Evangelism is the spreading of the message of Christ by public declaration and in private settings. (See Acts 5:42). Paul told Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:1-2). From this we learn that all Christians are to use their talents in teaching others. Peter reminds us to, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Pet. 3:15).
We are not suggesting that all have the same ability in this area. Far too long we have labored under either the silent or spoken rationalization and conviction, “Let the preacher do it; that’s his job. I have not been trained to do that kind of work.” Such an attitude has resulted in many members of the church doing nothing about winning others; instead we leave such to a select few of the so-called “trained.” Incidentally, I wonder how many training classes or evangelism workshops the disciples of Acts 8:4 had attended when persecution came and scattered them abroad. Luke informs us, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
We must come to understand and acknowledge that every Christian is a “living stone” (I Pet. 2:5) in the house of God, and therefore must bear our own weight. Paul wrote on this subject when he said, “from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16 ESV).
Also, every individual Christian is a priest, and therefore, we do not serve the Lord by proxy. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 2:5). “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9). John said that Jesus “hath made us kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6). It seems apparent that there is a great need in the church today for individual initiative or effort. There is someone that YOU can have more influence on than the preacher. There are those who will talk to you who would not accept a visit from an elder or preacher.
Whether among the so-called “trained” or on the “evangelism committee,” or among those who have their name on the church stationery as being “ministers” or not, let each one of us resolve to do what we can toward leading others to Christ. Otherwise, we are liable to develop the “clergy” and “laity” concept in the church of the Lord; and this is neither scriptural nor productive of good.
Professionals do not do most of the selling in the business world; satisfied customers do. If you are happy being a Christian, let it show, and lead others to the Saviour.
-Paul M. Wilmoth, Instructor of Preaching