As a concerned Christian, I have always been in search of effective ways to share de gospel and stimulate church growth. In the last few years I have become perplexed at the wide variety of incredibly powerful means at our disposition to successfully fulfill “The Great Commission” and promote healthy growth in our churches. We are definitely living a bonanza of communication possibilities. This is definitely the time to have a message and spread it out. It should be the era of evangelism for all the churches. However, evangelism is more that means and methods. Church growth involves much more than colorful pamphlets, impressively dynamic Web Pages, or HD YouTube clips. I would like to discuss in this article tow basic conditions necessary for effective evangelism.
First of all we need to be concerned about the needs of the unchurched people as they feel them, and we need to be aware of their particular preferences and styles of communication. This simply means that we need to learn from our Lord Jesus Christ to respect and love people, even those who do not belong to our Christian communities. Genuine love for others is the basis of successful evangelism. Loving others means appreciating their uniqueness, becoming interested in their opinions, finding ways to reach out to them no matter how far they are from us socially, culturally or even morally. Loving others involves listening to them when they talk about their problems, their sorrows, their needs, their dreams, or their lives. Before designing any form of advertisement, we need to ask ourselves if we really care for the people we want to reach. Are we ready to become their neighbors despite the fact that they are who they are, or do we want them to become like us before we extend to them our brotherly love? Do we genuinely love them or are we too impressed with ourselves to the point that all we want is to feel good about ourselves as we try to teach them our ways? Realizing that we are here to extend God’s love, patience and kindness to those who are far from him is the first step towards church growth. But love and kindness are not enough.
The church needs to have clear evangelistic objectives and we need to realize that people respond differently to the gospel proposal. What do we want? Do we want to maintain our programs and structures, or do we want to bring souls to Christ? Do we want our numbers to reflect the popularity of our church, or the people who are being saved by the blood of Jesus? Do we want people to become disciples of Christ and followers of the path set by the apostles, or do we just want personal friends to support our particular religious preferences? We need to make important decisions and have serious commitments regarding these questions in order to be successful in our evangelistic efforts. Additionally, along these lines, we need to realize that Jesus is not for every body. There are large segments of our population which are not ready to even take the basic steps to follow Jesus. There are however many people whose hearts are open to the plea of our Savior. Being an evangelistic church involves identifying those people and purposefully reaching out to them. Who are those people, where are they and how can we reach them? These questions must be answered. Let us plant the seed every where we are, but let us focus our efforts on the most fruitful ground!