Christians today for the most part don’t invest or burden themselves with reaching lost people. It’s not a driving force in their life. Of course, they rationalize this in a very spiritual way. They claim that they’re organizing the church to develop believers who will go out and reach unbelievers. In other words, the church gathers to worship and scatters to evangelize. But there are a lot of problems with this.
The biggest problem with this is that it is not happening and it won’t happen … This is simply an excuse for keeping their churches the way they want them. It’s an excuse for why they aren’t following Jesus. Remember, Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” It’s an excuse for why they are not leaving their comfort zone in order to reveal God’s truth, love, and hope in the language and context of real people’s lives.
Oh, the training goes on and everyone feels good about it as they do learn to fish. But, in the lives of most believers, it never translates into actually fishing. Being trained and knowing how to fish and actually fishing are two different things. So, true personal evangelism seldom takes place – with a few exceptions, of course.
There are other problems with the way we have set things up … gathering to worship and scattering to evangelize… let me mention a few:
It was not the way the early church was organized. The early church would hold their large gatherings in the public square where a crowd would be drawn to their worship and teaching. This is where the gospel would be preached and thousands would come to faith. They then broke off for small groups in one another’s homes for going deeper into worship and teaching. The most successful and impacting evangelism took place as the church was publicly gathered. This is clearly seen in the Acts of the Apostles (and in most seeker sensitive churches).
Not to mention:
How are today’s believers going to successfully reach unbelievers if they can’t communicate God’s truth in the language of the culture? If the church isn’t culturally relevant – and in most cases it is not – the believers from that church won’t be relevent. No wonder the churches that make this claim of training them for personal evangelism later aren’t reaching anyone for Christ.
Not to mention:
If they ever do reach a person, where is that new believer going to learn about living for God in the real world? It won’t happen in a church that has no connection to or understanding of the real world. So, there are some serious changes needed in the “fishing boat” before the newly trained fishers of men can actually be effective in what they have been trained to accomplish.
So we need to be making some changes. Not change for the sake of change. But if it is not working – it is time to fix it. And, it is not working. Yes, we may like it the way it is – but the Church belongs to Jesus and it must be doing what He designed it to do and that is seek and save the lost. The church must value what He values – the lost. The value God has for lost people compelled Him to dramatically reorder His world in order to find them. It makes perfect sense then that He expects His followers to do the same.
God rejoices over one lost sinner that repents and turns to Him. What is it that we rejoice over? A good worship experience. A service that ends early? A teaching that actually went somewhere and said something? Jesus directed His ministry towards outsiders rather than insiders because this is what God valued. What so many churches and believers value and celebrate has nothing to do with what God values and celebrates. As a result the Church is not doing what it was created to do and believers are frustrated and unfulfilled.
It’s time for change.