What Is Church Planting and Evangelism? (Episode 8)

What Is Church Planting and Evangelism? (Episode 8)

 
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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via email:

What is church planting and evangelism?

Christians have always emphasized the importance of evangelism. Lately, I have also noticed more people talking about church planting. How are we to go about evangelizing? How do we “plant” churches? Rather than following the “experts” in the religious world today, we need to look to the apostles and the pattern they left for us in the New Testament.

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Does Persecution Cause the Church to Grow?

Persecution

Following the death of Stephen, a time of persecution began against the church in Jerusalem. The result of this was that the disciples were scattered and the gospel was preached and received in other places.

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).

The early church faced much persecution. It also experienced a lot of growth. We do not experience the same degree of persecution today (at least not in this country). We also do not see the same rate of growth (generally speaking).

Because of this, some have wondered if we might see more growth if we experienced persecution. If persecution and growth seem to go together, does that mean a lack of persecution will result in a lack of growth? It is a good topic to consider. So let us examine the question: Does persecution cause the church to grow?Continue Reading

The Sect That Is Spoken Against Everywhere

Paul in Rome

When Paul came to Rome as a prisoner, he was permitted to meet with the Jewish leaders in that city. The apostle used this opportunity to explain why he was there – not as an enemy of the Jewish people but that he was suffering “for the sake of the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:17-20). The Jewish leaders had not heard about Paul, but they had heard about the church.

They said to him, ‘We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere” (Acts 28:21-22).

The church was this “sect…spoken against everywhere.” Why was this the case?

When we study the book of Acts, we find several reasons why the church was “spoken against everywhere.” As we follow the same pattern that they followed, this will often happen to us as well. We will be “spoken against” by others. It is not that we should seek out trouble or conflict. Paul told the Romans, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). However, we do need to be prepared for this reality.Continue Reading

The Christian and the World

Man in Forest

One of the more interesting books I have read was The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. This book describes a man – Christopher Knight – who disappeared in 1986 and was not found until 2013. For twenty-seven years, he lived alone in the woods in central Maine without any contact with others. The way he was able to survive in the woods – not just for part of a brutally cold Maine winter, but for almost three decades – was fascinating, despite his unethical methods (stealing in order to acquire supplies).

One reason why a book like this was so popular – it was a national bestseller – is because we are intrigued by the idea of one who was able to disappear into the woods and continue his life without interference from the world around him. There may be times when we wish we could escape from the world, yet we know that this is not practical or realistic. We all live in a society and necessarily need to interact with others.

As Christians, there is a “relationship” that we have with the world. Jesus described it in the following verses:Continue Reading

Identifying the Lord’s Church (Part 4): What Is His Church to Be Doing?

Identifying the Lord's Church

As we begin this final lesson in our study, let us be reminded of what we have learned so far. Jesus built one church and His church is to follow His will as it has been expressed in the New Testament. Those who make up the Lord’s church are those who have been added to it by God upon believing, repenting, and being baptized.

Once we are part of His church, we need to know the work in which the church is to be engaged. After all, it is His church and we are blessed to have been added to it; therefore, we should seek to do His will. So in this final lesson, let us consider the following question: What is His church to be doing?Continue Reading

Evangelism, Converts, and Bearing Fruit

Apple Orchard

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:35-36).

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2).

In many different passages, the Bible talks about the importance of bearing fruit. While there are many ways in which we bear fruit as Christians, it is common to connect this to the work of evangelism. This idea can be represented by the following statement:

Evangelism + Conversions = Bearing Fruit

Continue Reading

Hindrances to Evangelism

Invitation

Generally speaking, Christians recognize the importance of evangelism – the practice of taking the gospel to those who are outside of the body of Christ so they have the opportunity to hear it and obey it. Yet what often happens is that there are certain obstacles (real or perceived) that hinder our efforts in this vital work.

In describing the work of evangelism, Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). His point was that he and Apollos were simply to be engaged in the work and leave the “increase” (KJV) in the hands of God. The reality is that there are certain things that are out of our control – especially when it comes to the interest of those whom we are trying to reach. But Paul was not focused on final results, he was focused on his work – what he could control.

It is tempting to focus so much on results that we are either tempted to compromise the gospel in order to win more “converts” or we get discouraged when we do not see the fruit produced that we hope to see. Like Paul, we simply need to focus on our work. One of the ways we can do this is by trying to see what is hindering our work in evangelism. In this article, I want us to consider five of these potential hindrances and see what we may be able to do to overcome them.Continue Reading