Pastoral Articles

Top Ten Reasons to Engage Enthusiastically

Why Have A Month-Long Emphasis on Evangelism? 
Ten Reasons to Engage Enthusiastically

Pastor Jeff VanGoethem

 

The month of February will be a special month here at Scofield. We have planned and arranged for a month long emphasis on evangelism as one of the first steps in our vision process. I would not call it a month of evangelism since it is not centered on organized evangelistic activities.  I would not even call it a month of evangelistic training, since we are not envisioning a lot of “doing.” You really cannot be trained in something without doing it, without “practice.” If you want evangelistic training, sign up for the New York City trip this summer or go out on Wednesday nights with one of our experienced Neighborhood Evangelism Team members. That’s training.

What we are doing in February is really pre-training. We are going to spend a month pondering evangelism, meditating on it, thinking about it. The goal is not to start a new evangelistic program at Scofield, but rather to think about evangelism, to ask the question, “How are we doing and what can we do to become more evangelistic?” The main reason for this approach is simple. Evangelism in our society today is more complex than ever.  The neighborhoods are changing. The culture is changing. Openness to and understanding of the Christian gospel is ebbing. We are past the days when we can have one simple method or system and expect it to easily work. People are coming to Christ more slowly and more painfully in our society today. To evangelize today requires certain lifestyle and attitudinal adjustments. These things must be deeply pondered before we can begin to think about new programs or activities.

This is not said to be discouraging but rather realistic. I am excited about opportunities to reach people in Dallas, Texas.  People are still coming to Christ in our society today and many, many churches are very evangelistically involved. Thus, the idea of this special month is to ponder and think about evangelism today, to bring in some strategic thinkers to help us, and then ask God what do you want us to be doing?

When I left my previous pastorate in Illinois I left a church that was deeply involved in evangelism in the community. But this developed over years of thinking, praying, experimenting, and learning. Our special month long emphasis on evangelism here at Scofield is designed to take a step in the right direction rather than just “exist” as we are. Hopefully it will help us to become stronger, more involved, more aware, more schooled, more prepared (1 Peter 3:15), more prayerful, more unified in our commitment, more earnest, and more sensitive to God and to the spiritual needs of those around us. We want to think about all of this and reflect on “where is my own heart in regard to evangelism” and “what might God be saying to us?”

So we will spend a month pondering and thinking about evangelism in today’s world and asking where our own hearts and lives are at? Where are we in regard to an evangelistic lifestyle? Have we given up? Did we fail to start? Are we discouraged? Have we stopped praying? Are we unschooled and untrained? Are we stuck in the past? Are we in touch with the culture? What can we do to live a more evangelistic lifestyle? What can I do better? What do I have to learn? What does God want me to do? What might God to say to us in this coming month? I am excited to think about these questions.

So no big new program. But some thinking, some pondering, some praying. I think this might be a good step for us as we begin to envision a new future for Scofield Church. That Scofield Church was founded and built on evangelism there is little doubt, but if one reads the early history of our church. If it is going to be re-founded and re-built in today’s world, it must also be done through evangelism. We do not want to become a church merely content to attract the already converted and churched from other churches. We want to “preach the gospel to every creature.” So why should you and I engage this month enthusiastically? Here are the top ten reasons.

1. We live in a large city with many spiritually needy people all around us.

2. The Lord has commanded us to “preach the gospel to every creature.” Yes, every creature!  Everyone on my block, everyone on yours. Everyone where I work and live, everyone where you work and live. Every creature!

3. The Bible commands me, as a pastor and church leader, to “do the work of an evangelist.” The main work of an evangelist is to equip others to be involved in evangelism and building the church (Eph. 4:11f). It is my duty before God to see that you are equipped for this.

4. It is not enough to send workers to the other side of the world to do gospel work, we must also become gospel workers ourselves, right here in our own Jerusalem and Judea.

5. We must not be content to merely attract to our church the already converted. That is not our New Testament mission. We must evangelize.

6. Every Christian should experience the thrill and privilege of being involved and instrumental in leading another soul to the Lord Jesus. I covet this for all of us.

7. Do not our own hearts burn and long for the salvation of many of those we know and love and live amongst? Our own hearts cry out for evangelism. Well, let’s think about how it can happen.

8. The more we meditate and think about evangelism, the more likely we are to do it.

9. Our culture is constantly changing. Now and then we have to stop and think about how that affects the gospel, our ministry and our outreach. We do not want to get in a rut (a rut is a grave with both ends kicked out).

10. We want to be in the process of constantly orientating our church to its New Testament mission. We want to stay on the track and keep the main thing the main thing.

 

Let’s have a great month long emphasis on evangelism!

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