Teach me Lord to worship you as they do in Heaven. I want to cast whatever achievement I have at your feet as the elders in Heaven do. I want to revel in every revelation of You. Amen.
I’m about evangelism today.
I was with my boys one day at a young man’s shop to refill our cooking gas cylinder. We waited as he filled our cylinder and I got to discussing Nigeria’s political situation with the boys. You see, I like to discuss politics as a Christian. I’m not one of those passive Christians who believe that politics is no-go area. Those guys might as well go on without clothes and technology and stuff. Plain ignorance is what will make a person decide politics is worldly.
A look into Bible history will reveal God’s interest in politics and governance. If God is interested in politics, who the Gehenna am I not to be? But then that’s a story for another day.
Back to the matter.
So we sat there discussing PDP and APC and Buhari and Jonathan and this guy kept on filling our cylinder. I honestly didn’t expect him to pay any attention to the conversation but he did pay attention.
To my dismay, after he filled our cylinder, he turned to us and asked if we knew there would be a government that would be free from corruption. I assumed this was because my boys and I concluded that getting rid of corruption would be a major problem, so I was interested in discovering his candidate – Daniel Akinlami? Remi Sonaiya? I was gearing up for a nice debate.
When this man opened his mouth again, I couldn’t cry. It was annoying really. He proceeded to preach at me and continued quoting scripture to me about Christ and judgment and the world and how Christ would be free from corruption and so on and on. Essentially, he wanted me to come to Christ!
I was sad and annoyed at the same time and I don’t know how God helped me maintain my cool enough to accept the magazine from him and leave quietly with my boys. I thought I was sad till I saw my boys. They were livid!
Sad that the man became so detached from the world that he waved away all of politics entirely. Surprisingly, he sells gas for a living and the political terrain would determine how his business will continue. Then he had practically attacked me without knowing me. His evangelism had brought me no closer to Jesus. Rather it made me angry! And as a result I never went back there again.
Our evangelism is the way we tell people about our faith and why hey should also accept it. It is a campaign for Jesus, to let people know what Jesus Christ represents. Hence, Paul describes us as ambassadors of Christ. We represent the interests of Jesus.
However, evangelism has suffered a lot because there are no Evangelists. I mean there are people who say they are evangelists and that they are evangelising and spreading the Word. They go from home to home and invade people’s privacies with talk of Jesus. They harass everyone and anyone with words that could have saved Osama some bombs and people in bringing down the World Trade Center towers. Their holier-than-thou attitude is annoying and ends up driving people from Jesus. I’m sure at one time or the other we’ve known someone or two who behaved just like that.
If I could feel so bad because someone purported to evangelise me, how much more an unbeliever?
I don’t want to dwell so much on that matter. I believe you get my point. However, we need to know how our evangelism has gone down to that level and how we can get out of it. God willing, a change will come and is now here.
Evangelism is not child’s play. It is not just something you send anybody for. Of course the church is called to win souls bit one must understand that winning souls is not in door-to-door ministrations alone or in preaching down everybody who doesn’t come to your church or your kind of church. Believe me, there are people who purposely preach at people who are Christians just because they are of a denomination they do not like.
Evangelism is a ministry calling. It is a gift from Christ to the church! Let’s see Ephesians 4:11-13;
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ KJV
Evangelists are alongside pastors and apostles and teachers. And they have the same purposes as these other ministry gifts and callings. The point to note is that while we can function in any of these callings at any time the Holy Ghost allows, they are still sort of specialised functions that require special anointing. And our churches have unfortunately lost that understanding.
Today, evangelists do not bring people to Christ. Their mandate from some church administration is to bring people to church. To fill pews. To give more offering. And finally to leave. Then the cycle is repeated. That’s the extent of evangelism for these churches.
Yes, they’ll leave. Because unfortunately mamy churches are no longer for sinners but for saints. When these people come to church, they don’t see love or compassion like Jesus showed us. In stead they see a lofty attitude that already makes them feel left out before the man of God comes to shout down every form of sin and vice. Notice that they bring down but never lift up. They talk about the sinner and then the sin, but never about how the sinner can get out of it. So why won’t they leave?
Love is lacking in our evangelism too. No compassion. Many evangelists are like hank marketers who have a number of people to bring in. So they set out in their work like robots who want to please their master but have no real interest in the job. Oh God, what a disaster. Again let us see scripture and observe Jesus. Our Lord is compassionate and you can say that again. Reading through scripture (for example Mark 5:19; Matthew 14:14; Matt 20:34) reveals the compassionate nature of Lord. Compassion is not to pity people. It is to understand a person’s situation and love him enough to desire greatly to do all within your power and strength to rescue that person. Compassion is not a passive and cursory pity for people. It is the consummation of a love that goes beyond wanting to do to actually doing. That’s what compassion is, and many do not have it.
Look at Jesus. Matthew 9:36 –
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd (KJV)
That verse gets to me every time. If you read further, you will know that He asked that we pray for people who will labour for these sheep without shepherd and bring them to Him, The Shepherd. It was a call to action. In the Mark version of that story, Jesus actually starts teaching them many things. Check out Mark 6:34. He doesn’t go in and say “hey, you guys don’t have shepherd. Y’all ought to get a shepherd. Y’all just very blind and without guidance”, and then leave, satisfied. No. He starts teaching them. With love.
That’s why some teachers are good and others are bad. But the exceptional ones don’t just love the job; they love their students. And that’s principal.
Evangelism is not a child’s play. It is a serious business of love and should be handled as such.
Father, help me to love like Jesus. Help me to reach to unbelievers with love. Help the churches to fully understand the love you have for all humans and see through your loving eyes. Strengthen our churches to present a united stand in love. Let out first priority in evangelism be love for every one.
Thank you Father. In Jesus’ Name. Amen