If there’s one focus a Church should have, it’s on evangelism and missions. It’s almost a little redundant to separate those since missions, properly understood, is evangelism. If we’re truly doing the will of the Lord and making disciples of all nations, we can’t do that by giving people clean water without giving them the water of eternal life. We can’t give them bread to fill their stomachs without teaching about the bread from heaven who can fill their souls. We can’t provide shelter from the storm without telling the story of the One who has the power to calm the storms (and I’m talking about literal storms here, not “the storms of life”).
Am I saying we shouldn’t feed the poor, clothe the naked, or be philanthropic in our communities and abroad? Absolutely not! However, we must never sever these actions from evangelism. Evangelism is the only reason the Lord has left us here on earth. Seriously… think about it. What good are we if we take the light given to us and hide it under our beds? Jesus emphasized evangelism as something of great importance in His own ministry, leading by example and by His clear commands given to all He came in contact with. He gave this command specifically to His Church and if we ignore that, we cease to be the Church and become closer in nature to GreenPeace. If we become a social club, our Church will die. Without Biblically centered evangelism, your Church will die. In the words of the Apostle Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
So why aren’t more Churches active in true evangelism? I think one thing people fear greatly is confrontation about spiritual things, even though some of those same people turn into General Patton when it comes to confronting someone on their differing opinion of the 2nd amendment.
I think another thing we’re all afraid of is looking stupid. I know I am, and unfortunately I’ve succeeded in confronting this fear many, many times. Just ask anyone who knows me and I’m sure they can all think of those “man he really looked stupid” moments… but stop focusing on me and get the beam out of your own eye, man!
So why might we feel stupid in evangelism? Maybe we don’t know how to answer objections to Christianity. Maybe we’ve been roasted before by someone with challenges we had never thought of, had a moment of doubt, and thought “man I’m not going there again”. This is why I believe the marriage between apologetics and evangelism is one that should not be divorced.
That’s not to say everyone needs to have an MA level understanding of apologetics to be an effective evangelist, but we need something. Most importantly, we must have a proper understanding of the gospel and be able to communicate that effectively, yet also be able to provide an answer to the challenges the Church faces. Even though many Pastors and theologians may not see the importance of apologetics in evangelism, we as apologists must help bridge this gap in our local Churches. The most effective way to do this is to start an apologetics/evangelism ministry in your local Church under the authority of your Elders/Pastors.
That will be the focus of this short series and more posts will be forthcoming.