What Is Evangelism?

Good question! “Evangelism” has often been reduced to a simple formula that “the other” is invited to accept and believe. But evangelism—literally “gospeling”—is much more than that. As Resonate’s Gospel Witness Guiding Team puts it, it’s about bearing witness to “the good news of God’s reign, grace, and love in and through Christ for the redemption and renewal of all things: personal, communal, and systemic . . . through the embodiment, proclamation, and demonstration of God’s sovereign work. God’s people participate in God’s mission holistically as contextually engaged, grace-filled, truth-telling co-workers with the Spirit for the reconciliation, peace, and justice (shalom) of all of creation.” 

In other words, “evangelism,” or gospel witness, is about who we are and how we live in our everyday lives and relationships. It’s about a lifestyle and the postures and practices that reflect, embody, and proclaim who Jesus is and what God has done for the world God so loves. 

The implication of this, of course, is the reality that we are evangelizing as those called, equipped, and empowered by the Spirit all the time. Unfortunately, our witness has not always been positive and accessible. Factions of the church have throughout history distorted or even obscured the good news. We also tend to distance ourselves from the “others” in our communities such that there’s no chance they’ll experience salt, light, or the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit. The shalom, justice, and mercy of God’s gracious rule has simply not come near. 

So where and how might you begin to bear witness to God’s good news—to evangelize? How about right where God has sent you: by getting to know and love your neighbors, by inviting them to your table, listening to their stories, becoming friends, sharing your lives, and together discovering how both of your stories are part of God’s good story? 

In doing so, I think you’ll ascertain that the Spirit has gone ahead and is already working out our salvation and the restoration and renewal of all things for the sake of God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s glory right next door.

About the Author

Karen Wilk is a Go Local catalyzer with Resonate Global Mission and Forge Canada. She is a pastor of Neighborhood Life (a home church movement) in Edmonton, Alta., where she also enjoys being a wife, mom, and neighbor. 

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Comments

Great post! One minor suggestion - instead of always inviting them to YOUR table, show up humbly at theirs. 

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