Matthew 28:19a “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,…
A key responsibility for Christians is to evangelize the world. Unfortunately, our willingness to evangelize is limited primarily to group outreach or church programs instead of individual or relational contact. It seems probable that many Christians are somewhat fearful of expressing their faith. Either the opposition to Christianity comes across very aggressively or Christians are unprepared to present that which we say has changed our life.
In reading Matthew 28:19, the responsibility of sharing our faith is a command for believers. In fact, the goal is to not just to make converts, but “disciples of all the nations”. To be a disciple means to not only be converted, but to also attach oneself to a teacher and follow his/her conduct and way of life—this requires much more than telling your testimony to someone and dropping off a church track to someone. This process must become a continuing growth expression that helps one become a contributing member of the body of Christ and the local church.
At best, people are converted and then left alone to fend for themselves. This creates a challenge of retention for the local church and a lack of growth for the convert. When we make a person a disciple, we are teaching them to be disciplined to patterns of Christian faith.
The other problem many Christians have is the inability to present the “good news” of Jesus Christ. The responsibility to evangelize means to present the good news of Jesus Christ, or to present the core message of the Christian faith. The goal is to lead them to a growing and life changing relationship with Jesus Christ; tracks and testimonies do not effectively share the person of Jesus Christ. When I want to introduce you to a good friend, I will not hand you their biographical sketch. I will tell you about them personally highlighting their strengths and the advantages a friendship with them offers.
When we offer our testimony as a form of evangelism, we are putting the emphasis on us and not Jesus Christ. When you present your experience to people it tends to give the listener a sense of responsibility of recreating the same experience to find the same result.
Early on in my Christian walk, evangelism was telling people about hell. When someone is being recruited to a college or organization, the last thing you would expect to hear is the bad side of an organization or college. We would expect their strengths to be presented, the good news of the company or organization.
Today it’s time for the Church to re-energize its primary mission and get back to the heart of evangelism. At a time when the world is in confusion and discord, Jesus is the answer!
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. (NASB)