There are three big myths that totally give a false understanding about what evangelism is and how we ‘perform it’. These three myths give a disservice to any person or group looking to help their fellow-man. These myths are similar in that they serve to make man not God the focal point of evangelism and this not doctrinally a solid thing. For the sake of real evangelism I offer these up for you to discern.
Myth #1- We need effective strategies and marketing gimmicks to reach the lost.
The truth about this myth is that places us as the centerfold of evangelism rather than God. It tells that the sinful man needs devices and ideas of other sinful men to come to God. Just stop and think upon the logic of this. We are in need of God always and thankfully he freely gives us the means to restore our faith. The same goes for evangelism. The problem of modern day evangelism is this notion that man play a bigger role than God. What hope do we have if this is the case? The Bible tells us that God and his Word are the source of all things. It was God and his Word that created us (Gen 1:1). God is the source of all things especially our faith. God saves us and he also makes us Christian.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3
” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ” John 14:6
” John answered, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.” ” John 3:27
” Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. ” James 1:17
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
Of course I can pick so many more verses telling us that it is God who is the source of all things. That is God and God alone that we know anything about him and this could go on all day. Here is my point and I hope that Romans 10 and John 14 really hit the point for you. It is because of God that we have any connection to God. So making new disciples is not a case of asking questions like “are you ready” or “if you were to die this day would you be in heaven”. People do not need us to ask them how they feel. Our hope is in an objective truth and these kinds of tactics risk people losing sight of that. If evangelism is about the good news of Jesus death then what do our feelings have anything to do with that.
The whole point of evangelism is not to obtain information about these people (that naturally comes later) what it is about is letting them know of their sin and Christ’s death for those sins. This whole philosophy that we need to focus on a message crafted for individuals and not on the universal message of Law and Gospel is a dangerous disaster with long-lasting impact. We need to realize that the people need God 100% and that God 100% will deliver them and give them the faith that is a free gift of his.
Really this is the biggest myth when it comes to evangelism. No better is man’s hubris in full display when he starts believing that God’s Word is not sufficient. When the Holy Spirit needs man’s innovative techniques to reach the lost. Not one thing we can do to convert the lost except for living our faith through our vocations empowered by the means of grace we receive in church. It is God and God alone through his work in us an and for us that we bring people to the fold. The lost do not need some bait and switch or any other gimmick. They are sinners and are in need of hearing that in their sin their death was deserved but in Christ there is new life. The truth is that hope in God is what convicts us to believe in him. These tactics rob the hope that comes in knowing Jesus died.
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. Martin Luther
Myth #2 Church growth is evangelism.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” Matthew 18:20
No one disputes that a healthy church is a good thing. Seeing as it is vital for all Christians to attend church it is essential that the church be concerned if it’s members are not coming every Sunday. This however is a far cry from the churches that feel upon themselves to reinvent the wheel on evangelism and focus on growing the church via church attendance. Church growth is not a sign of a healthy church. It is faith and how much the faith is growing where the real growth is at. If a church is having conflict then obviously that will have an effect on faith. We though are not here to grow our numbers for the sake of numbers. Sheep stealing is not real growth and not real evangelism. The church should not be concerned with its number rather on whether it is correcting teaching the Word. What essentially is so wrong with this idea is the notion that the church on organizational level must be concerned with evangelism. Real evangelism comes from the people sharing their faith which only is grown from the gifts given at church. If the pastor or church leadership is consumed with “evangelism” then they risk cutting people off from the source of living that in their daily lives. We must grow the faith of the church and then the church will grow. We must grow the faith of the believer and we will see evangelism being worked through that.
Myth #3 Seeker sensitive services equals increase in both church growth and evangelism.
This is just a lie, altering the liturgy for the aim of gaining new members not only fails to understand just what real Christian liturgy is all about. It also risks giving people a bait and switch which is not only immoral thing to do it makes you lose more people. You lose those who think they are getting something different. It also makes you lose the members you do have who feel greatly that they were robbed a service because of someone else. This also fails to hit at home that in the liturgy the goal is for those outside to become like those inside. Liturgy is supposed to conform us to one body of believers that speaks and acts in unison. Like I said above church growth does equate evangelism and the only thing done with these gimmicky service is risk not feeding those their needing to be fed. It is not our church and it is not out faith. These are God’s and these thing are to help us in our communion with God. God cares how we do these things and we risk doing harm and further more robbing God of all his glory when we put the focus on ourselves. When our worship and evangelism is more about people’s tastes or people in their life we risk losing making idols and causing a ruckus in the house of God.
In conclusion we need to remember that God does not need our ideas or thoughts on what makes people interested in a church. God does the bidding and all we asks of us is to remain faithful to his work and free gifts which give us the building blocks of our saving faith.