We continue our series of marks of effective evangelism.
If you do not plan, you plan to fail. We must have a strategy and a plan to reach those who are lost. Jesus and Paul both began their ministry in the synagogue as was their custom (Luke 4:16, Acts 17:2). They both started trying to convince the Jews from the Scriptures before moving to the Gentiles. Jesus encouraged the disciples to look for a person of peace in a different town or village as a starting point of the gospel (Luke 10). Paul reminds his followers that Christians are the aroma of Christ who are being saved and who are perishing. As people are open to the aroma of life, we should continue to minister to them.
Jesus used the ministry of hospitality to engage with the lost. Jesus is known for receiving sinners and eating with them (Luke 5, Luke 15, Luke 19). Elders are called to be hospitable. Although not exclusively referencing bringing people into one’s home, but certainly including it in the lifestyle of a pastor. Peter charges the church to practice hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). The early church was known for using the home as a means for fellowship and evangelism. Acts 2:42-47,
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (emphasis added).
The early church was bringing people into their homes and eating with one another and the Lord added people day by day to those who were being saved. The home was the center of evangelism in the early church.
We have to start thinking and planning as missionaries. Missionaries live in hostile environments and are strategic in their work for the gospel. We use the ministry of the home to bring people to Christ. In our anti-institutional, anti-authoritative society the home is going to be vital to reach people in this generation. We must plan to use our homes as a ministry for the gospel. Jesus said that unless you renounce all that you have you cannot be my disciple. Renounce that your home is your home. Your home no longer belongs to you primarily, but belongs to God. Use your home to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples. Break bread with the lost introducing them to Jesus and break bread with fellow believers reminding one another of the great and precious promises of God’s Word.
What if during our Wednesday or Sunday night service people were freed up to practice biblical hospitality? What if we sent laborers into the harvest field of Rock Hill as missionaries once a week? What if we developed a plan to send some out and to hold the rope through prayer and giving? If we do not plan, we plan to fail. God wants us to think strategically, as Jesus and Paul did, to reach our crooked and depraved generation with the power of the gospel.