If the past year and a half has been anything, it has been a season of declarations. Between public health mandates, the election, and wide-scale demonstrations, one declaration after another has dominated our social media streams, news reports, and even our daily conversations.
In all of the noise, every declaration and every voice behind has attempted to capture attention and drive the narrative in their direction. But I want to propose that God’s people rededicate their energy and focus to the declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
With so many challenges in our society, it’s easy to become reactive. But God has called us to be proactive. He has given us a message that we must declare—the gospel.
This is what the Apostle Paul did everywhere he went—he preached the gospel. As he wrote to the church at Corinth, he reminded them that he had declared the gospel to them, and then he recapped the actual message of the gospel: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you… For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3–4).
This past year has seen the world crying out in need. The virus, lockdowns, political turmoil, and civil unrest have made many feel isolated, hopeless, and more aware of questions surrounding eternity. Many people have started thinking more seriously about their lives, as well as what may happen when this life is over.
As we move out of the Covid-19 era of ministry, it’s important that we faithfully declare the gospel. Although church attendance in 2020 might not have been as high as in years prior, God has certainly worked in the hearts of many across our world. We have the opportunity to reach a world that may be more open than ever to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.
Ministry throughout this past year has drastically changed. Most of these adjustments came of necessity in order to satisfy government mandates. Although we may be eager to see some of these changes leave for good, some of the new approaches might be fruitful to keep. But regardless of the methods and programs we use, our lives and our ministries must be focused on declaring the truth of the gospel to the lost world around us.
Within the New Testament, we see three ways that we can renew our passion for declaring the gospel.
The preaching and teaching of God’s Word has always been the cornerstone of Christian evangelism. As Paul asked in Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” In an age where churches are watering down the message of God’s Word, we must be vigilant to boldly declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The world is desperate for answers, yet many preachers have stopped delivering clear gospel presentations. If the world can’t find the solutions to their problems from our churches, where can they hope to find them? Now more than ever, it is crucial that our pastors and teachers be prepared and equipped to deliver gospel messages to those who need them. We must unashamedly declare the gospel in every sermon or lesson we deliver.
Although this message has never been popular with the world, we should not let that deter us from sharing it. People still need it, and God is still preparing hearts to receive it. In fact, as a result of the pandemic, people may be more receptive than they have been in the past. Eternity is on people’s minds, and we can use that in our messages to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
In all our preaching and teaching, however, we must remember that our communication skills and spiritual gifting are not sufficient to convicts hearts of their need for Christ. We must rely on the Holy Spirit and the ability of the gospel itself to change lives. After all, the gospel “is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).
The responsibility to declare the gospel does not rely solely on the preachers and teachers in the church; every member is responsible to share this life-changing truth.
The reality is that the vast majority of lost people will not accidentally find their way into a church service. Often, even a personal invitation won’t be enough to bring someone under the sound of preaching. That is why God did not give the Great Commission to pastors only. Every Christian is responsible to obey Christ’s command: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
In a post-pandemic world, personal connections will be more productive than ever for effectively sharing the gospel. The extended isolations of quarantines and stay-at-home orders have given people a new appreciation for human relationships.
Tragically, many around us are feeling hopeless. According to the CDC, more than 81,000 people died from drug overdoses in the twelve months leading up to May 2021. That total is higher than any other year they have on record.
But in this time of worldwide despair, we have the greatest hope of all—the news of a personal and risen Savior who showed His love through a substitutionary death for our sins and who offers salvation as a free gift. Why wouldn’t we share this amazing message?
Start with the relationships you already have. Your co-workers, fellow students, and neighbors all need to hear the gospel.
But don’t stop there. Take advantage of other interactions as well. Be prepared to offer a tract to the grocery or restaurant clerk, the person next to you filling their tank at the gas station, or anyone else you see. You may be surprised at how thankful people are after this season of isolation for a kind conversational exchange and your care for them.
As vaccinations roll out and restrictions are lifted, local churches should strive to use every opportunity to witness. If people are hesitant to respond to door-to-door witnessing, consider canvassing a neighborhood with flyers or obtaining a list of new move-ins and visiting with a gift and invitation to church.
Nothing can open a door to share the gospel faster than humbly serving our neighbors. As Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” By being willing to meet the needs of those around us, we can demonstrate Christ’s love to someone who may otherwise never hear the gospel.
These serving opportunities will not happen by accident. We have to actively look for ways that we can show love to those we interact with. And we have to be purposeful in using those opportunities to actually share the gospel.
Churches can also seek organized ways to serve their communities. Bringing water bottles to people already out in public parks or offering to wash cars through a neighborhood—all with gospel invitations—are creative ways to create opportunities to share the gospel. The world is in more need of help than ever before. If the church strives to find ways to meet needs in the community, we will also be finding new avenues for us to declare the gospel. People will be more receptive to listen to a gospel presentation after you have done something for them.