Luke 9:49 – 50
“And John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.’”
Acts 18:2 – 3
“And he (Paul) found a certain Jew named Aquila…with his wife Priscilla…and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them…”
Acts 18:24 – 26
“Now a certain Jew named Apollos…came to Ephesus and he was might in the Scriptures…being fervent in spirit…was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John…began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
Those three passages have something in common. When a saint was performing the ministry of evangelism, it was no strange occurrence to run across other saints doing the same. It was the norm, not the exception. But think about today. I mean, how many times have you, or even the evangelism team at your church seen others evangelizing also? Unfortunately, it’s a rare thing. Why is it that when Christians evangelize, they seldom cross the paths of other Christians who are also trying to win souls for our Lord? Here is what I have observed:
1. There is no understanding of the urgency of evangelism. Ponder the emergency room for a second. Between a person who had a heart attack and another who has a thigh cut, whom do you think will be seen first? If you guessed the heart attack victim, you’re right! Why? It is not because the heart attack is more serious, but is because the person who just had a heart attack has a shorter life expectancy. The patient with the cut can sit for an hour or two, get a few stitches and be sent home. Not so with a heart attack. The parallel is, the ministries of administration, education, discipleship, fellowship, and worship, will all be present in heaven. Everyone in heaven is saved so evangelism will not be necessary. Jeremiah 31:34 reads, “And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, declares the Lord.” By urgency, I’m referring to the need to make evangelism the next thing on the local church’s agenda because evangelism has a short lifespan. Evangelism has to take a higher priority amongst God’s people.
2. There is no solid teaching on evangelism because there are not enough pastors who are trained to teach evangelism. This does not mean we don’t have pastors who are void of the desire to love the sheep. But what is needed are pastors who understand evangelism and who are willing to help the sheep understand that we must be driven to learn about it and do it. Instead, we have become a generation of believers who live for preaching and teaching on the latest fads and trends. Learning how to do ministry seems to be a thing for the leaders and not the laity. Ergun Caner put it this way, “The problem is that the Christian audience in general developed an aversion to the most profound and deep truths of Scripture.” Pastors need to be trained on what evangelism is and isn’t. Then they have to provide solid teaching to the saints. Pastors can get training through seminary, a bible college, conferences, and even seminars. Whatever the methodology, it has to get done. Per Tony Evans, “Churches need to insist that their pastors know and teach only what God has said.”
3. Our churches have become too comfortable. We have grandiose buildings, funds in the bank, and every conceivable amenity, but an “us versus them” mentality. The true purpose for why the church exists has been lost. The church is in existence to complete the work Christ started. What we have is all the trappings but no substance. As a result, we have the tendency to think more highly of ourselves to the point where we are no longer instruments for evangelism, but hindrances. Doug Cecil is right, “The greatest obstacle to evangelism is the church that is preoccupied with its own existence.” If you think I’m off base, think about this: compare the number of soldiers in your church who are actively involved in evangelism to the number of members. What does the percentage look like? Consider yourself doubly blessed if the percentage is greater than five. Remember, Jesus said go spread the gospel, not invite folks to a building.
We run into other Christians at the mall, the salon, the game, and even the carwash. How disappointing it is that we rarely bump into one another while out on the battlefield for souls. Folks this has got to change.
1. Why Churches Die: Brunson, Mac & Caner, Ergun, 2005, p. 174
2. Are Christians Destroying America?: Evans, Tony, 1996, p. 223
3. The 7 Principles of an Evangelistic Life: Cecil, Doug, 2003, p. 21