Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013 - The church is God's missional & missionsal tool for evangelism

"I don't have the spiritual gift of evangelism" is a sentence I am used to hearing. I have heard it since I was 9 years old and our family were traveling from church to church attempting to raise full-time support to be missionaries in Africa. Usually that sentence is made in the context of us (our family) being special chosen ones to take the Good News to the "lost" while the speaker stayed home and attended church supporting the special ones, which usually included the local Pastor.
I have always assumed that rational came from the American penchant for "specializing" all jobs. Doctors have a specialty as do lawyers, plumbers, and chefs. It makes sense to us to think of the work of the church requiring specialists for evangelism as we do for preaching. Makes sense, but, it is wrong.
From its inception the church, the collected body of believers, was gifted so that the church could finish the mission Jesus gave us. That commission is the presentation of the Good News to people in such a way that they can understand its impact for their lives and make an informed decision to accept or reject it. That is why all churches are missional - they want their body to be active in presenting the Good News in their daily lives. The fruit of that is the increase in baptisms and usually numbers of members as well as attendees. When evangelism is set in the context of our family and neighbors it requires that we be missional in our everyday lives.
When evangelism is set in the context of people whose cultures differ radically or whose homes are geographically removed it requires us to support missions to those people and areas. The collected body of Jesus, the church, is God's tool for effective evangelism mission-ally and missions-ally.
I remember my Dad's response to one person who asked about becoming a "missionary." Dad asked who that young man was discipling (being missional to) to become a follower of Jesus. "No one, I don't have the gift of evangelism, yet," he replied. My Dad's answer was a conversation stopper, "If you aren't evangelizing among the people you know you are not going to do any better among the people you don't know."
Jesus' recorded words in Acts 1:8 apply to every church (the collected body of believers) both missionally and missionsally, "But you [all] will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you [all] will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
How is La Habra Christian Church (you all the collected body of believers) doing in these two areas?

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