The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
The gospel doesn’t change. The message preached by Christ and the apostles is the same message we preach today. However, the methods used to convey the gospel have changed continuously over the last 2,000 years.
Jesus Christ walked from town to town and village to village, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. His apostles did the same, although some traveled much greater distances—by land and sea—to spread the gospel.
Open-air preaching has been a popular and powerful method of evangelism from the Day of Pentecost, to the Great Awakening, to the era of tent and stadium revivals, and beyond. People have gathered for centuries in church buildings to hear the gospel. The good news has been taken from house to house and door to door. Billions of gospel tracts have been distributed. The Word of God has been broadcast across the globe via radio, television, and satellite. Missionaries have traveled to the far corners of the earth with God’s message of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Through the years churches have adapted to the changing face of evangelism by holding revival meetings, teaching members to share their faith, promoting small groups and home Bible studies, and connecting with their communities through event based and service based activities.
And we’re not through changing. As the culture changes the way it views, hears, and responds to truth, the church must find new ways to reach the changing culture with the unchanging truth of the gospel.
Todd Maurer, minster with First Christian Church in Washington Court House, Ohio, has been preaching the good news for more than three decades. In “21st Century Evangelism: the Message, the Method, and the Madness,” Todd draws on his love of fishing (and fishing strategies) to challenge us to be flexible and creative as “fishers of men.”
In “Friends Across Faiths,” The Lookout interviews Andrew Wood, Christian university professor, and Stephen Ausband, a medical doctor and practicing pagan. Andrew and Stephen are high school friends who reconnected after 20 years to find themselves at opposite spectrums of belief. Their article describes how the two men have carried on a dialogue about what each believes in a context of friendship and respect.
Ben Merold has served vibrant, growing congregations with integrity, consistency, and faithfulness. During his 22-year ministry with Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton, California, the congregation grew from an average of 185 to 3,000. Moving to St. Charles, Missouri in his mid sixties, Ben led Harvester Christian Church from 200 to more than 3,000 weekend worshippers. In “Some Things Never Change,” Ben brings us back to the heart of the gospel, reminding us that while the methods we employ to win the lost will change as we reach a changing culture, what we preach about the Bible, the cross, and grace must never change.
The Great Commission comes first. We may dislike the changes we see in our culture, but we can’t let them keep us from making disciples of all nations. As the apostle Paul noted, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).