It is surprising to me how many believers go through their Christian life with little or no concern for reaching people with the gospel. In a former church I remember one member, a leader in the church, commented that he really did not have a burden for the lost. He admitted that he had never thought of evangelism as an important aspect of his Christian faith. I am thankful that he was candidly honest about where he was. Unfortunately, this man is not an anomaly. His viewpoint is far too common and in many churches is the norm. Multiply that perspective by 100 church members and you have a partial answer for why a church is not effectively reaching their community for Christ.
For a church to fulfill the Great Commission, it will require first that its members share the heart of Jesus for the lost he came to save. We must share the heart of Jesus who wept for Jerusalem (Luke 18:41). We must follow the model of Paul whose heart was for the salvation of his fellow Jews (Rom 9:1-3; 10:1). We must be compelled by the love of Christ for a lost world and take on the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:14, 18).
If we are not careful, evangelism will be merely something we talk about and list among other Christian duties but never actually do. Until evangelism ceases to be a Christian virtue that we have not yet achieved and becomes the driving passion of our church and personal ministry, we will never fulfill the purpose God has set for us. To become an on-mission church, we must have a passion for the Great Commission – reaching persons with the gospel of Jesus Christ and leading them to a life of obedience to his commands. Jesus died for our sins to bring us to God (1 Pet 3:18). The gospel is the grand theme of Scripture. It should be our theme as well.
Passion for on-mission Christianity comes from the Lord. Neither you nor I can create such a passion in our churches, only God can. For that reason, the primary “methods” for creating this passion in our lives are prayer and the Word.
Let me challenge you: in your personal devotion, pray and ask God to create this passion in you and in the lives of every member of your church. At the same time, be intentional in praying for the lost, praying for missions, praying for unreached peoples, praying that God would give us a burden for evangelism, and praying that God would raise up more laborers in His harvest.
Pray and ask God to give YOU a burden for the lost and for his gospel. Pray and ask God for opportunities to evangelize. Pray specifically for lost individuals. Set aside time to tell people about Jesus. Rejoice when people come to faith in Christ. Expect God to use us!
My prayer is that our denomination will have a contagious passion for the gospel that saturates everything we do. God wants to use us for His Kingdom!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:18-21 NIV