"I would like something that simply says, ‘Evangelism is…'"
This thought from a team member of the CBFNC Evangelism Task Force was the seed from which grew a working document entitled "Evangelism Is…"
This pamphlet is a distilled version of that document.
The Task Force fully recognizes the difficulty of defining evangelism. However, we felt it was worthwhile to present some basic ideas that offered some direction for further study and consideration.
Consider the "Evangelism Is…" statements below and how they might inform your own definitions. Also, please use these statements as conversation starters in your church.
In order to share the gospel effectively, we must know where we have been and where we are. The local church's history and the local church's context are essential to appropriate evangelism. "Know thyself" and know your place are two important mandates for evangelism.
The strength and vitality of a local congregation is part of its witness to its context. We should not overlook the power of an attractive community. At the same time, evangelism is communal in its efforts. Evangelism is more than an individualistic effort.
A balance to the communal aspect is the personal aspect of evangelism. Gospel sharing will always happen person to person. Gospel commitments are personal commitments. We must become attuned to the need to pay attention to persons and their stories. Part of personal evangelism is to listen to others, listening for God at work in their lives.
Evangelism is the proclamation of God's kingdom reign, the very proclamation Jesus voiced as he began his public ministry. So, a biblical evangelism will always be concerned the whole person: spiritual, physical, relational, social. The good news is good news for the whole of creation, for whole communities and societies, and for the whole person.
Evangelism is…the offer of conversion.
A balance to the understanding of whole person evangelism is the reality that evangelism does present a particular opportunity to welcome the life-changing presence of Jesus into one's life. Evangelism always contains the expectation of change (repentance) and the call to become a disciple of Jesus.
Evangelism is…passion for the gospel.
Like fuel for an engine, passion will fuel the church's renewal of evangelistic fervor. This passion will be guided by a love for God and for others in our communities and world.
Evangelism fits within the missional purpose of the church and the missional purpose of the life of the disciple. In other words, in everything we do, we evangelize. Instead of relegating evangelism to a single program, we need a more comprehensive, missional view.