As I write this the complete audio of all sessions of the Building Healthy Churches workshop can now be downloaded here.
Mark Dever kicked off the third seminar on the gospel, conversion, and evangelism, with a warning instruction to all pastors:
” Do not assume that these three areas are ok or understood in your congregation. The Gospel, Conversion, and Evangelism”
He then proceeded to give us a test by instructing us to tell the person sitting next to us the gospel in 1 minute or less. This was pretty awkward for me since I’m am not comfortable around people I don’t know. But its amazing how when you start telling the goood news it just flows from inside you and it’s hard to keep it to just a minute.
What the Gospel is not:
1. It is not that we are OK. We sin.
2. It is not ” God is love”. ( He stated that this statement is like the newspaper article that says “cold weather causes temperatures to drop”)
3.It is not “Jesus wants to be your friend.”
4. It is not living right.
We are not to assume the congregation knows what the Gospel is.
On thoughts of conversion:
We as pastors need to present conversion accurately. There must be evidence of change in the person’s life. Repentance & belief is a gift from God and it includes our actions.
Evangelism is sharing the Gospel
1. Who should Evangelize – All Christians
2. How should we evangelize- 1. Honestly 2. Clearly 3. By praying for non-Christians ( Evangelism is not being “social” and it is not apologetics)
3. Why should we evangelize? – Because God told us to. We love God and wanat to see Him glorified.
I see the danger in assuming that all church members know the gospel and have had a conversion. While these principles are nothing new it is important to make sure our message is clear to all people.