[by Kurt Maeyens, Director for the Dutch and German-speaking ministries]
The BEM is working on a new vision. At this exciting time we want to be depending entirely on God as we consider how to reach Belgium with the Gospel. But in this context we can also make a few observations. I’ve noticed that, in the churches, many questions are being asked about evangelism these days: how should we evangelise today? How can we best communicate with a society that doesn’t know Jesus at all (or not yet)? When we meet people who react with annoyance, disbelief or downright rejection, is evangelism still relevant? So increasingly, the church becomes a place where we meet like-minded people who share our world-view, where we can speak openly about our faith, have good discussions about anything and encourage each other. The church has become a safe haven. There’s nothing wrong in that, it’s understandable, but… little by little, the church becomes more concerned with its own internal functioning than with its primary mission, which is to go out into the world. The church becomes like a fortress where we feel safe, because we’re protected by other believers, but then at the same time it’s also becoming a place those who are seeking don’t feel comfortable visiting. From time to time the drawbridge is lowered and we organise an evangelistic event, but afterwards that drawbridge is soon raised again.
So how can we take the Gospel to those around us?
1. We need the touch of the Holy Spirit on us as believers, and as a church. Acts 1 v.8:“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses …to the ends of the earth.” We need to step out in faith, to dare to go out into the world, and to become authentic witnesses.
2. We need to find in God’s Word, the principles which show us how to reach the world. Matt. 28 v.19:“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Our principal mission is clear: to make disciples and equip them to become witnesses and make disciples in their turn.
3. We need to look at the world around us through God’s eyes. Matt. 9 v.36a“When He (Jesus) saw the crowds, He had compassion on them.” God looks at a lost world with compassion and so must we.
4. Evangelism is not first and foremost about bringing people into the church, but about bringing the church and the Kingdom of God to people.
O God, open our eyes so we can see You at work!
And you, will you join us in this prayer?