We’re back! Having spent the weekend in beautiful Atlantic Beach, NC I have returned to the blogosphere a nice shade of cooked lobster red! It is rare to have a weekend away for our family and we enjoyed every minute of it.
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of deacons at their annual church retreat. (This was the only way we could get away to the beach.) My subject was “Deacons are Called to be Beacons.” In my message, I looked at the example of Stephen from Acts 6 & 7 pointing out that even though he had a rather short ministry Stephen had a powerful evangelistic witness.
As I was waiting for my wife to return to the hotel to pick me up, a few of the deacons and I were discussing the need to get out of the church and into the world. One of the older deacons understood that churches tend to do evangelism backwards. “We build big buildings and expect people to come to us when we should be going to them,” he said.
Another deacon, who came into the conversation late, said, “We have just got to get people into the church so that they can be taught about Jesus and eventually accept Him.”
Two different philosophies; one is biblical.
Jesus never said, “Invite them to church therefore and make disciples of all nations…” He said, “Go.” In fact, he really said, “As you go.”
Jesus set the example. Out of 132 contacts that Jesus had with people recorded in the New Testament, 6 were in the temple, 4 were in the synagogue, and 122 were out in the mainstream of life. (Adapted from Why Christians Sin, by J.K Johnson, Discovery House, 1992)
Churches are great places for discipleship and community, but not the best place for evangelism. If only everyone thought like that older deacon.