Why Evangelism Matters

The “Great Commission” is a command for all disciples, then and now, to be evangelists – going into the world making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that Christ commands. But why is this so important to Jesus?

The importance of these commands cannot be emphasized enough. In the book of Daniel we learn of the coming Kingdom that would be established by a rock cut from a mountain, not by human hands. 

“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” – Daniel 2:44-45 

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream a few verses prior, Daniel details that when the King saw this rock in his dream it became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth (v. 35). The Great Commission, the call for all disciples to spread the Gospel to all nations, is important to fulfill this prophecy. The Kingdom Christ established on this earth, His church, needs to reach all nations. The world needs to hear the Gospel message as much now as they did back when the commission was first uttered. In order for the Kingdom to grow into a mountain covering the entire earth, the church must follow Christ’s command to GO (first and foremost), make new disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded. New disciples means more members of God’s household (Eph. 2:19), members added to His church (Acts 2:41).

In 2015, the Pew Research Center did an extensive look into the religious atmosphere of America. In their search, they found church attendance was down across the board, no matter the denomination. More people were dying or falling away from faith than were being added. In fact, when you look at the statistics, the younger generations are less likely to be in attendance on a weekly basis. Thirty-four percent of Generation X (1965-1980), 27% of older Millennials (1981-1989) and 28% of younger Millennials (1990-1996) to be exact. 

Why are churches shrinking faster than they’re growing? Very simply, I feel churches have turned away from evangelistic outreach, and shifted their focus to creating programs that draw people in. They call these things “ministries,” but are they truly fulfilling the great & final commission of Christ? In the vast majority of the cases, I would posit, “No.” I think “programs” and break-off ministries can be beneficial, if done with the focus of evangelism and not socialization. If those ministries are teaching all to observe Christ’s commands, rebuking sin, and submitting to the authority of scripture, then they’ll find success. The problem is – outside of false doctrines being propagated – these programs are drawing from other churches, not from the lost (for the most part). The lost may be drawn in by the programs, but are they being taught to observe all of Christ’s commands, including His command for water baptism for the remission of sins? Drawing people in, waiting for them to walk in the doors to do all that Christ commands on their own accord is not equal to Christ’s command to “Go.” It’s a  bad plan for growth, to say the least.

It seems like today, the only way a church grows is if someone who is already a Christian moves into the area, or switches churches because of negative things happening at their former congregation, etc. This isn’t true at all places, but very bluntly, I see it more times than not here in the north. For some reason, churches in the south are better at getting out and evangelizing in their communities (side note: I hope to some day dig deeper into the great differences between churches in the north and south). It’s not true growth because it hasn’t expanded the mountain at all. A piece of the mountain simply changed position. In order to make that mountain grow, we need to be growing in the way Christ commands us… Going, teaching, and baptizing new disciples. Growing the church through evangelism.

Evangelism is a responsibility of every Christian united with Christ in baptism, not just the minister, elders and deacons. All disciples. It starts first in the church pews. Making disciples of those who are already in your church building, but aren’t getting the personal study they need. It starts at home with bringing family members to Christ. If you’re keeping all the commands of Christ, your friends likely know you’re a Christian, and they see something special in you. There’s an opportunity to make disciples in your circle of friends. If you’re reading this and you can list 1 or 2 (or more) people that you think you could evangelize to, I hope this encourages you to act on your impulse. Pray hard about the opportunity, that the truth will be shared, and the Gospel ultimately heard and obeyed.

If I can assist you in any way with this effort, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can always email me at derek@duckdisciple.com.
Why are millennials flocking away from churches? That’s a topic for another article. But it all ties into evangelism. Do you have a topic you’d like to read about, or hear my take on? Submit your suggestions in the comments below or email me at the address listed above.

– DD –

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Are you standing for Christian principles or politics?

Every four years debate becomes the most prolific thing going on in our country. I’m not even talking about the nationally-televised school-yard brawls we’ve seen this month. Today, with the ever-growing popularity of social media, debates and disagreements have taken on a whole new life.

Everybody today is a keyboard jockey, it seems. Setting up on their high-and-mighty digital soapbox ready to change the world one hashtag at a time. Social media gives too many the ability and opportunity to write things with the false sense of no consequences. I’m seeing too many of these types of things from those who are not Christians as well as with brethren around the country. It’s painting a very negative picture of the church and the Gospel message when we act and react in the ways I’ve seen.

Elephant in the ‘locker room’

In the last few days an audio clip was released of one presidential candidate making disparaging remarks about women. The comments were disgusting and vile, to say the least. To be completely fair and honest, the other candidate is not without faults either. Not by a long-shot. However, with the comments that were made — both in the leaked footage and before — I find it incredibly disheartening and confusing to see a number of brethren supporting said candidate, willing to readily excuse these things, while standing on their digital soapbox speaking out against the faults of the other candidate (or that candidate’s spouse). Forget Pride & Prejudice. This is Pride & Politics and it’s blinding too many. Politics are trumping our responsibility to achieve and maintain a righteousness greater than the Pharisees and scribes, which Jesus calls us to pursue.

Our Christian principles, our love of God and the love for our neighbor should come well before any political affiliation, vote, or pointless Facebook debate. If you feel compelled to excuse the comments that were made, without the one who made the comments truly seeking forgiveness and repenting, then are you putting your politics before your Christian principles? What does it do to the message of the Gospel you’re supposed to be sharing by abandoning your principles for an earthly election? Consider this from Jesus as documented in Mark’s Gospel account:

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:36-38 (ESV)

Ask yourself this… By sticking up for, supporting or excusing the sinful actions of any candidate in order to justify your vote for them, are you shaming the Son of Man? By excusing these things and standing by an unapologetic person are you not “becoming a partner” with them in their darkness? I’ve read these words from Paul to the church in Ephesus many times over the past few days, and I believe many need to do the same:

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” – Ephesians 5:3-12 (ESV)

When we publicly stand in support of someone who matches the description Paul lays out in Ephesians 5, we announce our allegiance to them; our partnership with them, if you will.

How we represent ourselves

Brother Wes McAdams (RadicallyChristian.com) wrote an article concerning these things as well, and his point was too good to not include. He points to this verse from the book of James:

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:17-18 (ESV)

When we take to social media (or in any other way) to voice support or displeasure politically, are we doing so with purity, peace and gentleness? Are we sincere? Are we open to reason? Meaning when someone offers a reasonable counter defense, are we willing to change our mind? Or are we being the opposite: hard-headed and stubborn?

Whether you want to believe this or not, both candidates are humans, made in God’s image, just like you and me. Both have the ability to be reconciled to God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I’ll leave you with this verse from Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free [democrat, republican, libertarian, conscientious objector, etc.]; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:8-11 (ESV) [contents added for my point]

Just because someone is running for office, is a politician, has a different opinion than you, etc. doesn’t give you the right to attack, speak with malice or malign someone. That’s not the light or the salt Jesus calls us to be. If you’re guilty of these things, then are you any better than the candidate who made disparaging remarks against women? Are you any better than the other candidate who made disparaging comments against those who support the competition?

Ultimately… Be a light in the world, standing for Christian principles, not a hypocrite lost in political polarity.

— DD —