelism, the church will not grow because the seed will have not been sown. Only when the seed is sown can it produce fruit (Lk. 8:15). Without evangelism, all who are accountable unto God by way of knowing right from wrong, will remain in sin and die in a lost condition having never obeyed the gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Because of the importance of the subject at hand, the question that might be considered is this: “Who is to evangelize?” It is often argued that it is solely the job of the preacher since Paul told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). Yes, preachers of the gospel are evangelists and must do their part in evangelizing, but they cannot do it alone. The answer is found in Christ’s words within Mark’s account of the ‘great commission’: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15 KJV).
In considering these words, it is understood that Christ was speaking to the twelve at the time. However, this command is one of a permanent nature. In Acts 8:1-4 we see the church at Jerusalem was scattered because of persecution. The Christians who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. The records in Acts of the church shows when everyone is involved in evangelism, the church will grow.
Unfortunately, many are the Christians who do little to nothing in regards to personal evangelism. Excuses abound as to why so many Christians do not engage in personal evangelism:
- They do not have a zeal for it (and in reality, the lack of zeal manifests a lack of interest in lost souls.)
- They have “no time” for it.
- They do not know what to say (i.e., ignorance of the Word.)
- They are simply “afraid” (of being rejected, of forgetting what to say, etc.)
However, all these excuses can be nullified, when we have this thought that an Almighty God is with us and with God all things are possible. We must also have love for the lost, a humble and willing heart to make sacrifices and learn. We must realise that if we put our best effort in, we will have good success as God will work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28).
Personal evangelism is not just limited to preachers, it is imperative that every Christian be active in some way, shape or form. And ALL can do so, it just comes down to possessing the “I can!” mindset. (Phil. 4:13).
As a Christian, let me encourage you to not be intimidated by personal evangelism. There are many methods by which you can communicate the good news of salvation to others in simple and easy ways that are not intimidating.
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). As with anything else, social media can be abused. However, if used properly, it can be a great tool for teaching others. From personal experience as a preacher, it has thrilled me to see members of the congregation use Facebook to set forth the gospel. It also thrills me to see members of the congregation use Facebook as an opportunity to invite others to visit with us. Is this evangelism? YES! If you have a fear of talking one on one with a person, then this method is for you. Can you set forth the plan of salvation? If so, post it to a social media site so that those who are your friends but who may not be Christians will read what they must do to be saved. Social media can be used for good discussions of God’s word or to answer questions others may have in a less pressure filled setting. Social media is a great tool that if used properly, can spread the truth of God’s word far and wide simply from one’s computer.
Good bible material. The passing out of good biblical material written by faithful brethren in Christ. When I served in KL, we had a dear sister there who always take some KL Messenger bulletins to pass on to her friends she might meet on the way home. Another elderly brother used to distribute a handful of tracts in his residential area.
Personal conversation. Christ is the perfect example of using personal conversation to deal with spiritual matters (please read and study John 4 and His conversation with the Samaritan woman). Christ started out by talking about something both were interested in (physical water) which ultimately led to a discussion of the spiritual. We can engage in personal conversation wherever we are whether it is in the grocery store, at work, at the petrol station, etc. Just strike up a conversation and you never know where it might lead. Remember, in evangelism, we do not have to come right out immediately talking about the Bible. Start out on common ground, listen to the interests of others by showing interest in them and allow the conversation to go from there. It is the personalization that makes the method of simple, personal conversation effective.
A simple invitation to services. Have we invited someone to visit the congregation? Inviting someone is a form of personal evangelism because of your desire to have the prospect visit and hear the word of God proclaimed publicly. I know several individuals who came to obey the gospel as a direct result of being invited to services. Inviting others may not sound like much to some, but as has been pointed out, it is a powerful method of personal evangelism.
Spending time with those who are lost. We all have friends, family and neighbours who have never obeyed the gospel (or who are in need of restoration). We need to spend time with them, and demonstrate before them a Christ-like disposition of concern and compassion for their souls, for in so doing they will be influenced by our behaviour to either obey the gospel or be restored back to their first love.Our conduct can win people to Christ (1Pet 3:1). Some dear brothers and sisters-in- Christ were converted to Christ simply by the interest shown them by other Christians through their living of the gospel of Christ before them (Phil. 1:27; Matt. 5:13-16). A kind word, a kind deed or just simply your presence can go a long way in influencing others to come or return to Christ.
I am impressed with many parents in this congregation who raised their children well. We are blessed with a Sunday school that constantly help the young to come to the knowledge of the truth and obey the word with vigour and zeal. We have dedicated youth leaders, members, deacons and elders. God has blessed the Klang congregation and we have grown through the years. Let us evangelize so we can continue to grow.
May God bless us as we seek to do our part in carrying out the work of evangelism.