Sports are a huge part of my life. A very large portion of my childhood memories revolve around sports. Even now, when I am not actively participating in sports, my family enjoys watching the masters, college football, March madness, and any other big sporting event. It is an event at my house. We all settle in with food (of course) and get ready to enjoy the commentaries, action plays, and to watch history in the making. We have witnessed Tiger Woods at the top of his game. We saw Michael Jordan dominate the world of basketball. We’ve seen more than our fair share of college football upsets. We’ve seen hours of little league basketball.
Have you ever seen a basketball game? A college football game? Have you seen the game where the players all stand on the sidelines, completely trained, dressed, and able to play, but only the 2 coaches play the game? They play one on one basketball while the Lakers and the Celtics sit on the sidelines watching. Some of them cheer their coaches on. More often the players find themselves criticizing the moves and shots while their coaches are battling it out in this intense one-on-one game. Can you imagine it? You may be thinking that you’ve never seen this game. I’m convinced that this game is so popular and, sadly, widely known that you have no only seen it, but you have seen it every Sunday. It is the American church.
We sit in the pews. We are completely able. We are strengthened through the Holy Spirit and the bible promises that in Christ all things are possible. We are dressed for the game, equipped for the game, commanded to enter the game, and yet we are seated. We are believers so we have made it from the bleachers to the players’ bench, but here we sit. The game is evangelism. The winner gets a crown. We’re sitting here on the sidelines. Complacent. Sometimes we cheer our coach/pastor on. We participate in Pastor’s appreciation Sunday, we stop by the voice our approval after the sermon, we even send a friendly email with a clever scripture reference to let the pastor know we are on his side. But, I find, more often than I would like to admit that we sit on the bench criticizing his every play. What was he thinking with that play? That sermon? About tithing again? If he preaches about marriage one more time… We even get mad at his game decisions. We get mad when we’re sick and he doesn’t call. We get frustrated with his schedule.
He battles week after week to herald the gospel to the community, to minister to the needs of the body of believers, to disciple believers, to teach, to baptize, to lead, to guide, to counsel, and on and on the one man army battles.
The great commission was not written to pastors. It was not written to deacons. It was written to all believers. Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, “All authority have been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” –evangelism is every believer’s responsibility. Teaching and discipling believers are each believer’s command from Jesus.
But the church does not function from evangelism alone; there is work to be done. The game is going on and we are sitting on the sidelines. The Holy Spirit has given each of us gifts and talents when we were born again and we have been made ready for the service of the Lord. Not that we are saved by works or anything but the Holy and precious grace of God, but James would argue that a sincere faith produces works. James 1:22 “But prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
We will never win the game only playing one player at a time. Would you be willing to get off of the bench, get a little sweaty and dirty, and help win the game?
Thursday we take a day long trip to Washington DC for evangelism and people group interaction. Pray that God would give us opportunities to share his gospel and that people would come to know christ as a result of these opportunities. Pray for good weather and pray for the safety of
families as they begin the world of evangelism with children.