In the circles I travel in, in the theo-sphere, I don’t hear much about “sharing the faith.” David says in the Psalms that ‘he did not keep the Lord to himself’ (my paraphrase); Paul says that sharing the faith is our reward, and if not, our obligation. Many, many times I’ve heard Christians say that ‘sharing the faith’ isn’t their “gift;” meaning that they’ll leave it to those “gifted” with the “gift” of Evangelism. I say nonsense! Certainly there are those who have that kind of “gifting,” but the Lord has commanded all of us to go out and make disciples of men (of the nations).
Something that I’ve noticed in both the Evangelical and Reformed worlds, that because of this underemphasis of Evangelizing — and thus lack of ‘new life’ in their local churches — their churches are rather lifeless. Oh sure many of these churches support missions (which is commendable); and sure, many of these churches have created programs to attract believers from one church to their church (or have created programs to meet the ‘felt’ need of folks, never really getting to the ‘real’ need), but there isn’t an active voice (from what I’ve observed) for the Gospel by most churches in their local communities.
We are called to Evangelize, in other words, ‘preach the good news’ (literally); we can’t just ‘live it’ (that’s part of it), we have to speak it (like John says: “in word and deed”). And I don’t think pulpits, churches, and thus many Christian folks are doing a good job of that — the sense of obligation is gone, or at least what it means to Evangelize has been so “contextualized” that the actual Gospel has gotten lost somewhere in the mix. The reality is, is that the Church grows by conversion not assimilation; that people come to ‘faith’, “by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”
If you wonder why your church is so dead, it’s probably because your church doesn’t have any emphasis upon ‘preaching the good news’ (from the pulpit, in your community, in your city, in your region, and thus in the world). Don’t “self-con” yourself into thinking that your church has a great missions program, that’s not enough; we are to be busy about building the kingdom right where we are. The fields are white to harvest, are you ready to take part in that; or are you going to watch the fields go to seed?