Community that fulfils the Great Commission
These days, churches cast their own vision and mission statements, which I believe is a good thing as each church has its own local conditions, history and culture. But no vision or mission statement can deviate far from a church’s most basic calling, which is to bring the Gospel to every corner of the world, that all peoples may become disciples of the Lord, and to pass on this faith to the future generations. The church, in essence, is thus a Great Commission community.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commanded us to “Go!” This is a command, a charge to take action. We are to be proactive and determined in bringing the gospel to all mankind.
How do we go about doing that? We have many channels, such as Gospel Sundays, Chinese New Year or Mid-Autumn or Christmas Evangelistic Rallies, Alpha Course, and D2B (from Doubting to Believing) program. We also try to be the light and salt of the world for Christ through various social services.
Not about programmes or events, but disciples’ lives
The majority of outreach and evangelism ministry in churches is community-centered. Take for example evangelistic meetings – Gospel Sundays, Alpha Course, Gospel Tea Fellowships are either whole-church events or group evangelism. We tend to think that just by participating or inviting non-believer friends, we are indeed doing evangelism. Sometimes, church-organized evangelistic events unintentionally allow us to develop an attitude of dependence in doing evangelism.
I am convinced that evangelism is not just an activity that disciples participate in, but rather evangelism should be a disciple’s life – an evangelist’s life.
An evangelist, no matter where or when, never forgets to lead someone to Christ – whether it is an old classmate one bumps into on the MRT, or a stranger asking for directions along the road, or the stallholder you meet frequently at the hawker centre.
Every now and then, a high school friend would meet me for a meal, and we would catch up on the latest news about our families, and views on various current issues. A few weeks ago, he suddenly told me that next year when he turns 55 years of age, he plans to be baptised, and asked if I could baptise him. I was overcome with thankfulness for I knew his wife had been praying for him with great perseverance for many years.
But what is really behind all these channels? It is the disciple’s life.
Keeping the fire of evangelism burning in our lives
A disciple who lives out the life of an evangelist does not wait for the church to arrange or plan activities, but is one who multiplies disciples within his own circles.
I know a brother who indeed lives out such a life. He started a football team and invited a few non-believer youths that he knew to come and play football with some youths from the church, thus providing opportunities for sharing the Gospel.
Another brother who travels often always takes the opportunity to share his faith with others, no matter where he goes. Once, when he was on a flight, he shared his testimony with the stranger sitting next to him, and led him to accept Jesus Christ. Whenever you talk to him, you can sense his enthusiasm and joy in evangelism.
Not long ago, we commemorated Methodism’s founder John Wesley’s revival on 24 May. He once said, “The world is my parish.” May the Methodist Church be an evangelistic community, fervent in testifying for Christ and bringing people to Christ.
The Rev Dr Gregory Goh –
was elected President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) in 2016 for the quadrennium. He joined the CAC in 1992 and has since served for 24 years. He is married to Irene Lim, a full-time teacher, and they have two daughters and a son.