Most believers would agree that the church needs an outward focus. However, only 1 percent of our churches actually grow evangelistically. Such a small percentage of evangelistic growth in churches points to a disconnect between saying we need an outward focus and actually having one. Why does the local church need an outward focus? Consider the following six reasons.
Christ commanded us to go.
Matthew 28:19 says “Go and make disciples.” In Greek, “make disciples” is an imperative command, while “go” is a participle (technically, a participle of attendant consequence) that takes the force of the imperative. We can’t fulfill the Great Commission by doing one without the other. In these words that Jesus spoke, “go” carries imperative force.
The mission field is vast.
When I was growing up in Chester, South Carolina, people of different faiths were Presbyterians and Methodists. Today, my good neighbors are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or adherents to any number of other religions. We’re not going to reach this kind of diverse mission field by waiting for them to come to us.
The lost can’t come to us.
Someone who’s dying doesn’t need a hospital address; they need an ambulance. The Bible tells us that lost people are physically alive, but spiritually dead. We must stop expecting the lost to come to us. We must go to them.
Sharing your faith is a basic component of discipleship.
In John 9, we see how much the blind man grew in his knowledge of Jesus as he shared his faith. At first, he declared Jesus to be no more than a man (v. 11). In the end, he declared Jesus to be his Lord and his God (v. 38). Sharing your faith helps you grow in Christ.
Witness transforms worship.
Most of us don’t share the gospel because we’re afraid. But fear is an act of worship. A holy fear of God is good. An unholy fear of man is misplaced worship. When we share the gospel, we put aside our fear and grow in our faith, which points our worship in the right direction.
Keeping the gospel to ourselves is a compromise with culture.
Western culture separates public scientific facts from private religious values. In other words, we can talk about the weather all day long, but our culture expects us to keep our religious opinions to ourselves. One of the biggest reasons we don’t share the gospel is because it’s considered socially unacceptable. Keeping the gospel to ourselves might make us more acceptable to culture, but it renders us irrelevant to God and his mission to redeem and restore this broken world.
Portions of this article were originally published by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.