Every now and then, I have an article on the internet reach out and slap me in the face. Today it was in a good way, and I wanted to share it with you.
It is an article at Christianity Today by John Meador, pastor of First Baptist Euless, TX. In the article, John briefly outlines his churches transformation into a gospel-sharing machine. This is not the only article lately focused on the significance of sharing the gospel with our lost neighbors. The priority of evangelism in the mission of the church is getting a fresh look. We may even be seeing the return of door-knocking.
Meador outlines seven convictions that changed their evangelism ministry, and they are good. Below are a few takeaways from the article, but I am going to encourage you to read it for yourself.
Demographic changes forced them to rethink their community.
Meador admits that this was the catalyst for re-imagining their role in their community. He writes, “Large numbers of first-generation immigrants were moving to our area, and increasing lostness was apparent. Just a few miles away was a Muslim Prayer Center, where reportedly more than 3,000 worshipers of Allah gathered weekly.”
The gospel opportunity provided by our new, unreached neighbors is a constant conversation here on the site, but Meador provides an excellent example of understanding its significance for the mission of the church. The response was simple: the church’s most important role in their community must be providing a voice to the gospel with their new neighbors. Meador admits his congregation was not equipped to accomplish this task, but the key was building an equipping process that took serious preparing all of their congregation for evangelism. The result has hundreds of members beginning to share the gospel and thousands of conversations with lost people in the community.
The gospel became too weighty to bear without sharing it.
Meador claims, “The gospel has enough power to change the world. How deeply we believe this is revealed by what we do with the gospel. To believe it and not make every effort to mobilize the gospel is to betray either one’s lack of belief or our lack of compassion for the lost.”
What a profound statement. Claiming belief in the gospel as the only news of salvation for the world and not making its spread our life’s purpose necessarily reveals a lack of belief or a lack of compassion for others. However, it is not enough to merely give lip service to this idea. FBC Euless met these words with measurable action.
They redefined gospel-centeredness.
Perhaps my favorite takeaway from the article is Meador’s redefinition of gospel-centeredness. The term has been around long enough nowadays that it is fuzzy. In large part, the term has been taken to refer to the preaching that comes from the pulpit of a church. Does the preaching major on the gospel? If so, then the church is supposedly gospel-centered.
While gospel-centered preaching is crucial to the health of a church, this definition reveals a misunderstanding of the church. The church is more than the pulpit. Meador writes, “A gospel-centered church is not one where the preacher preaches the gospel, but where the people share the gospel.” With that as a definition, the congregation itself becomes the measure of gospel-centrality. I wonder what measuring many of our churches today by this metric would say about our gospel-centrality.
Evangelism is a requirement for leadership.
Finally, Meador points out that a redefinition of gospel-centeredness results in a reorientation of what it takes to be a leader. He writes, “For us, knowing and sharing the gospel has become the bottom rung of leadership.” For the church that takes the gospel seriously, evangelism is expected of leadership. It is a non-negotiable component for entering into a leadership position.
Imagine having to demonstrate regular evangelism in your personal life before being a small group leader, a deacon, or an elder. Churches have many pathways to leadership, but Meador wisely realizes that raising people up into leadership who are not practicing evangelism will undercut the church’s mission to focus on the central role of spreading the gospel. Too often, decisions about leadership do little to inquire about an individual’s practice in sharing the gospel. They may be a good teach, or a good communicator, or a good counselor, but if they are not regularly practicing evangelism, how well do they grasp the significance of the message they teach?
Meador makes several other claims that are worth reading. You can go check out his article at: