Evangelism is defined as ‘the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness’ and is one of the most important functions of the church. The church is not meant simply to be a social club or a place where like-minded people gather, though fellowship and teaching are vitally important. It is the only ‘organisation’ that exists for the benefit of others, someone has said, and certainly the church that does not reach out will wither and die. We desperately need the passion and conviction shown by the early disciples to preach the word wherever we go and to reach out to our local communities with the love of Jesus and the good news that He brings.
Acts 8 shows us the importance of evangelism to the early church and also demonstrates the involvement of God in this outreach. We see Philip and others preaching to crowds in Samaria, but we also see the need for personal evangelism (Philip’s outreach to the one Ethiopian eunuch had huge consequences not only for the individual, but also for his country.) As a church, we need to be involved in corporate outreach (our youth club and Parent & Toddler group are examples of this, but there is also the Franklin Graham mission in Sheffield in June 2020 which could involve many of us and we need to ask God for revelation about other means of evangelism) and in personal outreach. Philip is an example to us of a man full of the Holy Spirit who was sensitive to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The things he achieved as a result were astounding. May 2020 be a year of sowing and reaping as we heed God’s call to make disciples of all nations, teaching others to obey all that Jesus has commanded, baptising them (as Philip did with the Ethiopian eunuch) and seeing darkness turned to light.