"Have a Heart & Go Share Your Faith!" - Hearts For The Lost: The Podcast

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The Importance of the Local Church

The Importance of the Local Church in Evangelism

Once long ago there was a pastor who noticed that one of his sheep had drifted from attending worship on Sunday. He resolved himself to determine the source of this so he made a calling on the gentleman’s home the following evening. “Pastor, what a pleasure to see you.” the surprised parishioner said when he opened the door. “Come in and take a seat next to the fire.” The Pastor followed him in and quietly approached the fire without saying a word. The parishioner watched as he picked up a poker and began the spread out the burning wood, separating it from one another. The bright warm fire began to dim and die out in the process. Immediately the wayward parishioner stated, “Alright, aright, I get the point. I’ll be at worship this Sunday.

God has called each of us to be in a local church. It is within the local church that discipleship, accountability, discipline, and corporate worship take place as well as the keeping of the ordinances; the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. God did not design us to work in isolation. Jesus Christ is the supreme authority for the church and He has placed Elders and Deacons to administer His church on earth. We are called to be under their authority and submit to their leadership. (Hebrews 13:17)

Stepping Away From the Local Church

While we maintain this to be true I have noticed too often that evangelism is done and organized outside of the authority of the local church. Most often this is because of a frustration with the lack of enthusiasm for evangelism by congregants and/or leadership. No doubt this can be exasperating. But this is no reason to step outside of the authority of the church and become the lone-ranger-evangelist. When this is done efforts will be unprofitable and sin will be crouching at your door because you have no accountability. Your witness will also be weak because you will not have the prayers and support of your local church. If this describes you then I ask you to repent.

Practical Ways to Be Obedient

You may be thinking, “But you do not understand my pastor. He offers no support for evangelism.” This may be true, but it is your pastor that has been called to lead and you to submit. But I am not going to leave you with no help. There are things you can do to help build a fire for evangelism within your own church.

  1. Pray for your church leaders and encourage them:  Now I’m not talking about imprecatory prayers. I’m telling you to really pray for them and their family. Personally, I have a reminder on my calendar prompting me so the business of life does not make me forget. Also send them an email telling them what you enjoyed about their sermon and avoid saying anything negative. Do not give them pointers or tell how R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur did the same message.
  2. Do not discuss negative things about your pastor particularly in front of your children: Give them the respect the position deserves. Use their titles and have your children do the same. Hold your tongue and remember that they are also sinners saved by grace just like you and can make mistakes.
  3. Ask your Pastor what you can do to help him: Notice I didn’t say tell him what you are willing to do for him. I spent years changing air filters and vacuuming bugs out of light fixtures. We are all servants of Christ and no one position in the body is greater than the other. Do it all for the glory of God.
  4. Talk to your Pastor about your passion for evangelism: Also tell him that you want to do so under the authority of the church. Even if he disagrees with your methods he will appreciate your willingness to submit to his authority and your passion to serve Christ.
  5. Start or submit to your church’s prayer list or chain those you witness to: This will engage others to pray for their salvation and for Christ’s glory in your efforts. This will also help others see what you are doing and become excited as well.
  6. See if your pastor is willing to allow evangelism training:  You could also suggest a conference like Hearts For The Lost. But be clear that you will be handling the hard work of leading, finding leaders, arrangements, and other duties. The last thing a Pastor needs is someone coming and suggesting a new program for him to implement.

When you begin submitting to Christ’s church and His leadership He will bless the efforts of your evangelism. The purpose of the local church is to bring God glory.  (Ephesians 3:21) What glory there is to His name when His beautiful gospel is declared by His church to the people of your community!

Grace be with you all.