Some Early Undeveloped Thoughts On Evangelism

Many saints preach and witness to family, friends, and co-workers, and rightly so! Good for them. Others also go on outreaches of whatever kind or variety in order to be a light for the Lord in their community. Well and fine.

But there is still something amiss. The goal of nearly all of the evangelism attempted by the saints today, in whatever form it takes, is to get someone to, ultimately, “get saved”, as we like to say, and in doing so, join our version of the local church club we’ve created and become an active member in whatever form of churchianity we embrace.

Now, I realize that might come across as mean-spirited, but I don’t mean to be mean. Churchianity is, admittedly, a negative term, as most often used, but this is what it means:

Churchianity makes our faith as much about the church as about the Lord of the church (A mistake). It attracts members at the local level not just for the sake of their souls (that is, salvation is merely a by-product of what we are really after), but also to be a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating organization, run on “love and money” I once upon a time often heard from the pulpit on a fairly regular basis (Never once said or even intimated in the pages of the Holy Scriptures of the New Covenant).

Let’s face it. When a person joins a local church, it isn’t long before they are expected to get with the program, learn the lingo, conform, and become acculturated into the mores and norms of the local church, most often spoon-fed to the congregation week after week in the form of lectures otherwise called “sermons” or “bible studies”.

I know this seems pessimistic, but please bear with me still!

The Biblical pattern of evangelism is not to create members in a tax-exempt, state recognized entity with officiants, boards, and other trustees, and what have you. Nor is it to create pew-babies who grow up to learn how to be passive spectators while 20% of the saints do 80% of the work (most of which has its place not in actual New Testament writings, but in the tradition of men and the false church).

Biblical evangelism is about making disciples of Jesus Christ, who then make more disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not about generating local church members to pad our numbers and increase our roll call, so whatever denominational organization of ours can announce its total constituency year after year (and also report it to the IRS for legal reasons. Think about that for a moment!).

Not all brainwashing is evil; in fact, the Bible highly recommends a certain kind of brainwashing necessary for Christian living. As a parent I am daily “brainwashing”, if you will, my children. My wife and I tell them what to believe, how to act, what to say and not say, and etc., all the way to table manners and using the potty!

But a group of people constantly and consistently meeting to renew their vows to a program of wash, rinse, and repeat liturgy is not what Jesus had in mind. IT JUST ISN’T!!!

In “church”, people adapt and learn to go with the flow of someone else’s burden, vision, and mission, and are subtlety coerced into agreeing with it, sometimes unintentionally, but sometimes completely intentionally, by those who set the agenda, occasionally, but hopefully never more than that, by threat of rebuke, censure, public humiliation, dispossession of ministry, and/or expulsion.

As they adapt (or die) to the church culture, they begin to sacrifice a portion of themselves and in so doing, they throw away and give up on something God might have wanted them to become, in order to prop up the local “church” in all her typical fashion and display. Few true disciples are ever made this way.

Consider this: Can you right now, drop everything in a moment’s notice to share the Gospel with someone and lead them to Jesus…in your workplace, your corner market, your city park, your living room, and etc.?

(And when I say “lead them to Jesus”, I don’t mean bring them to the clergy at the duly appointed times, i.e. Wednesday P.M. and Sunday A.M. so they, and not you, can lead them to Jesus.)

If the answer is “no”, it’s not because you’re weak of faith, faint of heart, or aren’t anointed, or not called. It’s likely rather that you’ve been trained in a form of evangelism that is centered on the “high-water mark” of bringing people to church, instead of bringing people to Jesus.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Without thinking too hard about it, can you name the following for your next church service:

  • Who’s going to greet you at the door with a flyer, inside of which is a short devotional and other church news and digest?
  • Who’s going to lead the pre-service prayer?
  • Who’s going to be the worship leader?
  • Who’s going to be the back-up band/worship “team”?
  • Which songs are likely to be sung?
  • Who’s going to take up the offering?
  • Who’s going to give the announcements?
  • Who’s going to ask for prayer, and for what?
  • Which children are going to go to Sunday school or nursery?
  • Who’s going to teach Sunday School or oversee the nursery?
  • Who’s going to preach or teach? What subject?
  • Whether or not there will be an altar call?
  • Who’s going to go up to the altar, and who’s going to stay in their chair?
  • Who’s doing all the behind the scenes work to make the service happen (i.e. sound booth and a/v team, church cleaners and grounds crew, and etc.)?
  • Where everyone is going to go afterward to get a bite to eat?

Do I have you thinking yet? If you can answer most or even all of these questions, perhaps with barely a thought, you might question whether or not you have been introduced to true Biblical Christianity or a form of it otherwise known as Churchianity.

Look deeply into the Gospels and Acts. Not once will you find such time and again, structured and orchestrated ways of following Jesus and living out the life and calling He has given us.

It’s just not there! Find me one time in Acts where one of the disciples ever “brought a sinner to church”, as we usually mean it today?

Where do we see anyone attempting to acculturate a new convert, not just into the Apostle’s Doctrine, but also into the various peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies of a local church (in some ways, women have it worse then men here)?

Find me one time in the Acts of the Apostles where any saint pawned off an unsaved person on another so that the other could minister to them instead?

I realize these thoughts might be very contrary to your own. I realize that they may come across as radical, perhaps even unseemly to some. But please read them in the tone with which I have hoped to share them: one of passion and zeal tempered by mercy and grace, with love throughout.

If you know me, you know I don’t have it in for anyone, and I’m not interested in scandal or outrage. But I do want what’s best for God’s people, and regardless of these “early” or “undeveloped” thoughts of mine, or what you might think of them overall, there can be no doubt that the way we evangelize compared to the way the 1st century believers fulfilled the Great Commission is vastly different.

And that fact is proven week after week after week after week after week after week (get the idea?) by the fact that all our efforts to create an hour and a half, not too short, not too long, get home in time for the game “church service” produce so little fruit compared to what we read in the Gospels and Acts.

I challenge you to pray and seek God about this. Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good. Despise not prophesying.

And if this is “good”, or even “prophetic” to your soul, then next time you feel an urging in the Spirit to evangelize, I challenge you to not invite anyone, not even a single soul, to “church”. Instead invite Jesus to work through you, right then and there, to bring whoever you meet this week, at work, at the corner store, at the park, in your living room, or wherever, to Him, instead.

Peace and God bless,

The Votive Soul

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~ by votivesoul on 06/26/2016.

2 Responses to “Some Early Undeveloped Thoughts On Evangelism”

  1. Bro. V, as always your posts are spot on! We have felt for a long time that there is a huge difference between just being a believer and being a disciple. Being a true disciple means that you are reproducing of your kind, which is disciples. This is the true hope of evangelism, to make disciples out of men, not just believers. Anyone can believe, but until they take action, and change, they have not truly believed AND become a disciple. Churches are simply getting people to believe and counting that towards salvation, which it is in part, but there is MORE, much MORE to it than just believing. Keep on with the direction that the Lord is taking you with this, praying for you and your family! Also asking prayer for a friend who we have been witnessing to, and praying that the Lord would open her heart to Him. She doesn’t even believe in God at this point, but I see changes in her heart. My prayer is to show her a God who loves her, wants to change her, and that she would be a faithful disciple of Him, for His glory.

    • Hello, Beloved of Christ Jesus. Thanks for your response, and your encouraging words. It is good to know others are walking the same path. I will pray for your friend.

      Peace and God bless,

      Aaron

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