Read Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world-like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead,a lamp is placed on a stand,where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way,let your good deeds shine out for all to see,so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (NLT)
When Christians think about evangelism they very often think about an evangelistic event. We put something on that we figure might interest outsiders,or that we figure outsiders need to know about. Then we try to urge church members to invite people to the event and we hope and pray they get converted.
It can work,and in past times it has worked quite well. But there are a few problems with this ‘event’ mindset. One is that the world has changed and people are further away from church-based events than ever. Another is that we have to face the fact that many church members don’t know all that many non-church members in any meaningful way. Perhaps because they are too tied up with organising church events!
And these events don’t have a great recent track record. For all the effort put into them the returns are not that great. They might give us momentary satisfaction that we have done our bit for outreach but not much more.
Such events are certainly not essentially wrong,nor are they to be written off. But we need to take heed of the consistent teaching of the New Testament,highlighted by Jesus’ words here,that our witness is first about our quality of life and only in that context do our words or any special events matter. Early Christians didn’t so much organise outreach events: they lived Christian lives and trusted the Spirit of God to be at work as a result. Evangelism was an ongoing process rather than a humanly organised event.