Evangelism Is Not an Option!
By Alan K Waltz
Have you ever bought a new car? The pricing of the car starts with the base price. To this is added the cost of the “options’ which have al ready been put on the car or which you select to be added. Some options may indeed really be just that, added luxury features which are nice to have but which do not relate to the performance and safety of the car. For me, leather seats are one such option. Other items are provided as options which seem to be more crucial, such as power brakes and power steering.
These days many pastors and local congregations build their programs in much the same way. They start with what they perceive to be the essentials. Items considered as essential include a building in which to meet, a pastor (along with the pastor’s salary, benefits, and housing), a Sunday morning worship service, and a Sunday school. Some pastors and congregations have other items which they add to the basic or standard list. For many, unfortunately, evangelism is not one of these. It is considered an extra to be added if time and resources allow.
Evangelism is not an option! It is one of the most essential aspects of the mission for any pastor or local congregation.
High on the priority list of the pastor must be an active interest in and action related to evangelism. While it is true that the pastor has a major responsibility for the care and nurture of the members of the congregation, it is also true that a primary task of the pastor is to be directly involved in the telling of the story of God’s grace and mercy as revealed through Jesus Christ. This involves not only a strong emphasis on evangelism in the pastor’s preaching and teaching, but also a focused and concerted program of outreach and witness to Christ–both to the membership and the community. It is not enough for the pastor to remain relatively cloistered within the church building for work among the members or for the administrative tasks of the congregation. For the pastor evangelism cannot be an option.
Evangelism is not an option for the congregation. Too often congregations become preoccupied with their own organizational and institutional needs. While many churches may be serving well the needs of the members, particularly those who are actively involved in the congregation, many congregations and members do not under stand the necessity of actively sharing the gospel revealed to us through Christ. The attitude which a congregation holds about evangelism in large measure determines how that congregation will carry out its ministry.
Why is evangelism not an option? It is not an option for the individual Christian or for the Christian community, because of the imperative which comes to us from Christ to share the good news of God’s love and redemption. The commission from Christ, which is found in all of the Synoptic Gospels, is “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV).
That is not an option. It is a directive from Christ that Christian disciples are to share their faith with others. With Christ’s earthly ministry completed, the task of spreading the gospel has passed to those of us who affirm that we are Christ’s followers. To treat this task lightly or to ignore it indicates that we have not truly and fully taken on the mantle of responsibility given us by Christ.
Evangelism is not something which can be taken up or put aside at one’s convenience. It is an essential, core part of the Christian faith and experience for both the individual and the congregation. However important many other aspects of the Christian experience may be, evangelism cannot be set aside or ignored. If we are to be true to the commission of Christ, we must always remember that evangelism is not an option!
From ‘New Ideas in Evangelism and Church Vitality’
Net Results Article by Alan K Waltz
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”