Let's talk about what we're talking about

I have a confession to make, I only think about my roof when it's leaking. I only think about my plumbing when it's leaking. I only think about my dogs...okay, well, I think about them more often than that, but if they're standing by the door and whining, they get my full attention.

Churches and Christian groups tend to only talk about evangelism when it isn't happening. This is a familiar pattern.

We often wait to talk about things until when we're struggling with them. We only talk about tithing when the money's running low. We only talk about politics when we're nearing a big election or vote. We only talk about evangelism when we feel like we're not sharing the gospel enough.

And let's be honest, when do we ever feel like we're sharing the gospel enough?

The Good News is so good and God's gospel is so great, we never get to the end of talking about it. We may get tired of talking, feel afraid to talk, but we never get to the end.

I wonder if that's why we assume that people aren't sharing the gospel. I wonder if that's why we talk about evangelism like our roof is leaking.

And here's the crazy thing, our roof isn't leaking, at least, not now. People in our community are sharing the gospel. They doing it often and doing it well. Maybe they've shared the gospel with you, tried to share with you the good news about Jesus. Maybe it's been uncomfortable or weird, but they're trying. And I'm proud of that.

We're going to talk about evangelism, not because we're not sharing the gospel enough, but because God is doing something in our community that is prompting us to share the gospel. We're going to talk about evangelism because we're talking about it already. We're talking about it when Luke shares a story or when Abby prays for courage or when Will gets that slanty grin on his face. We are a community that is faithfully (not perfectly) sharing the gospel.

What would happen if folks who get to preach leaned into the work that God was already doing in their community? If God is connecting us with the poor, we would preach about justice. If God is broadening our community, we'd preach about multi-ethnicity. If God is stirring our hearts so that we're talking about our Jesus-the-Only with folks who don't yet know him, we'd have an evangelism series.

Let's not be pessimistic. By the grace of God, great things are happening!


  1. "The Church is the pilgrim people of God. It is on the move--hastening to the ends of the earth to beseech all men to be reconciled to God, and hastening to the end of time to meet its Lord, who will gather all into one. Therefore, the nature of the Church is never to be fully defined in static terms, but only in terms of that to which it is going. It cannot be understood rightly except in a perspective which is at once missionary and eschatological, and only in that perspective can the deadlock of our present ecumenical debate be resolved." ... Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God

  2. Scott,

    It's very interesting how quickly we jettison "church" when evangelism is involved. Care for the poor...community. Visit the sick...community. Evangelism...individual. Do you think that's what Newbigin was talking about or do you think he was angling on something else?