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Pastors From Around The World Postulate Why Only 2% Of The Church Engages In Evangelism (Part 3)

17 July 2013 9 Comments

Hi,

I signed up to a web site called “Linkedin”.linkedin

Here, pastors from all over the world discuss “issues” to do with Church life.

I posted a question on this site, inviting pastors to comment/ give their opinion.

The question was this. “ONLY 2% OF THE CHURCH IN THE WEST ENGAGES IN BIBLICAL EVANGELISM. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THIS SHAMEFUL STATISTIC?”

In the next few blogs, I am going to give you the answers they gave.

They make interesting reading!

John Swain, a volunteer Worker at Bethany Community Church Harpenden, Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom wrote:

1) An emphasis on making converts rather than disciples has led to the types of comment Chris rightly expressed earlier in this thread. It’s easier to make converts.

We tell them of the consequences of sin, show them their need of a saviour, point them to Jesus, get them to pray a prayer and voila they are a Christian.

Safe, secure and going to heaven when they die. They become member of a church where there is good emotional worship, encouraging, affirming preaching.

There are lots of loving people around so if things get tough there are folks to support them and life is peachy.

It takes time and effort to make disciples, and not so many people are up for that as it doesn’t sound quite so inviting as just becoming a Christian. I

t’s scary, edgy, risky, threatening. I might get mocked as being a fanatic, it might cost me, I might get in trouble for standing by my beliefs. I might get suspended from my job for taking a stand.

Well if they did it to Jesus, you can bet they will do it to those who follow his disciplines 


2) We now have the professionals whose job it is to do all this evangelism stuff, after all that’s what we pay them for.

We aren’t capable of doing all this teaching, preaching and evangelism.

They have been to seminary for it, they are the trained professionals, we are just the laity.

We sit in the pews week after week and receive the seed of the word.

Trouble is we are up to our necks in seed and we can’t move any more.

I believe that if the church truly fulfilled it’s commission to make disciples there would be no need for seminaries. The local church should be be seminary for each and everyone of it’s members.

3) Generally speaking, there is no power in the gospel message preached today.

If Jesus needed the miraculous to validate his authenticity, then why should we be any different?

When John the Baptist’s messengers came to Jesus and asked if he was the one, his reply was the blind see the deaf hear and the dead are raised.

If people are spiritually dead until they are born again, then they only have their natural senses to judge things by. Preaching that God heals needs to be authenticated by people being healed.

We need to walk the walk not just talk the talk. A friend who was witnessing to a Muslim told him that he needed to repent and believe Jesus.

The Muslim asked who said he needed t to do that, my friend said that God did in is word the Bible.

The Muslim’s response was why should I believe your religious book any more than mine? We need to authenticate the truth of God’s word by demonstrating that God’s word is true. God did not give the gifts of the Spirit for our own use and pleasure, to make us feel spiritually good.

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of the promised inheritance. If we start healing the sick, commanding blind eyes to be opened, deaf ears to hear, the lame to walk, etc we won’t need to organize evangelistic events as these demonstrations of the power of God will have people flocking to you.

You can then preach the gospel in all its raw reality, demonstrate the power of God Almighty and see people born again into the kingdom of God and become His disciples, just as he commissioned us to do.

These are just a few thought from someone who is on a journey with all this.”

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  • Alan Woods says:

    Very interesting responses. John Swain raises the legitimate point that discipleship is a real issue. I have observed however that when a new believer is saved by God and filled with his Spirit the new believer has a real heart desire to be discipled. If conversly the new believer has to be encouraged to seek discipleship then I for one am dubious of who actually saved the new one (a self appointed salvation). The new position of acceptance in a church is comfortable and full of benefits but real commitment is missing. How controversial should we be in observing this?

    As for the miraculous, I wholeheartedly agree that signs and wonders should follow those who believe and have found miraculous healing a powerful overcomer of those possessing the other religion impediment, and the wavering.
    People are hungry for the authentic miraculous, we can demonstate it.

