Saturday, September 8, 2007

Power Failure

Recently, I received a well meaning, but sad e-mail from a missionary couple with a particular organization which dismissed proclaimation evangelism and advocated a long term approach to preparing people before presenting the gospel. Their concerns stemmed from the difficulty of following up on people who made decisions during the harvest event. Furthermore, they claimed that mass evangelists were the exception in the New Testament.

Well, here we go again! I can't tell you how many times I have heard the argument that proclaimation evangelism doesn't work these days, or never worked at all. I often wonder if they have actually read the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul said, "For since, in God's wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message PREACHED." [Emphasis added] 1Co 1:21

They have somehow missed the fact that the church, on the day of Pentecost, was birthed out of mass evangelism through the preaching of Peter. They have missed the preaching of Paul, Steven and Phillip the Evangelist in Acts.

I try to imagine Paul, as he approached Athens and was provoked by the spiritual condition of the city, thinking,"I really need to build a relationship with these people, share some Old Testament stories with them, and maybe, just maybe I'll get to tell them about Jesus!"

One of the greatest needs in the church today is a revival of the confidence in the Gospel to save whosever, wherever whenever it is proclaimed. The Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Salvation is God's business. Our business is to proclaim the message of salvation and believe that God will honor that by saving the person who responds to the invitation.

let us renew our confidence in God's message to save.


Pastor Chris said...

Indeed, it is God's job to confirm the word. Our job to spread it.

The challenge perhaps your friend pointed out is the whole tension about followup care and their sense of evangelistic disconnect from the local church.

How can I do proclamation evangelism apart from the local church? I think that when I come along side a church and participate -- it's their outreach, not mine. I'm just a helper in their outreach, not a parachute evangelist disconnected from a church.

I've settled that whatever style of evangelistic outreach is done, it must be done in connection with a local church, by local believers, and with local people. I can come and help as coach or workshop leader, but the bulk of the work must be done by the local fellowship

Darrel Davis said...

Good to hear from you and see that you still check my neglected Blog.

I am in agreement with you on the need to work in partnership with local churches.

I can't speak for other evangelists, but I NEVER do a crusade or outreach apart from local churches. In fact, I am leaving Monday for Malawi to meet with a group of pastors about a campaign in August of 2008.

I always make it clear that the participating churches must have intentional follow up procedures for every decision made. I will not agree to hold the meetings if the churches will not follow-up.

I would like to play Devil's advocate - if I can use that term for a moment...

In Acts 8, Phillip the evangelist went to Samaria, Azotus and all the towns between there and Caesarea to evangelize. There were no churches in those places at the time for Phillip to work with. So, is it always necessary for proclamation evangelism to occur in partnership with churches?

Just a thought...