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What’s More Important To Jesus? Filling Our Churches With Fresh Converts, Or the Evangelisation Of The World?

9 September 2014 No Comment

Recently, I had an interesting and healthy conversation with a pastor which I want to share with you.

This is important. Really important. Actually, of supreme importance.

two men

He was explaining how his church had new people come along as a result of better advertising,  better preaching, better worship, a new building, and community outreach initiatives (social action).

Some of the people who came (he said) were non-Christians, some were from other churches.

“So”, he said (smiling), “we are doing really well with evangelism.”

Naturally, I quizzed him about what he said.  I asked him what he understood by the word ‘evangelism’.

It turned out he didn’t know what the word meant. He thought that any contact a Christian had with a non-Christian which brought them a little closer to God constituted ‘evangelism.’

I explained that by ‘evangelise the world’ I meant that everyone on the earth hears (or reads) and understands the gospel, delivered with love and grace, at least once.

I explained that a church could grow without any evangelism going on whatsoever.

For example, through marketing, transfer growth, biological growth, or simply by employing the strategies that any secular club or association uses to attract new members  e.g. being friendly and kind, being nice, being generous, inviting them to the club etc

I also put forward the Truth that the mission of the church (‘mission’ being another word for ‘the ultimate goal’) was to evangelise the world, not to fill our churches with new people.

My pastor friend looked a bit shocked.  He’d never heard this Truth before.

The-Ultimate-Goal-of-a-LeaderAnd the ultimate goal of a church leader (I went on) is to lead his or her people into achieving the ultimate goal of Jesus.

That is to say, a church leader’s ultimate goal should be in sync with Jesus’ ultimate goal.

Sure, (I said) we’d desire that our churches would be filled with new people AS A RESULT of evangelising the world but if we evangelised the world and not one soul was saved, we’d still have achieved Jesus’ ultimate goal - the evangelisation of the world.

On the other hand (I explained) if we filled our churches with new people, and the world had not been evangelised, we will have failed to achieve Jesus’ ultimate goal.

In the end our discussion came down to this – is the mission of the Church to fill our churches with new people, or it is to evangelise the world for the glory of God, leaving “the results” to Him?

Clearly, it’s the latter.  I believe this because this is what trusted, proven scholars say the Bible teaches.

Why do they teach this?

Well, because as Christians, the ultimate reason for our existence is to glorify Jesus, and proclaiming or spreading the gospel is the best way to do this. To read why this is so, click here

If all Christians did some evangelism as they went about their day, the whole earth would be filled with the glory of the Lord (Habakkuk 2:14)A-Dream-Come-True-Posters

To God, this is a dream come true. This is His ultimate goal.

To God, this is more important than filling our churches with fresh converts.

Please think this through – God could save the whole world instantly if He wanted to, true?

So why doesn’t He?

Something else is more important to Him.

What he wants to see more than the salvation of the whole world is the obedience of His people to His commands (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; John 14:21; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 12:50 etc). In particular, the priority of His commands.

1 Samuel 15:22 says this:   But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

So my question is this – have many churches become like the tennis club or the rugby club down the road?  Just working out how to get new members, no matter what it takes to get them? And in doing so, have they been by-passing evangelism? And the mobilisation of all their people for the same?

If so, then to Jesus the efforts of these churches are (according to 1 Samuel 15:22) just “sacrifices and the fat of rams”. “Sacrifices and the fat of rams” is doing Christian “stuff” but at the expense of Jesus’ ultimate goal.   It’s letting the important distract us from the crucial.

obedience is better than sacrifice

What’s most precious to God, as I have said, more than anything else, is obedience to His ultimate goal, which is the evangelisation of the world.  It’s at the top of His “must do” list.

Allow me to put it another way.

If we are frenetically busy with other commands (e.g. social action, worship, praying, being loving people, bible study, listening to great sermons, participating in riveting small group studies etc), at the expense of His ultimate goal, we are guilty of offering to God “sacrifices and the fat of rams”.

But if we are frenetically busy with these other commands, AND at the same time making a priority of the evangelisation of the world, keeping this always at the very forefront, and mobilising everyone in our church to participate, tFrom Point A to Point Bhis is the Biblical ideal.

This, my friends, is what every church ought to be aiming for.

This is, in God’s sight, and Biblically, the perfect Church plan.

So, I have 2 questions for you:

Is your church seriously attempting to mobilise all its people to evangelise the world, for the glory of Jesus?

Or is its focus “sacrifices and the fat of rams”?  That is to say, is your church frenetically busy, but missing the mark with respect to Jesus’ priority? His ultimate goal?

Because, in the  final analysis, when all is said and done, obedience is better than sacrifice.

Now there is something to think about….


Please pass this blog onto your elders and church leaders…as a matter of fact, to everyone on your address book.  Thanks

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