The London church was crowded with worshippers who had come to hear the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon. Before he begins his message, Spurgeon makes the most unusual request, “Go home, all of you who are regular members of this church.”
On that Sunday, there were as many people outside waiting to come and hear the Gospel than faithful worshippers inside. Spurgeon wanted the faithful to leave to make room for non-believers who had been turned away simply because they could not fit in the building. Perhaps the amazing part was that most everyone left, and the auditorium filled again. A crowd of non-believers had a chance to hear the Gospel for the first time.
This was not the only time Charles Spurgeon challenged people to go home and make room for the lost. He and his church were willing to sacrifice their own spiritual edification for the sake of the lost. I would say that qualifies as Passion for the Harvest.
During the last 50 years, churches all over the world have made serious changes to become more friendly to those who are unfamiliar with the Christian faith. From architecture to music, the service design, or even the name of the church itself, congregations have changed to accommodate the lost and break barriers to the Gospel. A good example of Culturally Relevant Evangelism.
Going to all the World
Missionaries of all nationalities and denominations leave the comfort of their cultures and move to distant, different, sometimes difficult places to share the message of Christ with people they have never met. They learn a new language and culture just to communicate the Gospel. Sometimes the process takes years, requiring both passion for the harvest and a
cultural sensitivity and relevance.
The Example of the Apostle
Passion for the Harvest and Culturally Relevant Evangelism are two of ILI’s Eight Core Values. Both are required for evangelism. Paul famously said,
I have become all things to all people so that by all
possible means I might save some. - 1 Corinthians 9:22
It takes passion to be culturally relevant. Paul would never compromise the integrity of the Gospel itself, but the way he communicated the message changed with every cultural circumstance.
Two-thirds of the world still have not made a decision for Christ. If you and I are to be effective in reaching them, there will be sacrifices required. Here are some areas where you may have to sacrifice if you want to reach the lost:
- Saturday morning "rest" to give love to children in a poor part of the city.
- A favorite Christian worship song (whether it be John Newton or Chris Tomlin) to play something the lost can relate to.
- A personal “image” by hanging out with “those people” (add your own group here).
- Some material wealth and give to the less fortunate.
- Health and well-being to come near, and even touch, those who are ill and dying.
My small list of sacrifices is inspired by actual examples of people or congregations. I hope I have inspired you to consider other “sacrifices” you could make in order to make it easier for the lost to come to faith in Jesus. I hope you can put some of these to practice.