How Ministry Becomes Evangelistic
When it comes to ministry in the church, some brethren like to hear the at least two words “discipleship” and “evangelistic.” They want to hear “discipleship” because ministry is part of being a disciple of Christ. Disciples serve. And, then some like to hear the word “evangelistic” in connection with ministry because ministry that is not evangelistic is not full ministry.
Should all of our ministries in our congregations be evangelistic? In other words, should the ultimate purpose of any ministry be to win souls? In short, the answer is “No.” Many of our ministries are designed to accommodate the brethren in worship, in public Bible study, in encouragement, etc. Of course, such ministries are designed to assist brethren in remaining faithful.
However, when we are serving non-Christians, I personally believe that our goal is to see folks come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Some may disagree with me.
Examples of Ministries that Could be Evangelistic:
Meals on Wheels
In some very real sense, just about any ministry in the church could be evangelistic
How to Make a Ministry Evangelistic:
It starts with intent. Each ministry needs its own mission statement; a mission statement states the ministry’s intentions. If the ministry is to be evangelistic, its intent (to be so) should be mentioned explicitly in the mission statement of that ministry. Let me illustrate this with a very well-known ministry in the Lord’s church:
The Church Education Ministry (the Bible School). A suggested Mission Statement could be: Bible classes on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings are offered to provide in-depth study of God’s Word for those who are searching for what the Bible teaches about their salvation, the classes also exist for those who wish to grow in Christ and enjoy the fellowship of like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ, and for those Christians who wish to bring their non-Christians friends and relatives so they can hear the truth and hopefully obey the gospel.
Yes, this is a bit wordy, but it illustrates the intent. This statement, though lengthy, states several intentions (goals or missions) of the Bible study ministry of the local church including the salvation of lost souls. Most of our ministries in the church are ‘internally’ focused (for church members) versus being “externally” focused (for the lost). In most cases, with which I am familiar, our Bible class ministry is church-centered (for church members and their children).
Most of us know that Bible study (Sunday School and Mid-Week Bible study) is intended for the saved and for children. Yet how many congregations actually ‘gear’ their Bible studies for the lost as well as the saved? You may be asking, “Does our Bible study have to be evangelistic?” I think Bible study is only half of what it could be otherwise. Read Matthew 28:19 which I believe is saying “Teach the lost and teach them again when they are saved.” My paraphrase.
The same could be said for your other ministries. They could be evangelistic as well as be designed to edify or accommodate the brethren. It all goes back to intent, and the proper or appropriate action will follow the intent, especially if the brethren leading and working in that ministry are serious about their mission statement.
It was the late Clayton Pepper who said that every ministry in the church should be designed to reach the lost. I believe he was right. The church is the means by which the world will come to know the wisdom of God (see Ephesians 3:9-11). This can be accomplished through the ministries of the church.
When we fail to be evangelistic in all we do in the church, our growth is minimized or non-existent. Possibly this is one explanation of the lack of numerical growth in the Lord’s church over the past several years.
Ministry simply put is living out the gospel; it is the way that we are most like our Lord, who emptied himself and took on the form of a servant.
Travis Irwin, Athens, TN