Evangelism: The Life-Blood of the Church
Michael Green made a statement in concluding his look at the evangelism of the early church by saying that, “Evangelism was the very life blood of the early Christians: and so we find that ‘day by day the Lord added to their number those whom he was saving’. It could happen again, if the Church were prepared to pay the price.””
This is a true statement; The call of Jesus Christ before His ascension was to go into the world and to make disciples, but we must be careful not to read our ideas into the word evangelism.
When Christ told his disciples that had gathered to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-19), he was calling them to go as well as telling them, “as you are going”. This is what drove the early church, and what would become the “lifeblood” of this movement of Christ followers. We can’t miss that this was the mission of Christians, not just a mission for Christians.
The second part of his statement, “It could happen again, if the Church were prepared to pay the price” should cause us to pause as well. We must be look at this carefully and not take it to mean that it is all on us to make things happen. Jesus promised that, He will build His church (Matthew 16:18), but He has ordained that He will use His people equipped with His word in order to do this.
Peter may have had the best analogy for this when he called us, “living stones” (1 Peter 2:4-6). Christ has promised to build His church and He is using us to do it. We are to be active in the process of Christ’s building His church.
Ultimately, Green’s call is not so different than the call of Christ, and the call of the scriptures. You’ve been reconciled to God, now point others to that reconciliation with the promise that God will do the work in hearts and present to Himself a glorious church.