Are all of us called to evangelize? This series of blog posts has been on simple/organic mission and evangelism. It has provoked a slew of questions. I am blessed to know Ed, an evangelist who is involved in organic churches. Here is his unique take on some of the questions.
Ed is a leader in a network of organic churches in Phoenix Arizona. He also serves with Church Multiplication Associates on their leadership team as an Evangelist. Ed mentors and coaches a variety of leaders around the world in areas of leadership, discipleship, evangelism and organic church principles. Ed and Debbie have been married since 1978 and they have three grown children and two grandsons.
For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer. We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distanced and dutiful than life giving. We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism. This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural act of sharing the life of Jesus with those who are so thirsty to taste the goodness of God.
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples which must include the initial and ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard. The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles. This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift. This is not the truth. There is an often overlooked statement in the great commission that instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “…to obey everything I have commanded you”. The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them which includes the making of disciples or the being a witness to all the world. Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.
The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6). The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus. Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus. Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.