Is Evangelism The Gospel?
Imagine a buffet. See the towering stacks of plates, the orange heat lamps, the steam rising. The freedom to pick and choose however much (or however little) you want. Now imagine modern Christianity. A choice between the many perceived in-roads to salvation. Pick one or a few based on culture, theology and denomination. Do these individual pieces make up the gospel? Absolutely. Can we choose a few and leave the rest? Absolutely not…
Picture this: you’re at the buffet. Grazing along. Minding your own business. Secure in the comfort that everyone’s there to do the exact same thing—eat bad until it hurts. When all of a sudden, like a boy scout in church, someone walks by with their tray loaded to the heavens with salad. “Well looky-loo! Mister Healthy Pants…”
Then you start to calculate the calories on this imposter’s plate. Bacon. Cheese. Ranch. Chicken strips. Croutons. Gummy bears—What…Don’t judge me. Can you guess where I’m going? What aspect of the gospel often gives the greatest impression of effectiveness without ever actually accomplishing anything?
I’ll give you a hint. It starts with an E and rhymes with Vandalism. And here’s the part that hurts. In the West, we’re really good at one kind of evangelism. The kind that involves setting up our church or pastor with the perfect alley-oop. We could score with this move all day long. Just get ‘em in the door… When the truth is, many of us have never even shared our faith with another human, one-on-one…
So where exactly does evangelism fit inside the gospel message, and why are so many people mistaken about its perceived benefits as the end-all-be-all? While it’s true that evangelism is a command (Matthew 28:19), if we think the gospel is merely about numerical growth—even healthy, organic sustained growth—we’re missing something.
We can’t claim evangelism as our gospel lifestyle, no matter how good our systems are. Evangelism is a byproduct of inner transformation, spurred on by our personal relationship with the one who made us.
Any dependence on evangelizing as a chore is just another deception called the Segmented Gospel.