Greetings from Nigeria, where we are so privileged to present to the Nigeria Baptist Convention over the next couple of days. One thousand pastors and church leaders are gathering together to learn about workplace discipleship and reclaiming the Marketplace for Christ. We have been talking to leaders from this denomination for some time and have been praying for this opportunity, and we are now here! We ask for your prayers that the Holy Spirit will use us to present a compelling message for the affirmation of the priesthood of all believers in every workplace!
Our visit in Ghana with the Assemblies of God, as well as the Methodist and Presbyterian pastors, went very well and we are excited for the seeds sown. Below are a couple of pictures from our time together.
But this week, we want to continue to looking at Ephesians 4 where we find the purpose of the church is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. There are some who are given special gifts of being apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These giftings are not meant to only be offices but to be used to equip all members for growing in maturity in these areas, that the members may not be easily shifted by the winds.
Last week we looked at prophets, and the week before at apostles. Today, we look at evangelists. One of the things we often say in our teaching is that “evangelism programs can be one of the greatest barriers to evangelism.” This is often surprising for people to hear, but we explain that when something is a program, it gets compartmentalized. Our brain likes to put things in different boxes: this is home, this is work, this is community, this is church. Within the church box, we often put more boxes: this is worship, this is Sunday School, this is evangelism, this is giving, etc. When we do evangelism as a program, it means that when the event is completed, our brain will often say, “Check! Evangelism is done until the next planned program.”
Rather than a program, evangelism is to be a lifestyle. We are told to bring the fragrance of Christ to all places, which is an attraction to those around us (2 Cor. 2:14). Most communication is non-verbal and even the way you live your life and do your work brings the fragrance of Christ. The Great Commission is for all of us – we are all to be making disciples. We are either in home missions or we are in foreign missions, but all of us, as mature Christians, are to be in missions. For some, this comes easily. For others, it takes great effort. But all of us are expected to participate in this important call because Christ’s love compels us. We have been loved so much that we now want to share it with others.
Who might God be urging you to speak to? Are you asking God for specific opportunities or ways in which to engage? If you aren’t sure where to start, there are lots of places where you can get some great ideas and basic training in finding those opportunities.
Church, let’s equip all members to be evangelists!