I am in the first stages of a sermon series on "The Purposes of the Church." On Sunday I preached the first of these sermons. For the next 6 weeks, I will talk about 6 purposes of the Church. I will then spend at least one post the week following the sermon to talk about the purpose that I preached about the previous week.
The first purpose of the church is clearly defined in Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission). That purpose? To reach the lost for Christ or EVANGELISM. Evangelism is the one thing that we are asked to do as Christians that seems to be the most intimidating to most people. While there are many "methods" of evangelism out there, I would rather focus on 3 principles that Jesus used to attract people and let those principles become our principles for reaching out to the lost.
The first principle is that we must have LOVE for people. When you look at the ministry of Jesus, you see that he attracted crowds because of His love for them. Check out Matt. 14:13-14; Mark 10:21; Matt. 9:36-38 for a few examples of this. When we have a love for people it will help us to have the right attitude toward them. We will see them as Jesus sees them and that in itself will lead us to the next step.
The second principle is that needs must be met. If someone is hungry or hurting, they won't be able to focus on the message--they simply want their needs met. Jesus didn't look down on people that had a need, instead he reached out--he fed the hungry and healed the sick. When the physical needs were met, His message was able to be "heard." We need to realize the same thing today--if we want to reach out with the gospel, we need to be willing to deal with the pain in the lost's lives first.
Finally, when we share the gospel, it must be done in a practical and interesting way. Jesus taught truth, but He did so in a way that was both interesting and related to life. He often used parables to get His message across to the people.
So, if we truly want to be the evangelists that the Lord calls us to be, we need to love people, help meet their needs, and present the gospel in an interesting and relevant way. You see, we are are called to be evangelists--the only question is, "Are you a good evangelist or a poor one?"