  • Bruce McIntyre says:

    HALLELUJAH, AT LAST THERE ARE SOME WHO ARE ON THE SAME MIND. Role over the proffesional evangelist, the real witnesses for Christ are moving in. THEY WILL TAKE UP THIER CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS, THEY WILL POUR OUT THIER BLOOD AS AN OFFERING FOR THE SAKE OF THE LOST, THEY WILL COME FROM THE CHURCHES IN EVERY COUNTRY, CITY AND TOWN AND PROCLAIM THE TRUTH BOTH IN WORD AND IN DEED, THEY WILL PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE AND THIER REWARD WILL BE A PLACE AT THE FOOT OF THE THRONE OF OUR GOD AND KING.
    Great stuff John Swain, you are welcome in New Zealand anytime.

  • Rev John says:

    while we hear the cry to disciple people and discipleship is very important – that’s why I use the “Omega” material – it is also used as an excuse not to evangelize. We don’t do evangelism because we have no one who will disciple them, or we don’t have any good discipleship material. I am convinced that discipleship is not the real issue. I agree that the final product of discipleship has to be a gospel sharing Christian – no doubt about that. However people don’t evangelize because they are not taught to evangelize.
    I took a new convert out for a day in Queenstown, she had been a Christian for 7 months, a very bright German girl who came to the Lord through Chuck Misslers material. We knocked on 2 doors and she listened and watched while took a couple of people through the survey and on to the gospel. Then she said “ok John you can go home now, I’ve got it, I can do that, see you later go home”. So she did the next 20 houses with tact and style and an amazing amount of straight up interaction and I thought. Man alive I only have to launch the evangelists and they just sail away from me.
    Its about teaching and showing – You know Jesus style. I have always had more than sufficient disciple makers to do the teaching and cleaning up of the fish, its the knowledge of how the sow the seeds, how to catch the fish, how to net them, that is so very lacking

  • julian says:

    Hi Alan, about the miraculous and it’s connection to evangelism. I would love to see signs and wonders every time the gospel is preached. However, as you know, it’s extremely difficult to mobilise and motivate the church to evangelise, let alone add signs and wonders! Is the former is daunting for the majority, the latter is out of this world, and makes evangelism seem utterly impossible, so they simply don’t even start.

  • julian says:

    John Cromarty…well said. This is surely the key. Teaching new disciples how to evangelise from the very start so that new believers get to see that evangelism is elementary to being a disciple, part of the normal Christian life. Sadly, in much of the church culture today, evangelism is not even on the radar. New Christians soon see this, and so they quickly take on the ‘non – evangelistic’ culture of the church they enter.

  • phil Giles says:

    Jesus said, An evil and adulterous generation is always looking for signs. and there shall no sign be given but the sign of Jonah the prophet. What was he getting at? and what was wrong with people asking for visible manifestations of the Kingdom of God? after all, didn’t Jesus perform organic healings of new physical members and raising dead men to life? So what’s the problem? Simply that people of his day, as people the same today, are believing the lie that if only an unbelieving world can see living proof of tangible miracles, they will immediately fall on their faces and worship Jesus. Jesus knew this was why so many false brethren were following him, and were uninterested in discipleship, or preaching the kingdom of God for that matter. However so many churches fail to realise that the only real power and the only true authority that commands light to shine into darkness, and turns sinners from Satan unto God is the sign of Jonah; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as Lord. And that’s why the modern church wishes to be smarter than using Gods ordained means by which he can add to his flock such as should be saved. Hence the reason we don’t need to witness anymore. We just need more modern, popular, entertaining stunts to fill our dying churches. I challenge people of this persuasion to find a sermon of C.H.SPURGEON, any sermon of his will do, and just appreciate his exalting of Christ as prophet, priest, and King. Feel his appeal to the sinners heart to flee from the wrath to come!! No wonder there was hardly an empty seat in that huge congregation over 40 years. Did signs follow? Of course they did praise Jesus. But that was never his focus of responsibility. He saw a steady stream of converts.
    Now this doesn’t change the fact that God Sovereignly heals whom, how and where he will. However, physical healings are never to be sought after at the expense of preaching the only power that produces faith in those who hear the true Gospel applied by the Holy Spirit. What’s my beef? We have in our modern times of serious self-preservation, focussed so much on this physical realm and our own felt needs, we have unconsciously sold ourselves short of spending our time and strength on warning and rescuing eternal souls from the eternal fire. Spiritual healing must be always our first priority, for it of course is eternal, not temporal. But we need both, someone says. I reason by saying, the evangelism is our business. The healing is God’s. We have tried to twist God’s arm to respond to our commands for such signs that we are today as guilty as those Jesus warned. And so the instant gratification church circus carries on and no one seems to bother any more that our talk of power is really in effect the total opposite. Less emphasis on physical healing and much, much more on the soul.

