Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is the Church called to Evangelize or Disciple?

Tim Gombis has written a post asking an interesting question:
  • In various settings over the years, I’ve heard evangelical leaders and pastors claim that the church’s main task is evangelism.  All sorts of evangelism initiatives have been kicked into gear based on this assumed obvious fact regarding the purpose of the church.… But is it obvious that evangelism is the main task of the church, or even a task of the church?
What makes this such a good question?  According to the author, the example of the apostles—Paul primarily—was
  • that gospel proclamation leads to the establishment of churches.  Once they exist, they should set themselves to doing the sorts of things Paul elaborates in his letters.
He then goes on to give examples from Paul's epistles that his letters to the churches were for the building up of the body.  Certainly, the apostle does not discount or abandon evangelization, but that is not the main task.

If churches want to set something as a focus for their existence, let them use what the Lord Jesus commanded:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Going is assumed, not as a mandate to for door-to-door or open-air evangelism, but as a lifestyle and openness of sharing Christ with others in our daily lives.

Perhaps by making Jesus' priority the assembly's priority, his church can work more effectively.

1 comment:

Stephen Pohl said...

Steve, I think your next to last sentence sums things up well. It is a matter of how the church shares the good news, a matter of style or how the church witnesses, not if the church should witness. It goes without saying that the witness has its own house in order.