By Jordan Easley and Ernest Easley
The current state of evangelism is pretty sad, but our current state doesn’t have to be our future reality.
The trends of our past may say one thing, but the trajectory of our future regarding evangelism is fully dependent on our present decisions. What are we going to do next?
If the current trends continue, the church will continue to lose its effectiveness. Our culture will continue to collapse. Our country will continue to decay and decline. Our families will continue to deteriorate, and more people will die and go to hell.
Not only that, but God’s word tells us we will be held accountable for our disobedience and God will remove our lampstand of effectiveness.
Revelation 2:5 says, “Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
God used these words to warn the Ephesian church that if they did not repent then he would wipe them out as a church. They would cease to exist.
Today, the original town of Ephesus has no church that can claim it existed 2,000 years ago. Apparently, the church did not repent.
The same warning applies to the many local churches that have been called by God to fulfill the Great Commission.
Unless they repent of their lack of evangelistic focus then God will cause them to lose their effectiveness and possibly even existence as a church.
What does that look like in our context?
If the church continues to ignore evangelism, then it is highly likely that the future of the church will include fewer people being discipled, a lack of cultural effectiveness in the community, the judgment and wrath of God, a lack of freedom in worship, and lost generations who will live without knowing Jesus.
That phrase “Lost Generation” was coined by Ernest Hemingway and was used to describe the generation of young soldiers who had fought bravely during World War I, but came back home and felt directionless, purposeless, and disoriented.
However, it’s also a term that could be used to describe the church of tomorrow if evangelism doesn’t become a priority.
Without evangelism, the church becomes lost and purposeless, and the result will be a spiritually lost generation, because no one would have shared with them how they could be saved.
This world needs Jesus, and believe it or not, the world expects followers of Jesus to tell them about Him!
Penn Jillette, who makes up half of the famous magic duo Penn and Teller, is more than a famous magician. He’s also a well-known atheist.
As he was being interviewed one day, he talked about a moment when someone handed him a Bible. Instead of rejecting the Bible, he took it as a nice gesture from someone who was concerned about his life.
As he retold of this encounter during the interview, the journalists seemed shocked that he would accept such a gift. But Penn went on to say that it doesn’t bother him when someone shares their faith or talks about their God to him.
“What does bother me,” Penn said, “is when people claim to know Jesus and love Jesus, and yet, they don’t care enough to tell me about him.”
He concluded that interview by asking one of the most powerful questions I’ve ever heard asked. He said, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
Chuck Lawless said:
“So much is at stake here. Millions in North America do not know Jesus. More than 1.6 billion people around the globe have likely never heard of Jesus. Generation after generation of children and young people are following false religions, deceived by an enemy who wants to keep them in bondage. Families—even Christian families—are falling apart around us. Meanwhile, thousands of churches go through the motions Sunday after Sunday, making little eternal difference. We have increased our numbers significantly since 1950, but we are reaching no more today than we did then. We can only wonder if Satan would say to us what the demon said to the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:15, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize — but who are you?”
Don’t forget what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 5:13-15:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.”
Our evangelistic pulse is faint, and yet God’s word is clear. We are called to be salt. We are called to be light.
And if we fail to do what God created us to do, if we fail to be who God created us to be, we will become ineffective, “no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
That’s not what God wants for you and me; it’s not what He wants for His church. He wants us to repent if we have reason to repent. His desire is for us to prioritize the things He’s commissioned us to do, and to pursue Him like we’ve never pursued Him before.
JORDAN EASLEY (@jordaneasley) is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tennessee. He’s the co-author of Resuscitating Evangelism with ERNEST EASLEY (@ErnestLEasley), teaching pastor of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tennessee. Excerpted and adapted from Resuscitating Evangelism and used with permission from B&H Publishing Group.