What Evangelism Is Not

5. Evangelism is not social work/justice or political involvement.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking social justice, feeding the homeless, clothing the naked, and addressing institutional-political injustices. But social justice, food in a hungry belly, and a jacket on the back of a homeless man do not prepare that soul for eternity. Good deeds complement the Gospel enterprise; they do not replace it.

6. Evangelism is not doing apologetics in order to win an argument.

Apologetics is a necessary part of the Christian mission. Apologetics can help answer questions and remove intellectual objections, but only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change the heart.

7. Evangelism is not the results of evangelism.

It is very easy to get caught up in numbers in the church business. And numbers are important. Even Jesus told three successive stories involving numbers in Luke 15 — one lost sheep, one lost coin, and two lost sons. But souls are not notches in our belt or numbers on our denominational charts. “One” represents a precious soul for whom Christ died. This means that we are to communicate the Gospel regardless of the results — God alone takes care of the results.

8. Evangelism is not church planting.

Church planting is biblical and necessary. Many church plants succeed at a higher rate of growth than already established churches. But it’s not because of the magical words — “church plant.” The reason church plants grow fast for a season is because the believers of that new church have been reminded of the basics of one person sharing the Good News with another person.

Evangelism is…

So what is evangelism? Evangelism is a believer sharing the person/claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a person who has yet to believe the claims of the Gospel or trust the person at the center of the Gospel — Jesus Christ. The Gospel is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9-13) The Gospel is clearly stating what God has done in Christ for the sinner, calling for repentance and belief. To fail to do this is to fail at evangelism. All the other dimensions of church life are but outgrowths and/or complements to the Gospel itself. 

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kevinshrum@churchleaders.com'
Dr. Kevin Shrum has been in ministry for 29 years, currently pastors Inglewood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and is an Adjunct Professor of Theology for Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.