Church Planting requires Evangelism

I read a statistic years ago that dealt with one of the major American church denominations. A poll had been taken. The question was “Have you shared your faith to someone at least once in your life time?” The answer was shocking to me. 3% answered yes. That means 97% answered no. Now, I don’t know how entirely accurate that poll was but it’s probably safe to say that a good majority of people never will share their faith once in their lifetime…not one time!

Sadly, this same lack of doing evangelism exists within many church plants today. You might say “wait a minute, how can a church be planted if there is no evangelism?” I’ll tell you how. Many churches are planted from (a term I like to refer to as) “recycled Christians.” Instead of fulfilling the New Testament design for doing church, which is to go after the lost, and to build the church off of new converts, we appeal to those who are already churched, who have fallen through the cracks, or who are “in-between” churches because of a bad experience.

*Now I must note here that my churches have not been devoid of “recycled Christians” and I am a firm believer that God brings some of those said followers of His to the new church plant to help bring stability, maturity, and experience. But the point here is that these people should not be the dominant focus but rather a shared focus while targeting the lost should in my mind be the primary focus.

We know that one of the Patriarch church planters Paul and his boys had a specific strategy in planting new churches. They indeed went to the Synagogue first to find Jewish people who would be open to the Gospel. This is very true. People might use this as an excuse for targeting Christians first. I disagree. It is true that Paul at many times during His church planting endeavors would go straight to the Synagogues first to reach out to those who were already half-way there (Acts 17:1 – Thessalonica; Acts 18:4 – Corinth). But the point is, he was still building His church off of the lost. He just knew that God had called Him to reach out to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles (Rom 1:16; 2:10).

But we also know sometimes there wasn’t a Synagogue to be found. When Paul was redirected by the Holy Spirit to Philippi in Acts 16:12 (because it should always be the Holy Spirit doing the leading and the calling), he went to the riverside where once again the Jewish people were gathered to worship. But again, they were unbelievers.

In my humble observation, after having done this for quite sometime now, believers look for every excuse not to just open up and share their faith with somebody. It’s understandable because as we always say, as believers we are not ashamed of the Good News. We are just not equipped, not experienced, and therefore we lack confidence. We are timid because we lack confidence. Paul was very confident. His method or his “manner, custom, or habit” was to dialogue and persuade. He literally had conversations with people in order to convince them of the message of Christ. Peter tell us to get the “message out” (ἐξαγγέλλω – exangello in Greek) when in 1 peter 2:9 he says to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into marvelous light.” He was also referring to using our mouths.

In many circles evangelism looks like this in church planting: Share the Gospel to people once we get them at church; Or, buy down people’s gas and give them a track; Or wash people’s car and tell them that Jesus loves them; Or, do prayer walks etc… To me, it becomes more about how can we get people into the church rather than how can we try to help somebody escape from the burning building. Not to say that those things above aren’t productive and effective…they fit within something we like to call in Christian circles “servant evangelism.” Servant evangelism is great and it has its purpose. But what happened to doing things the way that Paul (the guy who said imitate me as I imitate Christ) did. We like the way that he does every other thing except for his evangelistic style? Now we’re getting selective in the way that we approach Scripture. Rick Warren said “You only believe the part of the Bible that you do.” That strikes a huge chord with all of us, especially me.

But when it comes to evangelism, we have to stop making excuses, especially if we are planting churches. People are lost and they need to physically hear the Gospel message. They can’t hear it unless we speak it.

I’m sure I made some people uncomfortable on this one but oh well, the Gospel isn’t supposed to be comfortable. Neither is sharing it. And if we want to continue to build New Testament churches (a part from the glitz and the glamor that has become American church), and if we want to truly model ourselves after Paul, then we must evangelize. We must go up to people and share the truth with them. I wonder what all of our churches would look like if every one of them made this the number one focus, instead of focusing on other things…I’ll just leave it at that.

7 Comments

  • Jamie Limato says:

    Thanks for sharing the truth of the matter with people. This is the very reason that I am a part of this model and a part of this network. Thanks big bro in the faith. Love you man.
    peace,
    Jamie

  • Angela says:

    Loved this Aaron.

    I feel like for a very long time I never really openly shared my faith because of fear, of what man would think. But Galatians talks about how we can’t please man and God. I feel like I relearn daily, and have to tell myself daily that its not about me, its about everyone else, for them to come to know our father, God.

    So glad that i’m able to team up with you guys and bring back what it really means to be a christian. I was telling my non-believer friend last night that I hate telling people that I’m christian, because it’s become a joke. The whole idea that when someone says they’re a christian people think, “republican party/ white picket fence/ the SUV/ perfect family” at its root its not these cultural ideas, it transcends that.

    I’m ranting now lol, but awesome AP, keep it up!

  • ap says:

    Wow Angela! If everyone would just be like you I think we would be on to something. We are so honored to have you as a huge part in this ministry. Keep changing people’s perceptions about what a “true Christian” looks like. You rock girl!

  • ap says:

    Jamie, you are a true blessing to me. I love you and count it a great privilege to serve alongside you. Praying for you.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I love reading, hearing, and thinking about the New Testament Church… the NT church understood evangelism! Its hard to walk the tight-rope of speaking truth while not condemning the sinner (only the sin), of being “in the world but not of it”.

  • ap says:

    You are right Elizabeth. Thanks for your insights.

  • Michelle says:

    I love reading, hearing, and thinking about the New Testament Church… the NT church understood evangelism! Its hard to walk the tight-rope of speaking truth while not condemning the sinner (only the sin), of being “in the world but not of it”.

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