It is clear that the biblical idea of evangelism is the verbal sharing of the gospel message. Problems arise when the term is applied to any activity or ministry of the church. Examples include "servanthood evangelism" or "lifestyle evangelism". The failure to verbally share the gospel would make it clear that the term is incorrectly applied in these cases.

Don't get me wrong, serving others and living our lives in a manner that glorifies Christ is certainly required as well. Unfortunately, calling everything 'evangelism' can create the temptation to try and get "off the hook" of sharing the gospel by performing these less confrontational acts of service under the banner of evangelism.

Another problem is that many Christians are tempted to equate the number of converts to successful and/or faithful evangelism. It is a time to rejoice when anyone comes to faith in Christ, but we must not get down on ourselves when the numbers don't come. We must always be mindful that it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.

Finally, it is most urgent to guard against the sin of pride when the Lord does bring many people to faith. I have personally seen too many churches that advertise the number of "converts" they've experienced as a sign of their health and faithfulness. This is VERY dangerous! It is clearly a man-centered device that flies in the face of Scripture and exalts man & method far above Christ, the gospel, and the work of the Holy Spirit.

This is an issue I could write much about, and wish I could do it justice here. My prayer is that I have written something that will provoke accurate biblical thought on this important subject. May God grant us all the boldness and humility to faithfully & verbally proclaim His gospel and leave the results up to Him.

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