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Engaging with the community

When we think about evangelism and how to bring people towards Christ we have to ask ourselves about the first steps along that pathway. If I were to ask you what the first step would be, I think that all of you agree that we need to engage with people.

According to Colin Marshall and Tony Payne we are not very good at this! In “The Vine Project”, they write,

“Most evangelical Churches (Bible believing) in the western world have little or no engagement with their local communities” (The Vine Project).

Of course, we have to ask ourselves whether this is true for us. You see they are looking at how the church has moved over the last 50 years from being the centre of so many of societies important events to the fringes of society. In the past the local church might have been engaged, even by a non-believing community to have their children baptised, or where they would get married and even where a funeral might take place. The pastor was often seen as a respected person in the community and someone you might engage with in times of grief and despair.

However, this is no longer the case or hasn’t been the case for a long time. Payne and Marshall write,

“The cultural gap between ‘world community’ and ‘Church community’ is becoming a chasm. Church is either a non-existent irrelevance or a harmful fringe group with bigoted attitudes.”

I think Payne and Marshall have correctly summarised the problem we face in engaging with the community around us. Of course, the solution to the problem requires a certain amount of risk and energy. On a personal level,  it requires Christian people to engage with non-Christian people and to be involved in the lives of people in their workplaces and in their communities. We need to know that Jesus said that we are the light of the world, we are the salt of the earth.

Why not chat with your spouse and family about this? Always remember WHY this important:

Without Christ people will be lost and lost eternally!

Gerald