Sheep Among The Wolves

Q. I have a question about “The Great Commission” in today’s world. I have found churches that emphasize this to the point where new converts are expected to become instant evangelists, as untrained, ill-equipped, and almost Bible-illiterate as they may be. As a result, they don’t do such a great job “saving” others and face failure and frustration at nearly every turn.

This often leads to feelings of discouragement and guilt, as the person thinks they have failed Christ by not filling the church with converts like the Church leaders continuously exhort them to do. One can even doubt their salvation in the throes of all this negative experience, and the joy of being saved and building a personal relationship with God through prayer and study becomes at risk. That’s my two cents. What do you think?

A. I don’t agree with the way some pastors turn members of their congregations into an unpaid sales force sent out to canvas the community. It’s a particularly bad idea when they’re new believers or have neither the training nor the aptitude for such activity. From the Bible we can see that the Lord spent time preparing His disciples before He sent them out and equipped them with miraculous powers to give them credibility (Matt. 10:8). Evidence that His methods worked is shown in the attitudes of the returning disciples.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17)

The Great commission tells the Church to teach all the nations about the Lord. There are several proven methods for doing this effectively and all of them require preparation. If we don’t provide the necessary preparation, we shouldn’t apply the method because we won’t get the desired results.

Personally, I believe that the Lord has gifted some to be evangelists, and I’m not just talking about the big names (Ephesians 4:11-12). I’ve met people from all walks of life who have a God given talent for talking to people about the Lord. These folks are far more productive than everyone else combined because they’re not working in their own strength. I think churches should look for the people like this in their midst, give them whatever preparation they need, and turn them loose in the strength of the Lord.

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