Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Evangelism as a Priority

Today, I read a blog posted by Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, titled "Seven Reasons Why Evangelism Should Be a Priority in Your Church." While I find myself agreeing with much of what Dr. Rainer wrote, assuming that Dr. Rainer's "stats" deal with Southern Baptist Churches or at least includes Southern Baptist churches, allow me a few observations.

As a whole Southern Baptists have lost their focus on evangelism. While I am not looking longingly for the past to return, in the day when we were most effective in evangelism it was not just our priority, evangelism was our reason for existence. Evangelism was the lead organization of our Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board). Great State-wide Evangelism Conferences were conducted to equip and inspire our pastors and lay people to do the work of evangelism. Some would say that those meetings are no longer well attended and thus have scraped them. The lack of evangelistic zeal and emphasis in our churches cries out for the need of such events. Today, the stated emphasis of the NAMB allocates less than 25% of the annual NAMB budget to Evangelism and it is difficult to find a cohesive evangelistic emphasis that originates at NAMB.

Soul Winner Training, Weekly Visitation and Revivals still work to inspire and equip our people to the work of evangelism. When we remove these emphases describing them as outdated and ineffective we are simply ignoring not only Biblical mandate but real world experience. By setting aside the priority of evangelism we are in danger of being like the Australian who was given a new boomerang for Christmas and killed himself throwing the old one away.

We have mistakenly become more interested in church growth than evangelism. Evangelism must not be viewed as a church growth program but rather the response of an obedient spirit and a compassionate heart to God's Love and the reality of a burning hell. People all around us are lost and in desperate need of a Savior.

This is not "perhaps our greatest tragedy". It is absolutely our greatest tragedy. God help us to make evangelism not just A priority but THE priority of our churches and our lives as followers of Jesus.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...



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