From the Pastor's Desk (1989 - 1993)
In the past foreign missions received excellent support. However, evangelism was seen more of a hobby of a few than as a mandate of each church. Many said, "The doors of the church are open. If our neighbours want to come, they are welcome. Why go into the neighbourhood to bring them in?" And many believed that the church must be strong and pure before you can reach out. But the Bible teaches that we must do both-protect and build. The trowel and the sword are the building tools of the church. When Nehemiah began rebuilding Jerusalem, the city of God, he told his people to use their swords to protect themselves and the trowels for repairing the wall (Neh.4).
Many books on evangelism are now available to help church members with their outreach ministry. A fine, recent, book is Robert T.Henderson's, Joy to the World. Spreading the Good News of the Kingdom, published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. It is Scripturally sound centered on church and kingdom, wary of packaged deals, programs, slogans and numbers. Henderson points out that all the elaborate evangelistic programs in North America only reach a very small percentage of the people who need to hear. He says, "Think of the multi-million dollar schemes, replete with assistance of advertising agencies, that are regularly launched to evangelize the land. All the while the persons who need to know about what God has done in Christ have Christian friends whom they know and trust ... How then do we reach the 'unchurched'? The answer Is “US!" We must be a community that is spontaneously evangelistic. This is the New Testament method-Studies have shown that over 70% of all the people who come to Christ and into the church come because a close friend or a relative shares Christ with them and invites them into the faith and into the church. Henderson's dream is not for a congregation that is part of some high-powered evangelistic program but a congregation of down-to-earth, wholesome Christian folk who are "radioactive" with the love of Jesus Christ; who are alert to and praying for all of their non-Christian friends, and who are able to enter into gentle conversation with these friends which will bring them to the knowledge of the Lord in sensitive ways. Henderson believes that this is the Scriptural norm for the Church.
Johan D. Tangelder