Evangelism Outweighs Mission

Next Wednesday with the Lords help, I’ll become involved in a new ministry at the local prison where I hold services once a week. After finishing the service at 9:30, there is just enough time to drive friends to Barrouallie, and then be back for the new ministry at 10:00!

while the two ministries are thirty-minutes apart, there is a pretty big difference between the two. The service is an evangelistic program focused on singing, prayer, and preaching of Scripture. The new ministry is part of a Government program emphasizing counseling. While the sessions are based on stories in Scripture, the focus is helping criminals see their effect on society instead of evangelism.

To put it simply…I minister to their spiritual needs at 8:30, then minister to their physical needs at 10:00.

A particularly difficult part of ministry is finding a balance between evangelism (meeting spiritual needs) and mission (meeting physical needs). Surprisingly often finding opportunities for mission isn’t the struggle, but there are TOO MANY opportunities for mission!

While serving in Australia my ministries during the week included:

  1. Visitation at a dialysis ward
  2. Running a conversational English group
  3. Volunteering at a food bank
  4. Homework club
  5. Computer tutoring
  6. And a teachers aid at school for children with disabilities

Obviously these are wonderful ministries, but they mostly revolved around “mission” and didn’t focus on sharing the Word of God.

On the one hand these ministries did allow me to build Gospel bridges into lives and share Christ. However they didn’t result in much spiritual fruit. Allow me to clarify ministering to physical needs is not a problem. But having a schedule that’s only filled with these kind of ministries is.

Because of this I made an emphasis in Barrouallie to focus on evangelistic ministries that could share the Gospel, and disciple others.

This is difficult in a way because it’s meant walking away from some ministry opportunities in order to emphasize outreach. At the moment my only missional ministry is doing reading help twice a week at a local school.

I am asking the Lord to help me become involved in more strategic mission opportunities in the local community. But at the same time my heart is content knowing that while evangelism isn’t as exciting as ministering to physical needs, sowing the seeds of the Gospel makes for a greater impact.

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