Summary: Evangelism - not about inviting peeople to our events but about us going to meet teh people where they are.
Each & every one of us who seeks to be a follower, a disciple of Jesus is called to be about what the Methodist Church calls our calling, which is:
1. Worship – within the local Church & regularly partaking of Holy Communion & being personally at prayer
2. Learning & Caring – to be about growing & deepening in fellowship with the rest of the Church & God.
3. Service – being a representative through actions in the community & financially supporting the mission of God in the world.
4. Evangelism – sharing our faith with those we are called to live amongst.
Those focuses should be well known to all of those of us who are members of the Methodist Church – they are on the back of your membership ticket. That ticket says ‘As a member of the Methodist Church I am called to : ’; - & this means we are called to ALL of these.
In other words:
* Not just to worship, but worship & being in Communion with God through the Sacrament of the Lord’s Table.
* Not just staying where we are in our faith but changing & growing through study of the scriptures & sharing our lives with one another.
* Not just going about our lives as if nothing has changed but being good neighbours & active in our community standing up for God’s values & concerns.
* Not just being content to let others find God if they can but actively seeking those who are not yet saved & sharing our faith in meaningful & relevant ways.
Quite a challenge & not at all a pick & choose thing – we are all called to all of these. Today I want us to think for a short time about the last one of those ‘Our Calling’ headings – Evangelism.
You know this is the bit of ‘Our Calling’ that most troubles many of us & gets relegated out of our minds completely. We get to think that evangelism is about putting on events here & inviting people to come – but that is not what it is about at all.
Evangelism is not a ’come to us’ event, but about us going to them. Its go not come to us. We have to go out & meet people where they are. What we need to desperately understand & see is that we can only truly accomplish our vision if we get out of the Church. We need to be people who are in the world & not of the world; if we aren’t in the world we will never have opportunity to meet anyone, if we are of the world it will be impossible for us to impact or influence the world. So it is vital that we are in, but not of.
You could say that the New Testament – Jesus, Paul & the rest of the apostles only knew a go mentality in sharing faith. We in the modern day Church seem to operate a come to us mentality. We need to understand that we need to go out to meet people where they are & share our faith with them there
When Jesus said to his followers Matthew 28:19 ‘go & make disciples of all nations’ the important word there is go. Most churches want to do evangelism backwards without the go. Sharing the Good News about Jesus has to begin outside - the church has to leave the building!
Who do we go to?
Everyone – no-one is excluded.
I believe with all of my heart that this is Godly truth – that it is God’s plan for us to leave the building and go to everyone. Leave no stone unturned in seeking people to tell the Good News about Jesus to. Go to everyone because we never know who God has prepared for our message.
But I don’t know what to say or how to say it. I have no confidence in me.
Well in a way that is a good thing because it isn’t all about you. Some, no, many of us seem to believe they’re not good enough or wise enough to share the Good News. Yes? Well don’t be downhearted this is a natural response. Paul the greatest figure in the New Testament after Jesus, Peter the leader of the first disciples both of these had little confidence in themselves. But they were not alone – the Holy Spirit was with them & His power, wisdom & courage was enough for sharing the Good News with others.
That is the most wonderful promise of Acts 1:8 ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’