Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — A LifeWay Christian Resources study that finds more Christians have a passion for evangelism than those who actually tell others about Jesus “is an indication of the average Christian not understanding the heart of God,” observed Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Davis was one of three TBMB staff members who opined on the LifeWay study.
“We are driven by our own preferences instead of the Great Commission passion of our Lord,” Davis continued. “Too many people do not understand that if a person dies without Christ, they spend eternity in hell.”
Davis is appreciative of Tennessee Baptists who take the Great Commission seriously. “I thank God for pastors and laymen who are constantly sharing their faith.”
Roc Collins, strategic objectives director for the TBMB, said lack of discipleship may be a factor that many people do not witness. “Evangelism is often caught instead of taught. When church members are not discipled in how to lead someone to Christ ‘by example’ they often never catch what it is all about,” he observed.
He emphasized the importance of discipleship as it relates to evangelism. “We can never substitute one for the other. Evangelism is proclaiming the gospel of Jesus and leading someone to Christ.
“Discipleship is teaching them how to live and grow in relationship with Jesus and then share that good news with someone else. Don Wilton, my preaching professor in seminary often said, ‘Evangelism is incomplete until the evangelized has become the evangelist.’ ”
Collins also emphasized the importance of offering an invitation during public worship so people can see others accept Christ. He also stressed that evangelism must be mentioned from the pulpit. “When we fail to even mention the importance of a relationship with Jesus and how to have it during a time of worship, it’s no wonder churchgoers are not witnessing.”
Steve Pearson, TBMB evangelism specialist, agreed that people need to pray for the lost. He noted that Ronnie Floyd, new president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, has said, “We will never reach any more people than we pray for.”
At the same time, Pearson continued, a person can’t stop with prayer, but must share his or her faith with others.
Collins summed evangelism up as simply “as one sinner telling another sinner where to find forgiveness.” B&R — Lonnie Wilkey