Over a span of about 25 years I have seen only a handful of churches in person I would consider “healthy.” Although rare, these churches were so skilled and effective at their mission that it would be hard to imagine anything better. For example, one of the best spirit-filled churches I know of was a small church of only about 200 people. Around a decade ago, and based in Walla Walla, WA, this church possessed the most outstanding men’s ministry I have seen anywhere, to this day. The Spirit of God was poured out…
Effective evangelism is the product of a heart burning for the cause of the unreached, the defenseless and voiceless. There is a compassion and desire for disseminating the hope of salvation and relationship with Christ which drives the evangelist. Its effectiveness is most obvious when the evangelist lives a specifically identifiable lifestyle, pointing to the likeness of Christ.
James emphasizes works as paramount for a Christ-follower (James 2:14-26) because he is establishing the correct definition for faith. Any talk of faith divorced from corresponding deeds is not faith, but rather a false imitator of the real deal. Put another way, faith is only alive and well when paired with active works. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works?” (James 2:14) To claim possession of faith yet being unwilling to exercise it through works of service (e.g. for the needy), is a complete contradiction of terms.
“Obviously,” replied Don Quixote, “you don’t know much about adventures. Those are giants, and if you’re frightened take yourself away from here and say your prayers, while I go charging into savage and unequal combat with them.1” The adventure-thirsty knight charged after his “giant” foes ignoring Sancho Panza’s warnings, only to be flung violently to the ground, bruised and disgraced. Even if taken literally and the thirty or so windmills were actually giants, Quixote would have been far outnumbered and ill-equipped to slay them.
Christians tend to find evangelism a foreboding or unattractive task. Christians may be reluctant to evangelize due to our North American culture’s over-saturation with the gospel. The culture has been overly permeated with shallow preaching, shallow examples of Christian living, and in some cases charlatans have grabbed the spotlight. All these influences, when taken together, give Christians and the Church a poor name. Christians intuitively know the message will be poorly received and therefore shy away from it. After all, no one likes rejection.