(Our next worship service is February 13 at our retreat at the ECO Lodge in Fargo, Georgia. Feel free to stop by)
Last week, a friend sent me this question:
Regarding today’s intro lesson, the concluding action was to go out and follow Jesus’ instructions to teach and heal. Under which of these is evangelism or is it a part of both? Another alternative is that the act of going out to teach and heal is evangelism. What do you think?
This followed a study of the Up-In-Out triangle and Luke 6:12-19. Here’s my response, with a few additions and edits for clarity. (By the way, I’m posting this with his permission).
Great question, probably a better one for a conversation than an email, but here’s my answer. Now, we were talking about how Jesus did “Out” in that particular passage. You may remember that “Out” is about meeting the world’s needs with God’s love, grace, and power. Evangelism, teaching, and healing are all forms of that. They all have this in common: they are distinctive practices associated with advancing God’s Kingdom.
One way of looking at it – there would have been no one for Jesus to minister to at “the level place” mentioned in Luke 6:17-19 without someone sharing the good news (evangelism) that Jesus was doing amazing things and that Jesus would be there. So evangelism is vitally important for ministries of teaching and healing. Jesus himself launched his ministry with an evangelistic message (from Mark 1:15), “The time is here. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
So, I wouldn’t call evangelism an alternative to teaching and healing. Rather, they are complementary. To over simplify: No one would have shown up without evangelism. However, the evangelistic message would have proven empty without a life changing ministry taking place (healing and deliverance in the case of Luke 6:17-19). And finally, people may well have misunderstood what was most important without the follow on teaching ministry.
There would need to be an invitation to meet Jesus (evangelism),
a real encounter with Jesus (healing)
and then help to understand what had just happened (teaching).
Depending on where and with whom the activities took place, all three would fit within “Out” – and of course, there are many other forms of “Out”.
There’s so much more to say, but again thanks for the question!
Hey, by the way, I sometimes write on my church’s web-site about things that are helpful for mission and discipleship. Would you mind if I posted your question? (I can edit out names and the personal correspondence if you’d like)? Let me know!
God is good!