“Evangelism” is teaching/communicating the gospel to lost people. We are convinced that our Savior wants every Christian involved in that work!
Why do we call it “personal” evangelism? In contrast to public teaching, it is done in private, making it a person-to-person matter. It is “personal” because you and I personally are involved. It is not what “they” are doing, but what “we” are doing. Finally, it is personal because we try to make our approach to people as personal as possible, showing them that we care about them as a person.
So, why would we think that personal evangelism is for you and me? Jesus charged eleven men to go preach the gospel to every person in the whole world (Mark 16:14-16). What makes us think that “the Great Commission” applied to anyone other than those apostles, and why would anyone conclude that saints living today are still under the same obligation?
In the early chapters of the book of Acts, where the focus is on activities in Jerusalem, we see that it was the apostles doing the teaching/preaching. The first record of a non-apostle involved in the teaching was when Stephen spoke and disputed with certain Jews (Acts 6:8-10), then he spoke before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 7:2-56).
Acts 8 is a transition chapter. Because of intense persecution against the church in Jerusalem, while the apostles remained there, the other disciples were scattered into different regions (8:1). When that took place, “. . . those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). “Common” brothers and sisters (not apostles) were proclaiming the word.
Timothy was instructed, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). What is the picture? Timothy training faithful saints to teach others. That is God’s plan for church growth: train saints to teach! In fact, in that same chapter we read that one characteristic of “a servant of the Lord” is he/she “must” be “able to teach” (2:24). Are you a teaching servant of the Lord?
As Jesus sent the apostles to teach/make disciples of all nations, He assured them He would be with them until the end of the age/world (Matthew 28:20). Thus, the charge to evangelize will be in effect as long as the earth stands. There still are lost people, right? The gospel is still God’s power to save, correct?
Let us do more than study the Bible, pray, and attend worship services. Teach a lost soul the gospel! Personal evangelism is for all of us. Believe it!
— Roger D. Campbell