Jesus said "Follow Me" This is what we are called to do...
The Ministry Blog of Pastor Jack Maddox, Southside Baptist Church, Henderson Texas
The Discipline of Evangelism
March 27, 2018
I was visiting yesterday on the phone with a young church planter in the North Houston area that our church is contemplating partnering with in helping to develop and to serve in context to his young church. His church is about a year old, and they have roughly doubled in a year. They are in a growing area of the Houston suburbs, and should they continue at the pace they are going now they will soon be larger than most churches in that community. When visiting with him and asking about his local context and what other churches are doing in his area, although he was very kind, he was also honest. This is what he said, "Jack, for the most part, our community is over-churched and underserved". Think about that for a moment. That a community would be underserved in the area that has the most vital importance in human existence. My young Pastor friend was referring not to programs, not to church services, not to opportunities to express spirituality or countless other things that churches do. He was referring solely to the gospel and the evangelistic efforts that take place through local churches in sharing the good news that God has done everything necessary so that we might know Him, be reconciled to Him, have our sins forgiven and that we would be restored to a right relationship with our Creator. I will guarantee you that every evangelical church in that community believes that the gospel is essential, even critical to the lives of people around them. To be clear, I have no idea the efforts that every church is putting forth to serve that community in reference to the gospel. However, I have no reason to doubt my friend's assessment because, to be frank, It is this way in my community as well. In our part of the world (The Bible belt) we have a church on every corner it seems, yet, on the most part, we do not see a transformation in our communities and in the lives of those we come in contact. To be honest, this is true to a degree in the church that I serve and even in my own life as well. As we continued to visit about his church's efforts in evangelism he made a simple but eye-opening statement to me that is so utterly plain and basic yet profound at the same time.
"Brother Jack...we believe that evangelism is a discipline".
There ya go and therein lies the problem. Now understand that their church does some things on a regular basis, habitually, that demonstrates this truth, and they should be commended for that. However, his comment transcends the 'stuff' that they do. It more accurately reflects the way they think.
Think about that for a moment. What are some things that we do out of discipline? We brush our teeth; we bathe, we change the oil in our car, we mow our lawn, we exercise, we eat healthily, you get the idea. Often these things are altogether inconvenient, but we do them because to be quite frank, it is necessary that we do so. The simple truth here...evangelism is a discipline. It is necessary that we present the gospel to people so that they might come to know and be reconciled to God! Although it is a discipline, evangelism is also a joyful, Christ-exalting, soul-satisfying discipline. It is a habit, yet it is a habit born out of gratitude and excitement predicated upon the good work of God in our own life. That our communities would not be 'underserved' but would be gospel-saturated ought to be our prayer. No matter how we accomplish this, door to door, servant-hearted, needs-based, benevolence, bible study, intentional discipleship, it does not matter...we need to do it! Too much is at stake, the need is too great and the opportunity too large. Let us serve our communities well in serving them with the gospel. In doing so we will honor our great God supremely, and it is right that we do so, for He is a gracious Savior who has given us the most excellent message ever and that message is simply this...JESUS SAVES!
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