When we think of evangelism often what comes to mind is a particular technique or method to share the gospel with those around us. These methods tend to come and go, with some enduring longer than others. I like the method found in John 9 with the blind man. He simply said, “I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). Few would argue with the effectiveness of a person sharing how Christ has changed their life. When Christ makes a “new creation” out of someone, it speaks volumes to a watching world.
There is another important aspect, which doesn’t seem to get much press these days. I am speaking of the words of Jesus in John 13:35. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This verse is not talking about evangelistic method or apologetics (defending the faith). Rather, it has to do with the example we set in the Body of Christ. What Jesus is saying is that the way we relate to one another as Christians really does matter. J Mack Stiles puts it this way: “biblical love, practically applied in the church, is the greatest image of the gospel we offer the world.” Mark Dever adds to that in saying, “God intends to display his glory through the local church today, as Christians live together in patience, forgiveness, justice, mercy and love. We reflect God’s own character by the character of our congregation’s life.”
I believe that we need to be intentional and creative in our evangelistic endeavors. All around us there are people who are searching for hope, purpose, and joy in life. It’s only through the saving work of Christ that they will find that. But we must not forget (especially in our individualistic society) that God created the church for a reason. The Body of Christ is to reflect Christ, as we love one another. Love, one to another offers a compelling witness to the world. Conversely, a lack of love has the opposite effect. We’ve all heard people say they would never become a Christian because so and so is such a lousy witness.
What about you? Have you committed yourself to a local congregation? I realize that not all people will agree with me on this, but church membership is important – very important. More than anything, it shows that you are committed to loving your brothers and sisters in the Lord. When you take this step, it will go a long way in making you an effective witness for Jesus.