Our love for Jesus outweighs our love of self

Our love for Jesus outweighs our love of self

Our love for Jesus outweighs our love of self

In part one, I shared some challenges I’ve faced with my growth in personal evangelism. My primary question was ‘where to from here’? Those of us who call ourselves Christians have been given the responsibility and privilege to proclaim Christ. To proclaim Christ means to share the gospel with the Christian and the non-Christian, and we do that not only personally, but we do that together corporately as the church. So, here I’d like you to join me in asking, how is the church doing in the realm of evangelism? 

The local church is what Jesus came to build when he started his earthly ministry. Our role as Christians in the church is to be a unified body, each contributing in different ways and roles all for the glory of God. Yet we also all have been tasked with the role of gospel proclamation- to those within (Col 1:28), and those still outside the church (Col 4:4-5). At the risk of stating the obvious, God is the hero here. There isn’t a perfected system or method we follow that will win more souls for Christ. God is the one who has written the redemption story and it is under his sovereign plan how and when he draws people to himself. 

While it's God that ultimately draws people to himself, he uses our humble efforts. That is why evangelism is part of the mission and purpose of the church. We gather because we need God's word and each other in order to grow. The core of this growth is centered on understanding the gospel and sharing it with people. And as we grow, we grow in our eagerness to proclaim the gospel to those who have not yet heard it. Our churches are all in various places with how well they equip and encourage their members to evangelize. Similar to prayer and Bible study, we will never stop growing in evangelism. No matter what role we have in our church, we should grow in our efforts. But if you have a leadership role, know that the responsibility to prioritize growth in evangelism is even greater- and the result is exponential. Those you lead will be made aware of their need for growth and will eventually grow. Scattering seeds is the call (Mark 4:26) and scattering seeds requires speech. In order to be equipped to do this work we need leaders willing to train and we need more laborers willing to work hard. Good soil is all around us, fostering mutual encouragement as leaders and laborers strive to spread the gospel to more people.

As I grow in my own efforts at personal evangelism, I am thankful for the roles my church has played in that growth. My church faithfully preaches God’s word and the gospel week after week and it is the primary way I’ve been encouraged. They consistently offer training for leaders that is centered on the gospel. For young moms, there’s a clear pipeline of programs and people I can point women to if they want to join our church’s community. They have a rapidly growing college ministry and are actively sharing the gospel on campus, even inviting church members to join them! But while I have a strong confidence in my church’s corporate gathering, I’m often not sure when a newcomer or non-Christian comes in, where I can point them to. (Tony Payne’s How to Walk into Church helps us with this.)

Is there a spot at my church where the unsure person I’ve connected with can ask questions, feel comfortable, and not be thrown into a Sunday school class with heavy theology? My individual evangelism efforts can only go so far, so what structures are in place at my church for that new believer or person that still has questions about Jesus? There isn’t always a clear answer and perhaps you are thinking now about your own context. Whether you’re looking from the ground up as a church goer, or from the leadership down as the pastor, it’s important to consider. Even pastors can’t be involved in every single non-Christian’s experience on a Sunday morning, so how do we grow (in both effort and in numbers) in evangelism? In order to grow it’s important to know what to grow in so being aware of the holes in our church’s evangelistic efforts is a starting point. (There’s a new book about this called Growth and Change). 

The church is our community and we know we need it as Christians. The gospel is the driving engine and our love for Christ spurs us on to share that gospel. It shouldn’t be hard to share and it shouldn’t be lacking in our churches. The challenge still is: where to from here, church? What funnels and pipelines and trellises can we change or cultivate?

As I asked in part one, will you join me? Will you pray with me and be willing to grow your church in evangelism? Let’s pray for the Christians in our churches who have not yet realized they need to be proclaiming the gospel. Let’s also use what God has given us to work together as a team to bring people the good news of Jesus. 

Everyone can try harder and everyone needs growth in the area of evangelism. Not because we are required or ought to but because our love for Jesus outweighs our love of self which in turn means we are submitting to God as our sovereign ruler. His glory is worth it!

🗣️ If you want your church to grow in gospel work, block out your calendar for Oct 7th-9th and join us in Denver. It will be an interactive and practical three days where you will rub shoulders with like minded people also struggling in evangelism. You’ll hear from experienced leaders who have many miles (kilometers for our Aussie friends) in and have much insight to share. Commit yourself to grow in understanding where your church’s efforts could improve and Jesus’ name will be magnified. Join us at Evangelize 2024.

Lindsey Yeagley

Originally from the Cleveland area, Lindsey now lives in the Youngstown area with her husband Scott and their three children. She and her family are members at Old North Church. Her children as well as her wedding photography business fill up her time most days. She's a fan of strong coffee especially if it's enjoyed in the mornings on her front porch.
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