Healing and evangelism are usually treated as separate issues for the church. Putting them back together is critical to our future success.
Everyone is called to be a witness. So teaching Christians how to share the gospel with their friends and neighbours is really important. However it will not bring the big breakthrough that is needed.
The ministry of the evangelist is really important. Most Christians assume evangelism means preaching, but preaching at crowds does not work in many places, because people feel intimidated and badgered. The evangelist often hammers people into repentance by focussing on sin, which leaves people feeling condemned. Most people do not like it.
The New Testament describes a different approach. That healing/evangelism model is different (and used throughout the gospels and Acts).
There are different couple of differences about this approach.
Heal someone sick in a public place.
A crowd gathers and people ask, how did this happen.
The evangelist preaches the gospel by explaining what Jesus is done.
This model of evangelism has not been seriously used by the church for about 1800 years. This explains why such a great gospel has been far less successful than it should have been.
The crowd gathers because they are curious about what they have seen. They want to be there. They are free to sneak away, if it gets uncomfortable. This produces a much more conducive atmosphere.
The preacher does not have to prove God’s existence, because the proof is standing at the front of the crowd.
The preacher does not have to badger the people, because they will often be asking what they need to do.
The preacher does not have to prove Gods grace and love, because that is evident too.
The focus of the preaching is different too. It does not need to browbeat people into repenting, but explains what Jesus has done, and explains to the crowd how they can get it.
I believe that if we are to see the big turn around for the gospel, then we will have to get back to that healing/evangelism model. We already know that nothing else works. We have this healing/evangelism model, but we have not tried it. The solution seems obvious.
The other side of this issue is that the ministry of healing has been totally distorted and abused. Most prayer for healing take place at the front of the church and is for Christians. It has become a form of entertainment for Christians and a tool for building up big name ministries.
The gift of healing is actually a gift for the lost. They are currently being robbed of gift that God wants to give to them. We will not see a real manifestation of the gift of healing until we take it out in the markets and villages where it belongs and give it to unbelievers in the way that Jesus and the apostles did.
Unless we can bring healing and evangelism together, we will not see the real explosion in evangelism that many Christians are dreaming about.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Healing and Evangelism
This is a direct and complete repost of a very insightful post by Ron McKinzie of Blessed Economist. His take on the role of Healing related to Evangilism is great. I hope he doesn't mind. His blog is a regular read of mine and I commend it to you.
Posted by Gene at 6:43 AM