5 Reasons We Need to Rebrand Evangelism – Part 2

In a January 13, 2012 article posted on christianpost.com, guest columnist Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share Ministries listed 5 reasons why the practice of evangelism needs to be “rebranded.”  He stated:

Too often, too many of us have negative views of the word evangelism. Sadly, the 2,000 year old practice of evangelism has 2,000 years worth of baggage that comes with it (i.e. the inquisition, burning heretics at the stake, Jim Jones, etc.)

He continues:

Jesus himself modeled the right brand of evangelism which was equal parts awkward and awesome, drenched both in love and boldness. He commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone. The baton of that responsibility has been passed from generation of believers to generation of believers and it is now firmly in our hands. It’s our turn to run with it. But as we do we should do it with an eye toward changing people’s perspective of evangelism from manipulative and obnoxious to patient, powerful and persuasive.

He then goes through 5 reasons why he believes evangelism needs to be rebranded.

This is the second of a 5-part series where I will examine and evaluate each of the five reasons listed.

2. It has been typecast for “the professionals.”

Too often we think of Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Luis Palau and other evangelists as the most qualified Christians to do the work of evangelism. But the rebranding of evangelism begins when it moves from the professionals to the people. When the gospel begins to spread like a contagion is, not just when another evangelistic festival comes to town, but when the everyday Joes and Jolenes take the good news to their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and classmates.

To rebrand evangelism we must put the work squarely in the hands of “the average Christian.” In the words of Jim Groen, “The first reformation took place when the word of God got into the hands of the common people. The second reformation will take place when the work of God gets into the hands of the common people.”

Many Christians think it is the pastor’s job to evangelize and get the church to grow.  Their job is to sit in the pew and listen to the pastor.  The problem is, pastors are usually forced to spend most of their time interacting with church members. The people who have daily contact with non-Christians are the people of the church.

People are linked to networks of other people. We go to work and network with other people. We are a part of a family network. We socialize with friends and acquaintances, linking us into more networks. The people of the church have access to networks that their pastors can never reach. They can have conversations with people within their networks easily, because a relationship exists. Imagine how long it would take a pastor to establish the level of trust that the people of the church currently have in their various networks.

With many non-Christians, as soon as they find out that an acquaintance is the pastor of a church, a red flag goes up.  They immediately become guarded and wary.  They expect a pastor to attempt to evangelize them.  Non-pastors do not face the same level of defensive barriers that pastors face.

Who can have the greater impact for Christ:  One pastor with limited daily opportunities to interact with non-Christian contacts, or one hundred church members, each with numerous non-Christian contacts with whom they interact every day?  I think the answer is obvious.

Billy Graham

What about the fact that many Christians, if not most, feel unequipped to share the Gospel?  This is where the pastor comes into the picture.  Rather than expecting the pastor to do all the evangelizing, we should expect our pastors and other church leaders to teach us to share the Gospel.  Good church leadership includes not only shepherding the flock, but equipping the church to impact the world with the Gospel of Christ.

When asked how they came to know Jesus Christ as Savior, the  vast majority of Christians will tell you they heard the gospel of Christ and were introduced to the church through the efforts of Christian friends and relatives. Since very few of us actively share our faith, this is astounding.  Imagine how many people might come to Christ if ALL of us shared our faith regularly with our families and acquaintances!

Less than one percent of Christians come to faith in Christ through the preaching of a professional evangelist, and less than 1 in 10 are saved through a pastor.  If we truly want to reach the world for Christ, we cannot rely solely on those who are called to full-time ministry.  The rest of us need to get out of the pews, and share our stories with those around us.

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