Evangelism is an integral part of our work. A church will not grow unless it reaches out to the community. More importantly, souls will remain lost unless a messenger spreads the gospel.
While we all have an obligation to carry out the great commission to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20), some individuals and whole congregations seem to have an enthusiasm and diligence about the task. They have a confidence that supports success. Where does it come from?
Confidence in God
God’s desire is to save every single person in the world. He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
But let’s make it less abstract. Let’s make it more meaningful. God wants to save every single person in your town. God wants to save every single person that you wave to in your neighborhood. God wants to save every one of your friends. And God is counting on you to be the conduit through which the gospel message reaches their ears (Rom. 10:14).
This gives us the confidence to ask for His help, and to leap to action (2 Tim. 1:7). It’s not about you being a scholar. It’s about you living as a Christian example, and giving an account for the hope that is in you. You aren’t relying on your skills; you are relying on God’s skills. God Himself answers prayers to open doors to teach (Eph. 6:18-20, Col. 4:3). God Himself opens hearts (Acts 16:14). God Himself gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:7).
Be confident in God’s desire to save, and power to save.
Confidence in His word
A carpenter must rely on his tools, a soldier on his sword. And a Christian must be sure that the word of God is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and able to convert the lost.
There is no need to hide parts of the gospel, or to replace it with an advertisement for the church’s social calendar. The gospel really works. The bad news of sin gives way to the good news of salvation, and a person is thankful to hear it, and ready to do whatever God asks to obtain it. A person who is not converted by the word of God is not really converted, or won’t stay converted for long (Luke 16:29). When you see the gospel work, you will gain confidence in the word of God as powerful for converting the heart.
When a person accepts the gospel, we get none of the credit, if we have presented the cross of Christ. When a person rejects the gospel, we get none of the blame, if we have presented the cross of Christ (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Be confident in the power of the gospel.
Confidence in people
Perhaps Christians spend a little too much time bemoaning the state of American society. Sure, the world is wretched. But, so it was in Elijah’s day (1 Kings 19:14-18) and Peter’s day (Acts 2:40) and Paul’s day (2 Tim. 3:1), and they didn’t let that discourage their efforts. There will always be people ready to submit to Christ’s kingdom! Even in the most unlikely places.
Think of some of the converts in the New Testament. A five-times divorced Samaritan woman (John 4:18). A traveling business woman who had set up shop in a city so devoid of truth there wasn’t even a synagogue (Acts 16:6-15). Thieves, adulterers, and drunks in Corinth (1 Cor. 6:9-11). The household of Caesar (Phil. 1:13, 4:22).
God created mankind with an eternal spirit that desires salvation (Eccl. 3:11, Acts 17:27). While there are certainly many who have seared the conscience, there are many more who would allow the word to penetrate their hearts if someone would simply plant and water the seed (Luke 8:11-15). Look past the negatives, the headlines, the drama, and see that “the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35).
Be confident in the basic goodness of people, and their willingness to change.
Confidence in the congregation
While no church family will ever be perfect, it is vital for leaders to instill within members a confidence that nothing will be said or done in a worship service that will be embarrassing or off-putting to visitors (though spiritually challenging is always appropriate). We should examine with a critical eye all of the church’s efforts in light of their perception to visitors.
Once a person is saved, he is immediately added to the church (Acts 2:47), and becomes a part of a new family (Eph. 2:19). Leaders need to instill within members the confidence that when their friends are baptized, they will not be ignored, but instead will be accepted in faith, be wrapped into a loving group of friends, be given a job to do, and have their spirits shepherded.
Let us all work together to become confident in our congregation! —John Guzzetta