Go and Make Disciples
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 20:19)
Go and make disciples? Let’s face it, evangelism is scary. Most people would rather visit the dentist for a root canal rather than ask their neighbor to visit their church. It is frightening to think about exposing ourselves to ridicule and derision if we should happen to invite someone to join us at church and they are offended. With the negative (and sometimes deservedly so) press that Christians receive, it is no wonder that we can feel stereotyped as judgmental, close-minded, and a group of people who frown at any fun. We are viewed as a place with lots of rules and lots of things we tell people not to do.
With these kinds of perceptions about Christians why then should we even try? Should we just be content with the numbers of people who worship with us on Sunday morning and hope that people are desperate enough for a relationship with Christ that they will wander through our doors? This is clearly not a biblical position to take since we are commissioned by Jesus to go in to the world and make disciples. We don’t need to stand on the street corner with a bible and a bullhorn shouting at passersby. But we do need to feel the urgency of sharing the good news.
The Great Commission to go and make disciples is much more effective when the Great Commandment is also included with it. Love of God and love of neighbor should always be included in any evangelism we do. Evangelism is about relationship. God wanted renewed relationship with the whole world, and He sent His son Jesus so that we could experience true relationship and true love. Think about what first drew you to Calvary. It may have been the preaching and the music that attracted you, but it was the relationships that made you stick around.
Our congregation is by no means an exclusive club. As a matter of fact we have no limits on the number of members we would like to have join us in relationship with God and one another. We have an obligation to our friends and family to be sure that they hear the message of life contained in the gospel. But we have to invite them first. Imagine if you had a birthday party but didn’t send out any invitations. No one would show up.
This summer we have an opportunity to invite some friends and family members to events at Calvary that are a great “non-invasive” way to evangelize. The first will be our Interactive Film Series beginning on June 15th at 6:00 p.m. We will provide pizza, popcorn, and interactive props along with a guide for their use during the movie. On the back of the guide we will also provide some talking points that will help to explore the faith messages that are present in each of the movies. We will be watching The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Wizard of Oz, and The Incredibles this summer. Each of these movies are family friendly, appropriate for all ages, and will be made even more fun by the audience participation and interaction. These movies provide us with a great opportunity to show others how much fun we can have together as a group and can provide a way to share the gospel in a less frightening way.
Vacation Bible School is another great evangelism tool. Do you have a friend or a neighbor who has a passion for crafts, or for preparing snacks, or who has some children who need to be entertained for a week? We need puppeteers, registration helpers, singers, bible study teachers, group leaders and more. Do you have friends with these skills? Invite them to join us. Registration forms for VBS are in the narthex and on our church website. Helper signups are in the narthex or you can e-mail me at email@example.com to ask about helping.
These are great opportunities to dispel the stereotypes of who we are, and to show people all of the things we get to do. We get to have fun. We get to experience Godly play. We get to build relationships. We get to experience the unconditional love of God. We get to come together in a safe and secure environment where we can celebrate the many ways that God has created His people.
Go ahead. Invite a friend to experience Calvary this summer. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Rev. Lori A. Cornell