If the devil can’t make us bad, he makes us busy. It seems that in our culture today, the devil is quite successful. We use the justification of busyness to excuse ourselves from many things of spiritual significance. That’s true on a personal level and on a corporate church level as well. As a church family, we can become so busy with meaningful activities that we can let the mission of the church become secondary. So how do we keep the main thing, the main thing?
First, the leaders of the church must set the example in evangelism. It begins with the pastor, the staff, the deacons, ministry directors and the Sunday School teachers. The church looks to her leaders for evangelistic vision. The leaders see it as their job to create an evangelistic climate in the church, and their love for the lost influences the culture of the church. In a Sunday School class, the teacher’s burden for the lost permeates each lesson. The outreach leader of the class works the prospect file so new people can be reached. Even the class’s prayer time can have an evangelistic focus. I know some teachers even offer an invitation in their classroom, at least once a quarter. In an evangelistic church, the burden for the lost is evident in the hearts and lives of the church leaders.
Second, in evangelistic churches, the people gather with a motivation to reach people. It is said that visitors decide whether they are coming back to a church within the first seven or eight minutes! That’s long before the preacher preaches, or the worship service gets started. Guests come into a new church needing to be warmly greeted by friendly members who can help them find the nursery, children’s department, etc. Members who are mindful of lost people will seek out ways to help guests feel at home in the worship gathering. Evangelistic church members realize that Sunday morning is for more than just worship. Each year has 52 special evangelistic opportunities as the gospel is presented in the music, the message and the meaningful touches of a congregation that has a desire to see people saved. Sunday School leaders with an evangelistic drive will be on the lookout for new prospects who can be led to Christ through the ministry of their small group.
Third, evangelistic churches live on mission after the worship gathering is over. The congregation doesn’t just attend church, it is the church outside the building, touching lives in Jesus’ name. In the workplace, evangelistic members see themselves as missionaries to a lost culture. They look for opportunities to serve others and meet needs that they see. As the opportunity arises, they know how to share their faith and lead others to make a decision for Christ. Such a congregation of evangelistically-minded people will see themselves as missionaries to their neighborhoods and schools. They recognize that the Great Commission is done primarily outside the church building. A Sunday School class can engage lost people using various class projects. I know of one Sunday School class that set up a day to give out cookies at the local supermarket, with a gospel tract included. Another class went door to door in a retirement community, giving out chocolate bars with a homemade, evangelistic valentine’s day card included. A class with a little creative effort can come up with many ways to serve and minister to people who desperately need the Lord.
The church is a family of friends on mission with God. We must be cautious not to be so busy being a family of friends that we miss the fact that we are also on mission with God. That’s the mindset of an evangelistic church. Evangelism must never be sacrificed on the altar of busyness.