The Church CAN Change the World!

The church changes the world not by making converts but by making disciples.

John Wesley (1703-1791)

HT: @cslchsnmore


You Have to Be Different to Make a Difference

In the church today the tendency is to look at the world all the time and to see the tragedy of the world. That is perfectly right, of course; the church is to be evangelistic. But the question is, how is the church to be evangelistic? And I contend that what the New Testament itself tells us, and what the history of the church tells us, is that the church is most successful evangelistically when she herself is as she ought to be. Why are the masses of the people outside the church? I do not hesitate to say that the reason is that they fail to see in us anything that attracts them, anything that creates within them a desire to receive what we have, or anything that rebukes them and condemns them for their way of living. Not that we should necessarily put that into words, but it should be seen.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Possibilities of the Christian Life

When the Church Does Not Evangelize

Evangelism is the primary work of the Church, and when the Church does not evangelize, it becomes doctrinally cold, or, self-satisfied with its past achievements, will not produce fruit, and will shrivel in size. Evangelism will save a church from inroads of modernism — the two never exist together. True evangelism requires absolute confidence in the full gospel of the New Testament, and the deep conviction the only Christ can save men.

Wilbur M. Smith, Peloubet’ Select Notes on the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching: 1958 (Boston: W. A. Wilde Co., 1957), 90.

The Test of Evangelism

Here finally is where we must all evaluate the contribution that our life and witness is making to the supreme purpose of him who is the Savior of the world. Are those who have followed us to Christ now leading others to him and teaching them to make disciples like ourselves? Note, it is not enough to rescue the perishing, though this is imperative; nor is it sufficient to build up newborn babes in the faith of Christ, although this, too, is necessary if the first-fruit is to endure; in fact, it is not sufficient just to get them out winning souls, as commendable as this work maybe. What really counts in the ultimate perpetuation of our works is the faithfulness with which our converts go and make leaders out of their converts, not simply more followers. Surely we want to win our generation for Christ, and to do it now, but this is not enough. Our work is never finished until it has assured its continuation in the lives of those redeemed by the Evangel.

The test of any work of evangelism thus is not what is seen at the moment, or in the conference report, but in the effectiveness with which the work continues in the next generation. Similarly the criteria on which a church should measure its success is not how many new names are added to the role or how much the budget is increased, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes. The ultimate extent of our witness is what matters, and for this reason values can be measured only by eternity.

Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2010), 105-106.