Pastor's Note - March 9
I write this from Orlando, Florida, where Russ Friesen and I have spent some time at a conference called “Exponential.” It started years ago as a church planting conference, but since has grown to focus on all things church growth, evangelism, and discipleship. The topic this year is “Lost Cause,” a play on words that asks the question of whether or not our great cause to reach the lost is a lost cause. Can and should we still be evangelists in 2022? According to a Barna Group study from a few years ago, almost half of millennial Christians said it is at least somewhat wrong to evangelize. However, around 95% said that part of their faith involves being a witness. This tells us that many millennials are confused about the role and definition of evangelism. We should ask what happened with the teaching and discipleship in our churches that this much biblical confusion has arisen. This actually gets to an underlying but unmistakable theme of this conference. It has been about evangelism, and how we can best evangelize in our world. And the unmistakable emphasis has been that what we really need is discipleship. Throughout the week, it has been rightly emphasized that our most effective evangelistic strategy will be raising Christians in our churches who know Jesus Christ, who display His love and goodness through the quality of their lives, who love their neighbors, and who are competent to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we want to be evangelistic churches, this is what we need: people who are lovingly and relationally able to talk to lost people in their lives about Jesus. How do we get there? Do you feel like you’ve been discipled (or trained or equipped – whatever language you prefer) to live the Christian life, and share that life with others who don’t know the Lord? If you don’t feel like you can do that, then it seems imperative to me that together we figure out how we make true disciples: disciples who are able to make disciples, who in turn make other disciples. This is what I’m praying for at CBC.