I’ve heard people say that public evangelism takes too much time. A 4-6 week meeting is too long and impractical. How shall we answer that?
The bottom line is that evangelism does take time. There’s no doubt about it. No matter what form of evangelism a church or individual engages in, it will take time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a cooking school, a personal Bible study, or a public evangelistic event. It all takes time.
But some people specifically put the blame on public evangelism. It is said that holding a 4-6 week series of meetings is too long. “People are busy. They don’t have that kind of time in our modern world today. “
While it is true that our world is a very busy place, I am still amazed at how people from the community (guests) will still make the effort to attend public evangelistic meetings. Every meeting I conduct I still see these people (even in 2012) who come almost every night, even though they live extremely busy lives. Why? Because they are hearing things they’ve never heard before. They are hungry for truth. The preaching of God’s Word has captivated their hearts. They’ve never heard prophecy presented like this and they want more. They long for a real experience with Jesus. The Holy Spirit draws them– and they come each night– even though they have other things to do.
Typically, when we conduct a full evangelistic series for 5-6 weeks, when it’s over the local church begins another set of meetings right away (one week after the first set is over). The local pastor or elder teaches a Revelation seminar using a workbook that goes through Revelation chapter by chapter. This second seminar though is at a slower pace– usually once week. And people still continue to come for another 4-5 months! (However it is true that you cannot go for 4-5 nights a week for an indefinite period of time. You have to slow down at some point)
Is there a place for shorter meetings that are only 2-3 weeks in length? Absolutely, if there is sufficient pre-work and a church already has strong interests who have been studied with. But I think we make a mistake when we shorten meetings only because we don’t want to spend 4-6 weeks conducting them and interfere with our normal lives. Because then when the meetings end abruptly, just when people are really interested, then we lose the people because there is no follow up.Everyone is tired and wants to quit the process. If shorter meetings are part of an overall evangelism strategy the church is doing all year long, then yes, shorter meetings can be effective. But if we shorten meetings just because we don’t want to put a lot of time into it, then they won’t be effective. They will be a dud! And it won’t be because public evangelism doesn’t work! It’ll be because the church doesn’t work!
Don’t be afraid of full scale evangelistic meetings that last 4-6 weeks. It is not outdated. And the proof is that people still continue to come.
If I may be bluntly honest, I will say this. It’s not really the guests who are saying it lasts too long. It’s the church members who sometimes don’t want to take time out of their busy schedules to assist with another set of evangelistic meetings. The attitude is: “We’ve heard this before. We know the message. We’ve done this enough.”
May God help us not to be like the church of Ephesus who had “lost their first love.” When this message becomes boring and mundane to us, then we are in serious trouble.
God continues to draw people who are hungry for His Word. May the church continue to be hungry too.
Please post your comments………