Moving Away from “Bricks and Mortar” Evangelism

Multiply is designed to encourage every believer and every church to see disciple-making as the center of their mission. Even for those who recognize this imperative, however, there can be a misunderstanding in terms of how the task of making disciples is carried out.

In their book Transformational Church, Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer make the following observations with regard to the church’s method for obeying the Great Commission:

“…..Early believers desired transformation of the lost more than they desired comfort for themselves. The emphasis on seeing people changed by the power of Christ must outweigh other desires. For years Christians in North America had the luxury of depending on attractive churches and programs to be their proxy evangelist to our culture. It is ‘bricks and mortar’ evangelism. The church facility and the corresponding activity served as the entity tasked to draw the lost to Jesus. In past years, in specific regions in the U.S., this approach to evangelism worked. But the track record of success in the past is not always good.

 An entire segment of our current Christian population believes that giving, building, and inviting is good enough to keep the church on track as the evangelist to our culture. Some Christians think that if lost people could only hear the pastor preach then God will take care of the rest. As our culture becomes increasingly less churched (or interested in church), we are forced to move our methods further back in history to a more ancient approach to reaching people. Some call this the transition from the come and see evangelist church to a post-Christendom go and tell missionary church. That is not to say that “come and see” is over. It’s not. Be we need more ‘go and tell.’

 The church is no longer (in most places) the local evangelist. It is now the missionary. Being buried in the culture to display Christ in daily life is a critical issue. If the church is positioned in culture as the missionary, the members must learn to live like it. Terms like making disciples, outreach, and evangelism must be understood in the larger framework of the mission of God. God glorifies Himself through the transformation of sinners into saints. God’s mission is entrusted to us to be missionaries in a world to which we hold no allegiance. Rather, we are ambassadors on a mission to persuade all others to follow the King.” (206-207)

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