Living Evangelism

Did you know that originally, Church of Christ ministers were referred to as Evangelists? Evangelists, from the Greek word euangelion (εὐαγγέλιον if you want to get really Greek-nerdy) which stems from the Greek word meaning “good” (εὔ) and the verb meaning “I bring [a message]” (ἀγγέλλω). Literally translating as “I bring a good message,” the ministers in the Churches of Christ identified themselves as ones bringing and proclaiming this good news first and foremost.

Yet, the Great Commission which Jesus gives to bring this to all ends of the earth does not just lie in the responsibility of the ministers of the church. Rather, this is a job which we are all called to be doing in our lives. In my last post (which I have again been slacking with), I discussed Niebuhr’s “Christ and Culture” and how we as the church should be influencing and transforming the culture around us.

The apostle Paul said that he has “become all things to all people, that [he] might by all means save some” (1 Cor 9:22 NRSV). Yet, in this Paul never bent or watered down the heart of the Gospel, which to Paul was the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God. So how can our youth today be doing this in their lives?

Chances are, our youth are involved in some sort of extracurricular activities. Of the youth in my church, I have kids who play football, basketball, baseball, tennis, cheer, drill team, band, choir, cross country, and theater (off the top of my head). They are also involved in other school clubs and activities, as well as friend circles. Being a football player and a band kid are two completely different things. Your focuses, terminologies, and often times interests are different. You can incorporate Jesus into these circles, relating him through analogies and metaphors that peers can understand while not forsaking the heart of that message.

At some point, all of the examples fall apart so do not look to tear it down. Relate it to those around you just as Paul did. Talking about Jesus to a Jew and to a Gentile were two COMPLETELY different things, yet Paul and the disciples did it and did not forsake the heart of the message. We as parents/adults can do this in our daily lives as well. When we do (and we should be doing this), we are able to teach and model for our children how to do this. That way we can raise them up in the ways of the Lord as we are taught in Deuteronomy.

The Great Commission is a call for all Christians, young and small. Adults must not be too proud to learn from younger people. Paul tells Timothy “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Let us teach our children to do this without fear. Let us all live our lives as evangelists, bringing the good news about Jesus. This is the only way we can truly transform our culture for the better, which can only happen through Christ.

Being an evangelist does not mean always having all the words. It does not mean giving a nice long sermon. It means living a life evident of Jesus and showing others this as well. Do not just talk the talk. Also walk the walk. Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes of St. Francis of Assisi – “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry

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