Did you know that evangelism isn’t about introducing Jesus to people who don’t know him?
Well, not entirely. Obviously the goal of telling all nations is to make disciples. We want others to hear that they are sinners, but Jesus loves them anyway. This is a good thing!
It’s not the only benefit of evangelism.
Last week, a group of five adults and four teens canvassed about two hundred homes in about an hour. We shared invitations to our September 11th Memorial Service. We invited many people to come to our church on that day, where they will surely remember what happened on that horrific day – and they will also hear Jesus.
This was a great way to reach into our community. It was a great way to offer a chance to meet Jesus. It was also a great way to encourage and grow in our own congregation.
I was one of those five adults. The other four had never done anything like this before. Now, granted, we didn’t explain the message of salvation even once. That wasn’t the point of this outing. However, just getting into the neighborhood and passing out invitations was a huge step and something that they hadn’t done before.
The teens that came with had never experienced anything quite like it. The teen I walked with was nervous, but by the end we both laughed together and enjoyed the experience.
We walked in teams of one teen and one adult (one unlucky teen dealt with two adults instead of just one). They got to bond together in the way that only working together brings people to be friends. These teens and these adults had never worked together in this way before.
When we returned to church after about an hour of walking, two more adults from the congregation prepared root beer floats. We all sat and talked and enjoyed each others’ company.
This one hour of walking may bring no one into the church on September 11th. I don’t know; I’m happy it’s not in my hands. That hour may have accomplished little to nothing for outreach. I may never know!
But I do know that it achieved quite a bit for our congregation. Men and women served in a way they had never considered serving before. In fact, I’ll be heading out again this week because some enjoyed it so much they want to do it again. What an opportunity to encourage believers to grow in their ability and talents! We bonded in relationships that had not existed previous to that day. We found joy in serving God.
In an odd way, evangelism is just as important for inreach as it is for outreach. I guess I never expected it before planning this event. I’m looking forward to seeing how God continues to grow his church – not only numerically, but also internally.