With Easter long gone, Christmas so far away and no more special programmes to invite unsaved loved ones to, when was the last time you were intentional about sharing the gospel?
Chances are, your church attendance is likely to be significantly higher than usual when there are such evangelistic events.
By that, I mean the once-in-a-while event featuring a well-known speaker or an intriguing topic. There is a gospel presentation, and perhaps the activity is geared towards seekers and designed to spark spiritual conversations.
Through attending such events, I’ve grown to appreciate how everyone is so enthusiastic about the mission of soul-saving during these occasions.
I’ve also heard testimonies of how people have received Christ. Without a doubt, God has the ability to move through programmes.
But I’ve also come to wonder whether there’s an over-reliance on our churches for evangelism and even a distorted understanding of what it means to lead people to Christ.
Events-led evangelism: What’s the issue?
We can definitely invite people to church for them to hear the gospel. If I had my way, every church in the world would be packed every time its doors were opened.
The problem arises when we consider full seats to be an indication of effective ministry. I believe there’s a gap that needs to be bridged between bringing people to our services and sharing the gospel with them.
Based on personal experience, the intentionality about how we present the gospel is more crucial than how we present our services and festivities.
Our desire to lead others to Jesus should take precedence over our desire to invite people to a gathering, even if that gathering is church.
Church attendance is not the pinnacle of discipleship.
Furthermore, welcoming people to church does not imply that they are being invited to follow Jesus. We may even end up believing that “victory” in evangelism consists of attracting others to an event.
This, however, is not the case.
Church attendance is not the pinnacle of discipleship. This is more likely represented by a believer’s one-on-one relationship with Christ.
Don’t get me wrong. To grow in our faith, every Christ follower should join a local congregation. Hebrews 10:25 is quite clear on the subject.
But we will make a mistake if we consider welcoming people to church to be the same as guiding them to Jesus.
And if we’re not careful, we may spend more time and energy trying to welcome others to church than we do introducing them to Jesus — the only One who has the power to bring the dead back to life and to transform a person’s life for all eternity.
The complementary role of community-based evangelism
The occasional events organised by churches have a role to play in evangelism.
In preparing for them, we go through a process of discipleship where we learn different ways of sharing the Good News. We’re also equipped with skills and knowledge that will help us to fulfil The Great Commission.
Not to mention, these events are a good platform to bring new people into our community.
However, they cannot be our only source of efforts to spread the gospel.
Your church will never be able to fit all the non-Christians you encounter on a weekly basis into your sanctuary.
It is essential for Christians to purposefully discuss the gospel outside the boundaries of church events.
I believe that if members spent half their time on programmes and the other half on evangelistic conversations with neighbours, coworkers or other students, they would see a greater response to the gospel and be able to reach a much larger number of people.
After all, so many people become Christians as a result of conversations with friends, the influence of family members or small-group Bible studies.
Consider this: Your church will never be able to fit all the non-Christians you encounter on a weekly basis into your sanctuary.
What needs to change?
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s to focus on the process rather than the product. Above all, we never know who among our friends may be seeking for the light of the gospel.
So if the occasion arises, engage in conversational evangelism.
People are fascinating. Every person we meet is a wonderful creation of God, full of a thousand unique experiences.
Everyone, not just pastors, elders, full-time ministry staff and leaders, must be encouraged to share, pray and seize opportunities as they arise. It is our shared responsibility to serve as credible witnesses.
So, before we channel all our energies to invite friends to our latest service, event, project or theme night, let’s first introduce them to Jesus.
When God moves their hearts, everything else will fall into place. Our churches will be overcrowded. We’ll be left praising and worshiping Him.
- Have you ever engaged with evangelistic conversations? If not, what’s holding you back?
- What are some challenges you face in living out the Great Commission?
- Who is someone in your life you can share the love of Jesus with? Commit to praying for them and reaching them.