As we’ve been going through our sermon series on evangelism, I have been considering more often than normal how a non-believer would feel in our Sunday gatherings. I’m aware that talking about evangelism might present an awkward situation for a non-believer to sit in on. That it could come across like an “insider meeting” on how to talk to them.
So I want to say a few words about the purpose of our Sunday gatherings, and who we are trying to speak to in our sermons.
Our Sunday gatherings are open to anyone, believer, non-believer, skeptic, those from other religions, whoever. We want anyone to be able to come to our services, and we want the church to feel comfortable inviting people from all walks of life and with varying beliefs and convictions.
Now, I do believe the primary purpose of Sunday gatherings is for equipping the church for life and ministry and mission. Giving spiritual meat from God’s word for the maturity, strengthening, upbuilding of believers.
However, I believe you can do this while also communicating something relevant for non-believers. And a big reason I believe this is because both what believers and non-believers need to hear is the gospel. The gospel is not just something that saves us initially, but something that continues to ground our identity, worth, and hope. So we preach the gospel every week, but we preach it for everyone.
Furthermore, as I put together services and write sermons, I am always considering both believers and non-believers. I want to present biblical propositions in a way that doesn’t assume everyone already agrees with them. While my primary intent is to present God’s word for the building up of God’s people, I also want to make a case for the truth and centrality of God’s word to those not yet convinced.
Now, that doesn’t mean we tone down the gospel message, sanitize our services so that they’re no longer uniquely Christian, or the like…the gospel is offensive to our pride; there’s no getting around that.
But we can still present it as clearly and convincingly as possible, and we can support it by being a friendly, welcoming community. Which, by God’s grace, I believe we are.
So invite your friends, neighbors, and family to church. Not so that you don’t have to share the gospel with them, but so they can hear the gospel again, as well as see a community of people rooted in the gospel.