Acts 8:1,4 NAS - " . . . And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem,a nd they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Therefore. Those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.”
Previously I shared that while it would appear that Christianity is in decline in the United States, it is flourishing elsewhere in the world. What does this mean for us? It means one of the greatest mission fields in the world is right in our backyard. It means Christians in America have much Gospel work to do. We need to march forth with boldness and confidence declaring the Gospel of Christ and admonishing all men to forsake their sins and embrace the King.
I often receive some great questions in response to my teaching. After reading my previous post one of you asked, “But how do we (our congregation, our church) do more in our local mission field?” As we can see in the Acts 8 passage (above), the work of evangelism is primarily the duty of the laity, the person in the pew. It was the lay people who went about sharing the Gospel. We must not see evangelism as confined to the pastors or to the church, in the sense that evangelism is only done as a group activity. I often say, evangelism isn't an event, it is a lifestyle. There are several things to consider in answer to the question.
1. As individuals we must continue living with Christ as the focus of everything. This will result in us speaking about Him to others—we tend to talk about those things that we are most passionate about. With Christ as our focus we will be sharing the Gospel, inviting the lost to our church services, etc.
2. The church should provide the “tools” for evangelism. This includes solid teaching to provide a good foundation for the work of evangelism. The church should equip the membership with other tools. For example, our church prints thousands of tracts for the use of our members in their evangelistic efforts. We also provide congregational outreach opportunities such as tract distribution in large gatherings in our community.
3. The church also stands ready to assist members who become engaged in particular Gospel opportunities. It may be providing literature, Bibles, or other support to encourage them in their labors. They might find an open door into a nursing home, a local school, a prison, or a Bible study in their home or at work. There are endless opportunities and the church stands ready to assist our members and provide whatever resources they might need.
4. We must keep evangelism as a priority, and we must not forget the importance of prayer. The Gospel goes forth as God’s people pray for its success (2 Thes. 3:1).