The Task of World Evangelization
In six New Testament narratives we are charged specifically with the goal of world evangelization. These include Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:45-49, John 20:21-23, John 21:5-22 and Acts 1:4-8. By examining the words in each of these narratives, we can see the various aspects by which the world may be evangelized.
Receive the Holy Spirit! (labete) This is a mandate for pneumatic evangelization, whose dominant characteristic is the outworking of the Holy Spirit. It is prayer evangelism, and involves renewal in the Spirit and intercession. For example, home churches in China have been known to meet for 24 hours and do nothing but pray for their fellow Chinese.
Go! (poreuthentes) This is a mandate for preparatory evangelism, whose dominant characteristic is “sowing the seed.” This is “pre-evangelism” in which Christian deeds help lay the groundwork for Christian witness. For example, many Christian relief agencies bring medical teams into countries for preventative health care, laying the groundwork for major evangelistic campaigns.
Witness! (martyres) This is a mandate for presence evangelism, whose dominant characteristic is its unorganized, private nature. It is personal, one-on-one evangelism. For example, many Middle Eastern Christians must be discreet, quiet witnesses for Christ, allowing their lives to demonstrate Christianity and choosing their moments of witness with care due to persecution.
Proclaim! (keruxate) This is a mandate for proclamation evangelism, whose dominant characteristic is its organized, public nature. This is preaching evangelism. It is best exemplified by large crusades like those conducted by Graham, Bonnke and others.
Disciple! (mathetesuate) This is a mandate for persuasion evangelism, whose dominant characteristic is convert-oriented discipleship groups. This might also be called pressure evangelism, as it constantly puts the weight of apologetics, debate and discussion on those who would deny the Gospel. It can be seen in “seeker’s” groups, discipleship units and “coffee houses” where the Gospel is discussed.
Baptize! (baptizontes) This is a mandate for plantation evangelism, whose dominant characteristic is the planting of churches. This form of witness occurs when unbelievers witness churches being planted and Christianity growing.
Train! (didaskontes) This is a mandate for pedagogical evangelization, whose dominant characteristic is its orientation toward ministry. It might also be termed pastoral evangelism. For example, the presences of seminaries, open-air teaching, and theological training centers have an evangelistic effect.