A church’s God-given mission on earth is to preach the Gospel of Christ, that sinners may be saved and brought to the church for their spiritual growth. A church that is not committed to doing the Gospel-work has no right to exist, and it shall soon weaken and die off.
Preaching Christ is particularly important to the church that seeks true biblical growth. All its members must engage in soul-winning ministry, because it is the work that the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus, has given them to do. Jesus defined His work thus: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Then, He told His disciples that "as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21b). Hence every faithful church member, who goes about doing the will of his Saviour and Lord, must be mindful to do the work of soul-winning, which Christ has given to us to fulfil.
The apostle Paul is a fine example to all of us in the work of the Gospel. While writing to Timothy, he wrote how he had dedicated himself to be a soul-winner for the Lord – "Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:10). He then urged Timothy, "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).
Evangelism must be the primary purpose of the local church, and is one of the major reasons for which it exists. God’s work in this day and age centres in the local church, and God’s concern has always been to reach out in love to a lost and dying world with the good news of eternal life. Evangelism should be at the top of the list of our church’s ministries. All our leaders and members must be involved in evangelism. Evangelism is not an option for the local church; it is a command. Jesus said, "…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8)!
Evangelism is not a system or a programme, but a personal involvement in the lives of people to help them know the things they need to know and believe on Christ in order to be saved. Evangelism involves the message, as well as the presence and conduct of the messenger. "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27a). Scripture insists "that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life…" (Philippians 2:15-16a).
As the saying goes, many people talk a lot about evangelism, but not many are doing it. Much time and effort are put into many different plans and programmes, but it seems that evangelism is still one of our neglected areas of ministry. There are two basic principles that should give us a starting point for an understanding of evangelism. First, the local church is central to God’s plan for ministry in this age. This means that biblical evangelism centres in the local church, and the ministry of the local church must focus on evangelism. Second, it is the responsibility of all leaders to be involved in training others in ministry and leadership. This would place great emphasis on the responsibility of the church and its leaders to train and equip its members to do the work of the ministry (cf. Ephesians 4).
In Gethsemane, let all of us make special efforts to be ready to do the work of evangelism. I urge you in the Lord, dear reader, to dedicate yourself with all your heart, that you may be a joyful soul-winner for our glorious Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A church that is dedicated to the work of evangelism will bring unbounded joy to its leaders and Christians everywhere. As a result, an evangelistic church will bring glory to the Lord. "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; … For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing" (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 8).
Beloved, our initial enthusiasm to spread the Gospel should not die off. We should always be committed to do the work of evangelism. Let us not allow difficulties or lethargy hinder our involvement in this God-given duty. How wonderful it will be if our church receives from the Lord a similar commendation as the church in Thessalonica had received from the apostle Paul!
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! …So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:13-17).