I love anything to do with history—especially with war. There is something about learning about the past that has always caught my attention. Documentaries, television shows, movies, books, all draw my attention. I especially love reading and watching history that tells a story. For example, we have all seen the movie, or read the book, or heard the story of the soldier trapped behind enemy lines. They have intel that is vital to their mission, so another mission is set in motion to rescue the trapped soldier. The mission of the church is very much the same kind of story. We are not trapped (though some of us might feel that way at times) in this world but born. Christians have been given a message and attached to that message is a mission. The mission is clear and simple—it is to take that message to every person in every nation. Doing this is what many of us call evangelism.
Part 4: The Evangelistic Church
The Church of the Lord Jesus has been given a mission—an evangelistic mission. We are to take what we have been told and believed in and persuade others to do the same. Mack Stiles in his book on Evangelism, says evangelism is “Teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” I love that definition because it is simple but precise. When we go out we tell people about Jesus. When we tell people we teach them, the truths of the gospel and persuade them to trust in Christ for salvation. The true church of Jesus is not set of selfish reasons but on selfless desires to see others come to the knowledge of the truth.
I think about the first time I thought about the Church’s mission as evangelistic. I was young, and it was during the time God was preparing me for ministry. It was the first time I really read the great commission.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.— Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)
It was clear and simple just like Mack Stile’s definition of evangelism. We are called to go. We are called to make disciples. We are to work hard and not give up. Our walk through the Gospel of Mark on Sunday mornings has taught us this principle through the example of Christ. He goes and teaches, and he heals. When the crowds amass and the day grows short, he stays and he teaches and he heals.
An evangelistic church is a church that hears the Master’s call. It is a church that is set on a mission to rescue the captives from the prisons of sin across our state, nation, and world. We are called to go and make disciples—crystal clear from where I sit and from what I read. So let us be encouraged in our mission here in Enid. The missions we love to watch and read about are often fought on foreign battlefields. God’s people are called to fight in places that are not our homes, and to rescue people and safely deliver them to God’s grace and Kingdom. That is what an evangelistic church does.
I pray that we would rally around these truths and God would use us to reach our community for Christ and the Kingdom of God.