Evangelism is sharing the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ with an unsaved person/people to provide the opportunity for them to respond to God’s call and to receive God’s offer of eternal life with him. Our motivation for evangelism should be our love for our fellow man and concern for their eternal destiny.
A person’s salvation is the beginning not the end of pastoral care for each individual God has given to a pastor to shepherd. One critical component of healthy spiritual growth (sanctification) is a basic theological understanding of who God is (his characteristics and attributes), who we are (why we act the way we do), and how we develop our personal relationship with God.
So What is a Concerned Pastor to Do?
How can we present the doctrines of the church and the verities of our faith in a manner that encourages our congregation to go deeper into their relationship with God? What do we do after our people are saved/reborn/have a personal relationship with Jesus? Where, other than Bible colleges or seminary, can we find resources for study that help with the deepening of a person’s faith?
Many of those in our congregations have an idea of who God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are, but they do not really know them. They say they love Jesus, but do they know what they can do to enhance that love? They say they understand they’re children of the King, but do they know what that position brings them? Do they know what their purpose is here on earth? Do they walk with the Lord on a daily basis or is he a Sunday kind of thing?
Strip Away the Trappings of Denominationalism
In today’s world of increasing virtual opportunities to listen to sermons, to church hop, to find messages pleasing to themselves, we need resources that ground people in the faith, so they can understand what they believe and why. We need to strip away the trappings of denominationalism to return to the basics of Christianity. Someone once said that Christianity unites people through a common belief in Jesus Christ. Denominations unite people for other than a common belief in Jesus Christ. So what the essence of Christianity? Should we be teaching our people these truths rather than just what is necessary for salvation? What can we do when we only have a short time to impact people for Jesus?
We need to teach our congregations that God is not just for Sundays, but he is for every minute of our lives. We need to teach them he is reachable for our every need. We need to teach them the basics, so they will have the will and the way to delve deeper into his Word. We need to teach them to walk with him as they go about every aspect of their lives.
God is in Control
As Steve Brown of Key Life Ministries wrote in his latest newsletter, “God’s sovereignty relieves us of a great responsibility—the responsibility of assuming the role of God. No matter what we do, say, or think, no matter if we succeed or fail, no matter if we do it right or wrong, God is still in charge, things are under his control, and in the end, ‘every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth’ (Philippians 2:10).”
The purpose of our writing Experiencing God’s Love in a Broken World, was to give pastors a resource to help people who want the answers to these questions, and to give them a tool they can use as well. May you be richly blessed in this season of crisis and change.
Deb Haggerty is a lover of God, a wife, and a mother. Born in Benson, Minnesota, she earned her BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and her MBA from Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. Following a successful career, she purchased Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., a Christian publishing company in 2016.
Roy Haggerty is a lover of God, a husband, and a father. He has a BA from the University of Miami, Miami, Florida, and has taken courses towards a masters of theology through Reformed Theological Seminary. Roy retired in his mid-sixties and has spent his time immersed in Bible study and a study of modern politics. He has taught Bible studies for over twenty-five years.