LWA volunteer sharing the Gospel to street kids in Cebu City
If there's one thing that saddens me regarding how Christians and churches conduct evangelism other than the modern method they employ and the unbiblical message they deliver, that's the practice of several to have "target people" to reach out to. I've heard of churches that reach out only to the upper class members of the society. There are pastors that share the Gospel only to professionals. I know of a church that although they have outreaches to poor communities, they prefer to have only Chinese Christians as members of their congregation.
I have nothing against Christian groups that focus on reaching tribal communities and the lower class members of communities with the Gospel. The reason is because I strongly believe that their efforts are the result of an observation that these groups are being left out by most churches because of their preference to reach out only to the rich people and the professionals.
Allow me to give my reasons why I disapprove of having preferences of who to reach out to with the Gospel in evangelism programs.
First, when these target people are won to Christ and are organized to form a congregation, what we create is an environment that approves of elitism. This is not right because God, Himself, is not a respecter of people (Acts 10:34). Leaders of churches like this would argue that the rich is only comfortable to mingle with other rich people; professionals will only be comfortable with other professionals. That's why they have organized churches for rich people and churches for professionals. Please realize this... in Heaven, the rich and the professional Christian will be with Christians who were poor and uneducated while on Earth. So why not make everyone of these people comfortable with each other now and have them worship and serve the Lord in the same church?
My second argument against this practice stems from the truth that John 3:16 declares. It says that "...whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This all-time favorite verse clearly shows that the offer of salvation is to everyone, and not to only a few privileged people. This is the reason why our evangelism program should know no color, race, caste or class. When you go out to preach the Gospel, preach it to anyone God gives to you, whether he/she is rich or poor, educated or uneducated. Churches should have evangelism programs both for the rich and the poor, the professional accountant and the professional tricycle driver. Evangelism programs must target everyone.
We should be thankful that God did not single out anyone when He gave the solution to man's problem of sin. Be thankful that His offer of salvation is to everyone, including you. The Greatest (God) reached out even to the smallest person. No one is excluded to His offer of eternal life. It is just man who chooses not to receive His great offer. And because of this, let us share the Gospel without any preference and prejudice. Preach the Gospel to everyone!
God recently so kindly gave me and my family the chance to have a much-needed 4-day vacation at Boracay Island which was recently voted as the 2nd best beach in the world by travelers using TripAdvisor (read this). The place, with all its beauty, was such a big proof of the existence of God as Creator.
The place was also packed with people from all walks of life, including those of different religions. That's why we also took the chance to distribute Gospel tracts while there. One evening, God opened an opportunity for me to share the Good News to a Muslim vendor. I gave him our Finding Jesus tract. When I told him and his friends that "JESUS" was the name written on the front of the tract, they wanted to give the tracts back to me because they said they're Muslims and they don't believe in Jesus. I told them that there was nothing wrong keeping something like that and so they placed them in their pockets. I think my being their customer also helped.
After a few minutes, I was alone with the guy. I started asking how he started selling souvenirs in Boracay to further break the ice. Then I deliberately asked him if he thinks he's a good person. He said "yes" and from there, I gave him the Good Test. After failing the test, I also asked him if he is also able to 100% obey the commands and teachings of Islam like, if he is able to fast 40 days without cheating during Ramadan. He admitted that he had in numerous times, failed to abide by the teachings of his religion. I then pointed out that even the Koran talks about the need for a sinner to be punished for his misdeeds.
At this point, he understood that he deserves hell rather than heaven. Then I talked to him about Jesus and explained that despite being God, He gave Himself to be the sinless sacrifice to pay for man's sins. I gave the illustration of a man who all his life, believed that a rope cannot carry his weight, who is about to fall off a cliff. This man, because he really had no other option, will wisely forget his beliefs against a rope and cling to it with all his life. I further explained that whether he likes it or not, he really has no choice but to believe in Jesus because there is no other person who was sinless that made a sacrifice for others. I told him that Jesus becomes his Savior if he repents of his sins and he trusts Him for his salvation.
Witnessing to Muslims is not as scary as most of us think. Using the Law makes it easy to show others that despite their great efforts to look good in God's sight, we will always be a failure for God demands perfection for Him to allow us to someday be with Him in Heaven. Of course, a caring heart will always move us to conquer our fears so that we can share to them the Gospel.
Dennis Aglosolos, the Director of Living Waters - Asia, will be answering questions.