    Philip Giles

  • Julian Batchelor says:

    Hi Phil,
    Oh, how refreshing to get this perspective and how right on you are. You pretty much summarised the conclusions of the Lausanne Conference on Evangelism in 1974 when it discussed the place of signs and wonders and miracles in relation to evangelism. You can read their conclusions by going to http://esisite.com/wp-content/uploads/images/2013/07/30-Chapter-15-Leaders-part-2.pdf and scrolling through to Device 47. This link is a chapter of my book (the new revised and updated second edition of my book) which is available free to you. Phil, you are a huge encouragement. Thank you for the wisdom in your post above.

  • alan woods says:

    Julian, we have been talking about signs and wonders and their relationship to evangelism. You wrote to me asking questions, namely:

    Hi Alan, why is that signs and wonders are not seen in Western countries like they are in India? Why aren’t we going into our hospitals and praying for the sick, and seeing them healed and walking out of hospital, as is the case in India?

    The following is how I would answer.

    Julian    Q1, why?  Well I believe that we have cultural restraints limiting us a little here. In India and Asia and Africa for that matter, in fact almost everywhere except Europe, people are happy to receive a spiritual blessing, they acknowledge the existence of a spiritual power, even if of unknown identity.
    In Aus and the West, and to a certain extent the US we have an ideology competing against that and reinforcing the view is the fact that if God heals me then I can no longer deny his existence and that means I have to submit to him and the rebel is confronted before anything begins.  The second issue is, “Matt. 13:58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.  Mark 6:6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.  And he went about among the villages teaching.  
    This even extends to believers Mark 16:14  Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 

    This for me is my experience in trying to visit hospitals, trying to find a doctor who will allow you to practice is very hard.
    As for praying for the sick, well controversially I don’t do that. Jesus gave me authority to heal the sick so I exercise my authority and command sickness to go and you know the rest. I think the church needs to rethink the bible on sickness.  There are about 97 verses where healing is instructed or it occurs, and the following three are  about the only verses calling for prayer Acts 28:8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. and James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,  anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 
    James 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And  if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 
    the rest “heal” even as in Acts 28:8 he healed with laying on of hands. I have been doing this all my Christian life because that is how I was taught, I don’t know how to “pray” for the sick because according to Isaiah as quoted by Peter, he has healed us already  so sounds a bit pedantic but that’s how I do it.  Interesting that it is the prayer of faith that heals.
    I find this useful when proclaiming one on one too, in the course of things I often find out the person needs healing but “don’t pray for me ” is quite a common response.  If you can say no, I won’t pray but “I will heal you” bewilderment replaces scepticism, as I say it has continued to work for me. 

    On Saturday at Jubilee church at Waverley Katherine Ruanala held a sort of healing evangelism seminar.  When it finished someone had a bad trip, hurt the ankle and was unable to walk. “Prayer” followed and healing occurred. She then instructed everyone to come to the bus stop and proclaimed loudly, look everyone, this person has just received a miracle healing and with that intro she had a lovely door open.

    Does this invite more discussion?

  • Julian Batchelor says:

    Does this invite more discussion? I certainly hope so! I will blog it if it doesn’t. Thanks a million for taking the time to write Al.

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