COACHING CHURCH LEADERS IN EVANGELISM
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” — Luke 19:10
A few years ago, we came across a shocking statistic. A study reported that not a single U.S. county was experiencing conversion-based church growth that exceeded the region’s population growth. In other words, we may be gaining new members as people move into our region or transfer directly from other churches—but generally speaking, we are not doing a good job of winning the lost. Why is that?
As leaders, how can we make evangelism
a more prominent expression in our congregations?
Out of all the priorities of Heaven, nothing compares to the importance of reaching the lost. Healing can happen in Heaven. Our Christlikeness and discipleship can be completed in Heaven. But one of the few things we cannot do after we get to Heaven is reach the lost. The salvation of souls is not the only priority in the Kingdom, but in this season it is imminent and urgent.
True Revival and People’s Souls
You can find a variety of thoughts on the topic of evangelism. One teaching says that we don’t want unbelievers to be reduced to “marks” or conquests. Yes, that’s true, but the bottom line is that they are our targets. We care about souls, and their eternal destiny hangs in the balance. When Jesus looked upon the multitude, He was moved with compassion. He saw that they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Most of us don’t see souls the way Jesus sees souls. We don’t tune in at the same level, and we’ve become somewhat calloused.
We need to allow our hearts to feel
what Jesus feels and be moved with compassion.
Another teaching on evangelism incorporates the seven mountains of society and Victorious Eschatology (Worldcast Publishing: 2007). We are called to occupy the earth and impact every sphere of society until Jesus comes. It is true that as the reign and peace of Jesus continually increase (Isaiah 9:7), we can expect His Church to grow and become brighter, even if the world gets darker. However, God’s power to change the world does not relieve us from the urgency of the times. Every person who has ever lived will have to stand before Jesus and give an account. If the world exists for another 10,000 years—individual existence is only for a short period of time. The point is this: We must understand Heaven’s urgency for the salvation of souls.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” If we do not accept Jesus in this life, there is no evidence that we can accept Him after this life. There is no fallback plan. Therefore, the onus is on us to present Jesus in such a way that His beauty and love are unmistakable to seeking hearts. We want people to move from being unreached to reached and meet Jesus face to face.
Again and again, Jesus defined His ministry by saying, “I came to seek and save that which was lost.” In its most important sense, “that which was lost” must refer to those who are lost. Jesus sent out His disciples to reach the lost and heal the sick, and He commissioned the Church to be His witness to the uttermost parts of the world. Paul’s calling was to turn people “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith” in God (Acts 26:18). We need to preach the gospel. It is an urgent task of the Church, and unfortunately, it often goes neglected.
A revival without souls is merely a renewal;
we cannot have true revival without souls.
Ultimately, the mandate to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it is still on the table. We are no longer dealing with physical regeneration but spiritual regeneration as God works through the Church.
How do we give evangelism a higher place in our hearts? One of the primary steps is connecting with God on this issue. We have to understand the Father’s heart for the lost and His purposes for people on the earth. Whether Jesus is coming back in 10 minutes, 10 years or 1000 years, a soul that dies without Him is a soul that is eternally separated from Him. That should grip us at an intense level and compel us to go out into the world and change it.
In order to share God’s vision for souls,
we need to know His heart for them.