As Moderns, we’re tempted to see evangelism as mostly an individual activity: one Christian working one-on-one with an unbeliever. That’s certainly one means of evangelism, as the New Testament shows us (Acts 8:26-39).
But the book of 1 Corinthians shows another approach. The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians in Corinth, spends most of his time addressing problems inside the church. Paul doesn’t tell the Corinthians to go out and beat the bushes for converts; he shows them how to get their own act together. But there is a place where building up the body and saving the lost come together. In 1 Cor. 14, Paul explains that when the church gathers for worship, prophecy builds up and encourages believers. At the same time, if an unbeliever hears those words of prophecy, “the secrets of his heart are revealed, and so he will fall on his face and worship God and declare that God is really among you” (1 Cor. 14:25).
The church today doesn’t have to wait for another prophet to come into our assemblies to build up, encourage, and convict. There’s plenty of prophecy in the Bible to do the job just fine. If our churches are proclaiming the Word of God faithfully, then we’ll not only bring new believers into fellowship with God, but all believers will grow in fellowship as well.
(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley