In this next season of evangelism, we want to keep finding relevant ways to help students and faculty become followers of Jesus, yet also connect to the body we call InterVarsity. We want to zero in on not only helping them cross the line of faith and commitment, but also helping them become the kinds of people who do what Jesus did for the reasons he did them. We want more than decisions. We want disciples.
Acts 2 is immensely helpful in this way. This passage highlights the powerful and deep connection between the role of evangelism and the growth of the community. We hope the following five principles will guide how we plan, approve, implement, evaluate, and measure our evangelism efforts.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
Evangelism and a movement of conversions begin and continue with prayer and a fresh personal encounter with God for those who witness in his name.
Contextualizes to Ethnic Groups & Other Subcultures
The gospel is contextualized across boundaries, differences, cultures, and nationalities—helping each person to hear God’s good message in his or her heart language. In this case, God used power gifts to cut to the heart, but we are also open to the many ways he may contextualize his message and love.
Offers Risky, Relevant, & Loving Proclamation
Witnesses try something that has never done before, stepping into what God is already doing and offering an interpretation for others even in the face of danger. But they do it while remaining relevant. They woo all who are near and far to respond, to embrace Jesus, and to join the community of God. And proclamation may happen at any level—ranging from one-on-one conversations, to small groups, to larger event settings—but the gospel must be articulated.
Invites Response & Decisions
Witnesses create the opportunity for people to respond to the living God. Repentance and belief are demonstrated with concrete public action. The community of God is a place where members old and new all respond to God’s emergent work in their midst.
Fuels Growth in the Community & Flows into Discipleship
Evangelism creates the pathway for relationship, for Christian community, for belonging, for family-like sharing, marked by great joy. Rich and poor are united in sacrificial generosity, worship, and love—seeking the good and flourishing of all. God uses the evangelist and the sharing of Good News to trigger a movement of conversions, to invigorate the community of God, and to reach and renew their surroundings. The new believers are welcomed into the community, are discipled in faith, and experience the power of the living God.