All Evangelism is not Equal 4

All evangelism is important but all evangelism is not equal. There is a difference between a church having an evangelistic invitation (e.g., altar call) during a worship gathering and a church sending members to share the gospel with unreached people groups. Yet, most people would say both of these churches are evangelistic.

(Food for thought: While gospel proclamation occurred when the first century churches gathered (1 Cor 14:24-25), most of the evangelistic activities in the New Testament occurred in the highways and hedges of the communities.)

All evangelism is important but all evangelism is not equal. There is a difference between a church teaching members to be evangelistic in their offices, schools, and neighborhoods (generally, meaning reaching people of the same cultural identities as themselves) and a church teaching members to share the gospel with the 1st generation Yemeni living across town.

Cross-cultural disciple making should be the highest priority for us–regardless of our race, ethnicity, and nationality. The 5 billion remain. The 3200 unengaged-unreached people groups remain–including the 348 in North America (just in case we forgot about them).

What does evangelism look like for you and your church?

Maybe we should stop asking if a church is an evangelistic church and start asking about the kind of evangelism she is doing.

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4 thoughts on “All Evangelism is not Equal

  • Eric

    I appreciate you and your work J.D. I’m very passionate and regularly engaged in sharing the Gospel cross-culturally. But, I’m not sure I can agree with you in this post. Where do you get the prioritization of evangelism in Scripture? This seems suprabiblical. Priority for a disciple is ongoing obedience and walking in the Spirit. Obedient disciples go where the Spirit leads.

    To believe this prioritization means all evangelism outside of crossing ethnic or geographical borders is of lower value therefore sharing with your neighbor doesn’t really count?

    Help me see where you are coming from biblically.

  • JD Post author

    Thanks, Eric, for your kind words and question. I am not saying that some evangelism is less in quality or value–or as you mention–“doesn’t really count.”
    The issue is one of wisdom and stewardship. If we are told to make disciples of all nations, and some are uupgs and others upgs, then should not our highest priority be to those who have never heard? If foundations have been established among some peoples but others have no foundation (Rom 15:20-21), should not the latter have priority when it comes to our giving, praying, and going. I am a little surprised by your question, knowing you are with the IMB–whose missiology is grounded in prioritization.

    Millions in the world will not be reached unless cross-cultural disciple making takes place. Many churches across the world believe as long as they are giving an evangelistic invitation or doing same culture evangelism, then that is okay. I would say this is good, but not sufficient.

  • Eric

    Thanks J.D.

    You and I definitely agree that without awareness and intentionally we as disciples will likely not go to the places or people who have little access to the Gospel. And if we do not go, they will not hear and therefore cannot be saved. As an organization, IMB can and should prioritize the resources that has been entrusted to us for the sake of being wise stewards in context of global realities.

    I’m not sure that same prioritization exists to us as individual disciples as it is also not possible for my near-culture neighbor to come to Christ outside of someone sharing truth with them. Both sharing in near culture and far culture takes obedience, intentionally and Spirit empowerment.

    Although we may say it differently, we most certainly agree that we pray for and need more followers of Christ to not just share in context of their own cultural norms but also go boldly and obediently crossing all barriers whether cultural or geographical to share the hope of the gospel with all people.

    May we see an increase in the prioritization on the biblical teaching of the whole scope of God’s mission which would inherently compell us to all nations. Unfortunately, we often see churches choosing to limit their full obedience.

    Thanks again, I enjoy the discussion. Once again I appreciate you and your writings.

  • JD Post author

    Thanks for clarifying, Eric, this is helpful. I was not writing about individuals. I think we agree. Appreciate you brother. Hope this helps.