Evangelism forms part of discipleship. Too often people divorce evangelism from discipleship and that creates a unbiblical dichotomy.
Therefore, we should never talk about “evangelism and discipleship” as if they were two separate things.
So… if you're looking for my teaching on evangelism, please visit the discipleship page!
My Point: The local church pastor is the person primarily responsible for evangelism in his church.
The Problem: Most churches don't evangelize because the majority of pastors refuse to do the work of an evangelist.
There are three mentions of “evangelist” in the Bible:
Acts 21.8: And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
Philip, one of the seven original deacons in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6.5), was an evangelist. Through the example of his life we can see and understand that an evangelist evangelizes:
Ephesians 4.11-12: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…
The evangelist is also one of the four leaders Christ gave as gifts to the Church for the perfecting of the saints, that the saints might do the work of the ministry that results in the edifying of the body of Christ.
So we can clearly see the will of God (the divine design) in the evangelist.
Remember that all the redeemed (all Christians) are called by God to evangelize. There is no “gift of evangelism” in the Bible. The gift is the evangelist and God gave the evangelist to us as a gift so that we could be trained up and made ready for the work of evangelism that God expects all of us to do.
2Corinthians 5.18-20: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
If you are one of the reconciled, you have been entrusted with the word of reconciliation (the gospel) and God calls you an ambassador for Christ. God expects you to preach this word to those who need reconciliation with God. There is no “gift of evangelism.” God called you just like he called me and every other Christian to evangelize. It's not a question of “gifts” but rather of obedience.
2Timothy 4.5: But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
In the absence of an evangelist in the local church, God has commanded (it is an order from the Lord) the pastor of that church to do the work of an evangelist. That includes everything we have just seen that Bible says is the work of an evangelist:
The local church pastor is the person primarily responsible for evangelism in his church.
The Problem: The majority of pastors refuse to do the work of an evangelist. Because of this, most Christians and the Church in general do not evangelize.
I've heard it said that open-air preaching is futile and useless. The actual phrase that was used by the brethren was that street preaching was just “pissing up a rope” (you can find a nice, lovely, thoughtful definition of that Christian phrase in the Urban Dictionary or in the Wiktionary).
Noah, “a preacher of righteousness” (2Pet 2.5), was given 120 years to preach to lost people, warn them of coming judgment and wrath, and call them to the gracious salvation provided by God.
But he won no convert.
Gee… What a tool (also defined in the Urban Dictionary). I guess he was just pissing up a rope.
For apostasy there is no remedy but judgment.
2Timothy 4.3-4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
With regard to open-air preaching, street ministry, and intentional evangelism… Since that is the clear, biblical model of the main thrust of the Great Commission…
I think that's a fine rope to piss up.
Motivation to pass out tracts: George Street (9 mins)
Buy good tracts:
One of the problems I have encountered where I live is the restrictive nature of local “soliciting” law. Many of the municipalities where I live define “soliciting” in such a way as to include door-to-door evangelism.
Lenexa, for example, states the following in their City Ordinance regarding Soliciting:
Most people want their privacy at home. They want the quiet enjoyment of their private property (me, too). They don't want unwanted intrusions into the privacy of their homes (me, too).
In addition to that, we don't want to break the law (Rom 13.1-5, etc.).
So, how can we reach people in our community with the message of the biblical gospel in a way that abides by the law and doesn't intrude into people's quiet enjoyment of their private property? EDDM is an interesting option…
EDDM is a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that reaches every address in a chosen and defined geographic location.
When I was the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church, we invested in several rounds of EDDM in order to reach our community with the message of the gospel and an invitation to our Bible-believing congregation.
Andy, founder and owner of Tract Planet, helped us with the mailer design and printing. He's outstanding to work with and a good Christian brother.
The USPO charges $0.178 per EDDM mailer (that's less than 18 cents; it's less than half the price of mailing a normal postcard).
In 2012, Andy (from Tract Planet) designed and printed 100,000 mailers for $7,500.00 (that's $0.075 – seven and a half cents – per mailer). Granted prices will have increased since then, but this give you an idea of how relatively inexpensive EDDM is.
You can reach your entire community with the message of the gospel for about 25 cents each.
Or… you can keep your quarter laid up in a napkin and see how that works out for you…
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come… And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin… And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. [Luke 19.11-27]