- The mission field ... it is here! (It's there too ... but it is a gross error to ignore the next door!) There seems to be a overvaluing of the souls' saved in the far away places and an general resignation that the local sinners are to be avoided (best to isolate oneself from them lest they pollute us!).
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (John 4:35)
The mission field is:
Your family and extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, et cetera). Image source.
Suburbia (if that's where you live). Source
Where you work! (There's a pagan at the water cooler!)
(Comment on the top image - from the very funny film Krippendorf's Tribe - Scheduled to lecture at a college and fearful of being charged with misuse of grant funds, James concocts an imaginary tribe, the Shelmikedmu, using the names of his children as a basis. He later fakes a 16 mm "documentary" film, casting his children as tribe members)
- Look in the mirror - you are the missionary! (Image Source)
Jesus gave the Great Commission to you too!
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Every Christian is a minister! (Image Source)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
There is far too much emphasis on the special clergy class verses the common laity class. This is gross error and not Biblical. If you are a Christian you've been called! If you are redeemed you are a minister. Use the above link to buy yourself a robe, if it will make you feel better! As for me I wear khakis and polo shirts!
- The construct of the itinerant professional evangelist is false. Every Christian is an evangelist! (Image source)
The following should be obvious but just to cover all the bases!
- I'm not saying that every itinerant minister is an "Elmer Gantry"!
- But I am saying that the modus operandi of:
- Having a special meeting with ...
- A high-octane speaker ...
- To preach the gospel to ...
- Invitees ...
- Is not a pattern found in the New Testament!
- Some will be more effective in evangelism because God has gifted some in this way! But every Christian who can open his mouth and form words as method of communication is to do so!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so (Psalm 107:2)
- Evangelism: It's not salesmanship! (Image source of door-to-door salesman)
I'm amazed by how some believers get hyped about multi-level marketing and how they can become so obsessed and evangelistic about these schemes. I grant that this is their business and their liberty.
My point is to be amped about Jesus!
I used to be a salesman. I've sold newspapers, candy bars door to door, women's shoes at the mall, and computers (my largest one time sale was $ 1.8 Million ... and that was in 1977 ... over $ 7 million in 2016 dollars)
When I say that evangelism is not salesmanship, I mean that God is sovereign over the results. God opens hearts - not us!
Acts 16:14, "Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."
I Corinthians 2:4, "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,"
- Evangelism is hard: Expect these results:
Acts 17:32-24, "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” .... However, some men joined him and believed,
Some will (as illustrated from the above verse - or all of the book of Acts):
- Mock, reject, react negatively
- Have some interest - may consider the Gospel
It should be obvious that our efforts must be bathed in prayer and we must be patient!
Ephesians 6:12-18, " For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ... praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints "
- It takes money to evangelize! Invest in your own mission!
We are often reminded and exhorted to invest in missions and this is certainly a truism. My point here is that one's own ministry must be funded (and really self-funded!). Buy and give Bibles! Buy and give Gospels of Johns (we buy these by the hundreds and always have a short stack by the front door). Buy and give good books (examples here). Each of my 4 doctors from my recent surgery will be receiving a Bible from me this week. God in His sovereignty allowed my cancer trial, and God has put me in places (where I really did not want to be). I see myself as a missionary to these with whom I've come into contact.