“I was a child bride!”

"I was a child bride!"

"I was a child bride!"

The mention of the term
‘evangelism’ evokes many preconceived ideas here in
America. To the politically-correct liberal, it is a synonym for
‘intolerance,’ where one religion tries to impose its
beliefs on others, a view considered to be discriminatory in a
multicultural world. For most Christians, the first thing that
comes to mind with ‘evangelism,' is handing out tracts or
preaching on a street corner. Consequently, the liberal has
believed a lie sold by the enemy who has ‘called good evil
and evil good, while the Christian has seen only one facet of a
very comprehensive task. 

Surveying the crowd

True Christianity is not a religion; it is
relational, vertically between believers and God, and
horizontally between each other. I often survey many of the
congregations of the churches I minister in, asking them how they
became Christians. If I ask how many came to know the Lord by
someone giving them a tract while they were walking along the
street, usually no one responds. If I ask who was saved by
hearing a street preacher on a corner, maybe one in three hundred
will respond. If I ask who became a Christian and is in a church
today because they saw an advertisement for some kind of
outreach, again, maybe one in several hundred may respond. But
when I ask who became a Christian because they knew someone, a
friend, family member, co-worker or loved-one, 99% of people
raise their hands. 

Proving a point

What does this survey prove? It tells us is
that most people come to know the Lord through someone
they already have a relationship with who is a Christian. Does
this mean we shouldn't waste our time printing and handing out
tracts, preaching on street corners or advertising our church
functions? Certainly not! We need to keep doing more, but if that
is all we do in terms of evangelism, then it could in part
account for the falling numbers of people becoming Christians in
America. (“And the rest of the Western
World” Ed’s note)

“It’s the evangelist’s job…”

Many also mistakenly think
it’s the evangelist’s job to get people saved. While
it is true that the evangelist, like all Christians, should be
personally leading people to Christ on a regular basis, his or
her main purpose is to equip the Body of Christ for the work of
evangelism. The evangelist is a ‘gift’ (Ephesians 4:11)
to the Body for the purpose of the ‘perfecting of the
saints.’ This means he is charged with promoting maturity,
and that is arrived at when the saints can reproduce. The
evangelist, being a shepherd, cannot reproduce sheep, shepherds
can only reproduce shepherds; sheep reproduce
sheep!

Here comes the bride…

Over the course of my ministry, I have had the
pleasure of conducting many wedding ceremonies and it is always a
joy to watch the bride walk down the aisle to meet her intended
groom. But as she walks toward the altar, she is actually making
a public statement which declares; ‘I am mature and able
to reproduce!’

“I was a child bride!”

When Christ returns, He is coming for a bride
‘without spot or blemish.’ He is not coming back for
a child bride! A mark of Christian maturity is the ability to
reproduce other Christians. In America the church has become a
side-show where leaders ‘perform’ the ministry while
the congregation are all spectators. Evangelists must rise up to
take on the challenge of bringing the body to a point where
everyone is involved in the business of populating Heaven and
sending hell into a recession.