At Alameda, we are slowly unfolding an initiative called “Make Jesus Known.” The goal of this initiative is to position our congregation to be proactive in faithfully and effectively sharing the gospel of Christ with our community and beyond.
We’re starting by equipping and empowering our members to build intentional relationships with their neighbors that will provide them an opportunity to show Jesus in order to gain an occasion to tell about Jesus. We are doing this through a study in our LIFE groups and a class on Wednesday nights called The Art of Neighboring.
Our approach to this “project” is partially informed by the following 8 core convictions, as outlined by Dr. Alvin Reid on his blog and in his book Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out…
- Men and women are without hope until they receive salvation through Jesus. Therefore, we must evangelize urgently. People apart from Christ are lost (Luke 15), dead in sins (Eph. 2:1), under sin (Rom. 3:9), and under condemnation (John 3:18). I know, this conviction doesn’t match the spirit of the times. I’m grateful God has done something about this through Jesus! Do you believe this? Do you believe this enough to do something? Do you believe God can use someone just like you to do something about this?
- Many people are ready to respond to the gospel. Therefore, we must evangelize regularly. Paul told Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season—or when we feel like it and when we don’t! The reason many people aren’t Christians is that no one has told them how to be saved. Tell someone this week.
- Believers are commanded by Jesus to evangelize. Therefore, we must evangelize obediently. Billy Graham has said the number one reason we should witness is because God says we should. We should not ignore this simple truth. Obedience matters to God. In this day of “consumer Christianity” which focuses on meeting our needs, obedience has become low on the priority list of many believers.
- Most believers want to witness but do not. Therefore, we must evangelize purposefully. I have been in hundreds of churches over the past decade. I am amazed at the number of believers who want to witness, who want to make a difference, who long for their lives to matter. They are afraid, or do not know how, or have been too busy doing good things to participate in the best thing—winning people to Christ. This is precisely why I wrote the book Sharing Jesus (Without Freaking Out).
- The gospel is the greatest message we could ever tell. Therefore, we must evangelize confidently. As a student in a Baptist university, I was discipled by a Presbyterian. One day he asked me a simple question that changed my life. “Alvin,” he said, “what is the best thing that ever happened to you?” “The day I was saved,” I heartily replied, with my Sunday school smile. “Then, Alvin,” he continued, “what is the best thing you can do for someone else?” The answer was obvious. Yet I was immediately embarrassed at it because I knew my life did not reflect the joy of introducing others to the Jesus whom I knew so well. Almost four decades later I’m much more confident in God and thus far more effective in my witness.
- We must rethink the way we understand and practice evangelism. Therefore we must evangelize missionally and conversationally. If we keep doing what we are doing we will keep getting the results we are getting, and we are not reaching young adults and the next generation well. Engaging people in evangelistic conversations out in the community where we work and live is vital today.
- We must recover an understanding of evangelism and discipleship that sees them less as one of two options to choose and more as a process we embrace. Therefore, we must evangelize completely. We don’t just want to reach the lost; we want to make disciples who grow and share Christ and make disciples as well. We don’t want decisions, we want disciples. We don’t want converts, we want radical Christ-followers.
- We must understand the spirit of the times. Therefore, we must evangelize holistically. Evangelism is less a technique and more a lifestyle, less a method and more a movement. The Western Church has been in decline for longer than we would like to admit. The notion that we should simply do what we have been doing, only better or with more passion, must be rejected. On the other hand, the idea that the key to the future is a new method that meets the times misses the point. Separating evangelism from the life of the believer in a compartmentalizing manner must not happen. We must always be growing and learning so we can take the timeless message and communicate it in a timely manner.
Do you believe this to be true?
Do you believe that people need Christ?
Do you believe that salvation from the sin that affects all humans is only found in Christ?
Do you believe that the gospel of Christ is good news for your family, friends, and neighbors?
Do you believe that God wants to use you and can use you to show and tell others about Jesus?
If so, pray that God will give you the vision, courage, and love for others you need in order to share Jesus with someone else.
Then, join us on this exciting journey. You don’t have to do this by yourself; partner with others who are also wanting to learn how to be faithful witnesses of Christ to their neighbors. Get involved in a group, attend the Wednesday night class on The Art of Neighboring, listen to the sermons in person or online so that you can gain insights and inspiration for sharing Jesus with others.
The world needs Jesus.
Let’s show and tell the world about him!