A Prerequisite to Evangelism

I had a great lunch conversation yesterday with Bruce Black, the Pulpit Minister for the Fairfax Church of Christ.  One of the things we were talking about was the way our congregations, the Fairfax Church of Christ and the Columbia Church of Christ, are seeking to be more intentional about engaging our communities with the gospel.  That, of course, means learning to become more evangelistic.

As we were talking, it was observed that one of the challenges for many Christians, including ourselves, is knowing how to live in and among an unchristian world without being like that Christian world.  Perhaps you might recall hearing it said that Christians are called to be “in the world but not of it.”  Well, that is the challenge.

Then last night, in my house church gathering, we were talking about becoming more evangelistic too.  Our conversation involved discussing the conversion of Lydia and her household (Acts 16.11-15).  It was observed how the Apostle Paul had a knack for discovering where God was already at work and then joining God in that work…hence, finding some women who were seekers of God.

That observation raised a question: how do we discover those places where God is already working, where there are people already seeking God but have yet to hear the gospel?  In pondering this question, another observation was made: we are more likely to discover those places and people when we are living as faithful Christians.  Yes!  Because people seeking God see the light existing among those living a faithful Christians and God uses that to opens doors…creates opportunities.

This all means that faithful Christian living is a a prerequisite for evangelism!!!  But here are a few things to consider about this prerequisite.  Faithful Christian living…

  • Does not mean living as though we constantly have it all together.  Do you feel me?  We need to live authentically.  That means not pretending as though we are without our own struggles, fears, doubts, questions, frustrations, etc…  We are still humans living a life where there is “groaning” (cf. Rom 8.22) and sometimes our best witness to seekers who also are  living a life of groaning is to be open and real about this groaning.
  • Includes paying attention what sort of conversations we invest our time in.  From where I sit, too many Christians are great parrots of cable news (i.e., CNN, FOX, etc…) and politics…all at the expense of the gospel.  Just scroll through your Facebook feed and you will see what I mean (and yes, I have been guilty of this too at times).  How can we be witnesses for Jesus when we are preoccupied with everything but the gospel?
  • Is the absence of hypocrisy.  If there is one way to kill our evangelistic witness, it is to be found with a discrepancy between what we say and what we do.  So let me get specific.  As Christians, we cannot say that we follow Jesus if our lives do not resemble the life Jesus lived.  Jesus proclaimed and lived by a specific set of beliefs and values and we must learn to embrace those same beliefs and values in our lives, otherwise we are hypocrites.

3 responses to “A Prerequisite to Evangelism

  1. Great post, Rex. Miss those small group sessions! This is just one idea the group I am meeting with is doing to get “out into the world”. There is an organization (I believe it is called “Helping Hands”) coming through the area in Nov. to pick up any baby blankets we can either make or gather up. These blankets will go to unwed mothers in Romania. I am looking forward to asking several people I have met to participate in this effort. Prayerfully it will open up conversation with those who show interest. I think it helps to get people involved in something that gets them to give of themselves. Seems to open some doors. Remember the blood drive? Oh I could forget that one 🙂 I will pray your efforts will reach into the community around you and the gospel will be heard in your conversation and in your lives. God Bless!

    • Amy,

      That “Helping Hands” ministry does sound like a great opportunity. You are so right in how serving others opens up conversation. I will pray that not only the blankets made/collected will bless families in Romania but also that this will open up some conversations for you about what God is doing in this world. That is exciting!

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

  2. Great stuff. God bless you and your ministry!

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