What’s your plan for reaching the 1/3 of the world’s population that hasn’t heard the gospel in this generation?
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. (Matt 9:37-38)
If you’re new to this discussion, it’s about dropping baggage that hinders us from finishing the task in this generation.
If you had prior knowledge of the September 11th terrorist attacks on America and you failed to warn anyone, it wouldn’t matter what personality type you have or what part of the body you are, shameful coward would be too nice a description for you. There is an inferno far worse than the collapsing Twin Towers that awaits everyone whose sin has separated them from God.
We have an awesome message of good news to tell people after we tell them the bad news. No one has to die in their sins! Who have you withheld the good news from? If you knew enough to become a Christian, you know enough to tell others how to become a Christian.
It’s really a question of whether or not you believe Jesus, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
If Jesus were traveling city to city and He came to your city, what would His message be? Would He call for the city to repent and warn of the consequences for any city that didn’t repent? (See Mat 4:17, 23; 11:20-24) Or would He set up shop, put a sign out front, and begin offering programs for youth in hopes their parents would visit and drop some money in the plate to pay for His shop? Let the children come, but it’s adults (See Num 14:26-35; Deut 1:34-39) who are accountable to God!
The point is that God’s interest is not in getting enough customers to run a profitable and successful business. He is declaring that everyone should repent or be judged (See Acts 17:30-31). So regardless of the fact that most everyone will not heed the warning, and some will violently reject it, our job is not to build a business but to announce the terms of surrender to everyone.
The Apostle Paul’s example in the New Testament is second only to Jesus’ (See 1 Cor 11:1). How would he approach your city? Read through the book of Acts and see. He would probably think he was doing something wrong if the community and religious leaders weren’t in an uproar a short time after his arrival. Here is a summary of Paul’s approach:
I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20)
Hoping a visitor might stumble into your assembly and accidentally learn what they need is insufficient for the task. The assembly of the saints is not even for the lost. It’s a rah-rah session to stimulate each other to love and good deeds so we can go out and light the world. Jesus said to go make disciples of all nations (See Mat 28:18-20).
The fact that most people learn best through small-group discussion, rather than lecture-style teaching, further demonstrates the inadequacy of the tradition of ‘inviting people to church’ as a means of evangelism. It’s not that nobody has ever been won with this approach, but could we do much better if the saints were equipped to take the message to the world like we read about in the New Testament?
I mourn over the so-called church of Christ that is oblivious to the spiritual war going on and the 150,000 people that die every day; professed Christians who are more interested in playing church than snatching souls out of the fire. What will be the outcome for those who sit around every week tickling each other’s ears or condemning everyone who doesn’t keep their manmade traditions, but who refuse to lay down their life for everyone who is oppressed by the devil?
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. (Col 1:28-29)
How many people where you live don’t know the truth? Do you have any plans for reaching them in your generation? How are those plans progressing? What measurable progress has been made in the last year? Are you planning to send out any preachers or, better yet, evangelism teams? When? How will they be supported? Do you have timeframes set for any of these goals? A goal without a deadline is a dream.
Many do no more than talk about the task, and many more don’t even do that. I suggest we walk the talk and put our money where our mouth is. Praise God that many are doing so, but many more are needed. There are many ways to evangelize; just make sure you are evangelizing. Here is a practical strategy, “Plan, do, review.” Plan your work. Work your plan. Review the results. Repeat.