Pastor Ron Thompson: Come and Go Christians

Pastor Ron E. Thompson

Question: Is it more important to gather in prayer and worship, or go out and talk to others about the Lord? That is like asking, which is more important: To inhale or exhale? The most important choice depends on which one you do last. For example, some congregations just take in all the spiritual blessings and nothing else, but in a healthy church there is balance. Or, as I heard one speaker say: “It is sort of like a football huddle. Nobody watches a football game where the players stay in the huddle all the time. In the huddle, the plays are made, and a strategy established. Then the players go out and the runner with the ball gets his nose smashed! Then the huddle looks good. One reason the huddle looks so inviting to some is because the last play has not been run.”

Evangelism begins with our obedience to God, but it also reaches out to others. It is like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time! It is a simultaneous movement toward God and toward humanity. Like the eye of a hurricane, we have a verticalrelationship to God: Peace withGod and the peace ofGod. But we also have a horizontaldimension, a force that impacts the entire world as we share our faith in the plan, program, and power of God as seen in the light of Jesus’ words: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). This principle I term: “Come and Go Evangelism” and those who practice it are “Come and Go” Christians. A few biblical examples support this truth.

The disciples came to Jesus, “Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14 NLT). No wonder that these ordinary men “turned the rest of the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 TLB). People also “recognized them as men who had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NLT). Notice that their going forth was in the fullness of His power.

Mark 1:17 records these words from the lips of our Lord: “Jesus said to them, ‘Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish’” (GW). You will notice that Jesus first wants to establishment a relationship. Then He takes us the way we are and sculptures us into fishers of people, evangelizers, those who go out and catch others for Christ.

Many of us are familiar with what is known as the Great Commission, located in four separate places in the New Testament. The best known is found in Matthew 28:18-20 TLB: “He told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and earth.Therefore, go and make disciples in all the nations,baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’”  Notice that Jesus is telling us to make disciples of all nations. These marching orders were given by the resurrected Christ to His disciples and, “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:17 NLT). Evangelism was taught as a way of life that included Christ’s power and presence. God’s program for the church corporately and Christians individually is come and worship, go and tell! We must not neglect the importance of being with Him so that He can empower us and send us out as His witnesses. Therefore, the answer to the question proposed at the beginning of this article is that both coming and going are equally important.

The God of the Bible calls us to Himself and sends us out at the same time. We are invested with a ministry of evangelism in which His Spirit personally accompanies us, giving us all the power, wisdom, and equipment, we need. Our success is guaranteed. With Him and through Him “come and go” Christians cannot fail. That includes us!

[Republished from Hurricane Evangelism, 2017, by the author]

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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