If we were to take a random poll on how much time church planters dedicate to personal evangelism each week, how do you think they would respond? Would it be one hour a week? A half hour a week? Ten minutes a week? Or less? If we were to ask you that question, and you were to honestly respond, how would you answer? We all know evangelism is important work. In fact, it is one of the primary ways Jesus has called us to worship him until the day of his return. Before the ascension, Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism is the outer response of an inward change, and that change can only happen if a sinner hears and believes the good news of the gospel. As Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Yes, we all know evangelism is an essential part of living out our faith, but even as church planters and missional leaders, we fail to share the gospel as we should. Why do we struggle? Maybe fear, unbelief, besetting sin, or our own issues with acceptance? Whatever your struggle is, know you are not alone. There is not a church planter in the world that has mastered the art of evangelism, minus Jesus. As leaders we must recognize and repent of our own struggles to obey Jesus as we seek to plant faithful churches replete with Christians who live to spread the message of Jesus with others!
Doing the work of evangelism is hard work, but without this work it is impossible to fulfill our calling. As Paul says to Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:5, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” In 2017, the focus of Plant Midwest will be “Doing the Work.” We will be taking an in-depth look at doing evangelism in a post-Christian culture. Our four quarterlies this year will cover topics like our call to evangelism, the Holy Spirit’s work in evangelism, personal evangelism and how to preach more evangelistically in your weekly gathering. Whether you are a pastor, planter or missionary leader, we believe God will use this focus to grow your heart for sharing your faith. We look forward to seeing you at Plant Midwest in 2017!