6/19/14 David about 20
Is a church invitation evangelism? Many pastors and other church leaders assume it is, and some even seem to believe it is the only effective or legitimate form of evangelism in our culture. But I have met too many church attenders who still have no idea of what the Gospel is and too many non-attenders who only think we are inviting them to church to build our particular tribe or increase the amount of donations in the offering plate. I continue to believe Jesus’ directive to “go and preach the gospel” to all creation is being ignored in favor of trying to get all creation to “come to our meetings”. There is a natural tension, I think, between the pastor and the evangelist. The emphasis on inviting people to meetings – to hear the gifted pastor preach the Gospel – blurs the distinction between the two and makes the evangelist seem unnecessary. The evangelist, on the other hand, can’t afford to ignore the need for the work of the pastor and the gatherings of the church. If it wasn’t for the local church, where would I refer the people whom I share the Gospel with? My confidence in sharing the gospel on the streets is directly related to my confidence in knowing I have a solid body of believers backing me up in the church. I have more than Jesus to offer people on the streets, I have His Body – the Church. I was reminded of this in a conversation with an Asian man named David (his American name), who was riding bike past our church building. I had flagged him down, hoping to share the gospel, only to find out he is a relatively new immigrant from China and his English is somewhat limited. We could talk about simple things like God and Heaven and church, but I was unable to explain some of the more abstract concepts of the Gospel. David began to ask about our church and when he could attend, and I was so glad to be a part of a local church gathering that includes a number of Chinese believers whom David could relate to. Pastors and local churches, you may not think you need evangelists, but we sure need you!