Fostering a Heart for Evangelism in Your Church
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls,” Proverbs 11:30.
From the moment of Adam & Eve’s fall to the time of Christ’s return, our Heavenly Father has desired men and women, boys and girls to be saved (Genesis 3:15). From the prophets, to Bethlehem’s manger, to Calvary’s cross, to the Garden’s empty tomb, and triumphantly through His Church; God has woven the ‘Gospel’s Red Thread’ of His Son’s saving grace. What a glorious robe of righteousness He has provided! It is my privilege to encourage you and your congregation, as you continue to weave and cultivate the saving grace of Christ through each of your church’s ministries. By the way, it is the commission He gave to His only Son… “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Jesus’ parting words are not a suggestion. They are a command, a command with instructions and a promise… “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 19:19,20) Christ and His Word are the foundation of your church and the Great Commission is your marching order. From the pulpit to the pavement, weave and cultivate this command into the heart of your life and ministry.
- Go after them – the obedient act of seeking… building genuine relationships to reach souls
- Make Disciples of them – the life-long process of faith: salvation-sanctification-glorification
- Baptize them – the Triune God’s divine work of mercy and grace
- Teach them – to observe (knowledge applied) ALL I have commanded… hearers that are doers
- With you and with them – now, then, and always the Savior’s empowering and sustaining presence
And just before He ascended He announced… “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
- Receive power – the promise of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and equipping presence and work
- My witness – the territory: Jerusalem (here), Judea (around here), Samaria (there), earth (everywhere)
Because the eternal destiny of souls is at stake, we must diligently seek ways to effectively bring them the Gospel. In my opinion, it is often a copout to say, “We welcome anyone and everyone to come.” Being a ‘welcoming ministry’ is good, but being a ‘bringing ministry’ is better. Bring them with you or bring the Gospel to wherever they are. Purposefully designing ways to reach souls of every age must be our mission. From Dorcas’s women’s ministry to Paul’s apologetic class on Mars Hill, we recognize the possibilities are endless! For crying out loud, the Spirit of our God is the most creative ever! By the way, in your pulpit ministry, prepare and preach as if a soul’s eternity is in the balance, because it is!
Equip and Implement:
Inspiration without instruction leads to disappointment or disaster. Instruction needs to be measured to fit each outreach event and the participants involved. Training should include: dedicated times of prayer, instruction, promotion, and Q&A. Each ministry will have different needs to accomplish the mission. Provide the best resources available. The worth of reaching one soul is invaluable. A word of caution: training overload can kill the spirit. A word of encouragement: on-the-job-training can be motivating.
Celebrate and Assess:
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) We can always rejoice, when the seeds of the Gospel have been planted. By faith, we trust He will bring a harvest… seen or unseen! In the same manner, after the Gospel has been proclaimed, we take time to assess. Remember Jesus’ example with the 70… “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20) The results of seeking the Spirit’s assessment will correctively enrich us and positively impact our ongoing efforts.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15,16) There are many things we do not know… the number of our days, if a door of opportunity will remain open, when Jesus will return. Thus, we need make the most of our time, by weaving and cultivating the Gospel’s Red Thread until He returns.
Pastor Michael Brandt
The Lutheran Church PLanter
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