Dubois Gilliard, Director of Racial Reconciliation at Evangelical Covenant Church, Discusses How the Church Can Effectively Evangelize

Dominique: Amid increasing political polarity, the church must be reminded that Christianity cannot fit neatly into partisan politics. Both the left and the right are inadequate. Neither party is God-ordained, and both have championed principles that are antithetical to the Kingdom. In this critical moment, we must remember that our hope is exclusively in Christ, and that our ethics, values, and virtues must be biblically rooted.

Moreover, the church is called to be a prophetic presence in the world, not merely an echo chamber that only resounds once there is no longer any social risk involved in speaking up.

However, far too often, fear prohibits us from faithfully responding to the needs around us. Fear domesticate our witness—be it the fear of being perceived as “too political” when we strive to embody passages like Proverbs 31: 8-9, Matthew 25, or 1 John 3:16-18, or political fear-mongering—which both parties deploy—that we succumb to, which leads us to “other” or dehumanize individuals made in the image of God.

In this watershed moment, we must remember the wise council of Dr. King, who said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

Dr. King also spoke about the urgent need for the church to recapture its prophetic zeal and remember its missional purpose. In his legendary “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he wrote, “Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being ‘disturbers of the peace’ and ‘outside agitators.’ But they went on with the conviction that they were a ‘colony of heaven’ and had to obey God rather than man… They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.”

King continued, “Things are different now. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.”

This bleak picture that King paints is the situation the church finds itself in today. And, because of this, as King predicted, many people believe that the church has “become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

Ed: Evangelism has especially fallen on hard times. It seems that everything else—even good things like discipleship—has overwhelmed our passion for sharing the love of Jesus with others. What does evangelism look like today, and how can we begin to develop a passion for showing and sharing the love of Jesus on a daily basis?

Dominique: Today, effective evangelism is just as concerned with demonstration as it is proclamation. For far too long, evangelism—within many context—has been solely defined as oral articulation. The world is tired of hearing about God’s love and not seeing it demonstrated. People want to see a counter-cultural witness that is fashioned after the life, ministry, and teachings of Christ.

The world desperately desires a church that is more known for what it is for, rather than what it is against. The world is yearning for our words to be legitimized through our love; for one another, the least of these, and our enemies. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Additionally, today, effective evangelism is concerned about the whole person, and not just saving souls. Evangelism must be holistic if it is going to be good news in the here and now, and not just in the afterlife.

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Source: Christianity Today