At its simplest, evangelism is reaching out and sharing the Christian gospel with those who have not yet received it. While Christian denominations vary in their approaches and methods of evangelism, the emphasis they place on evangelism and even their interpretation of the gospel message, they agree that evangelism is the attempt to bring those who are outside Christianity into the faith.
Of all the objectives of evangelism, the simplest is obedience. The Gospels record Jesus' command, "Go into all nations and make disciples of all men." For the Christian, sharing his faith with unbelievers through preaching, evangelistic outreach, personal witness or being involved in practical, social outreaches that share the love of God with people are ways to obey Jesus' command. Many Christians consider pleasing God through obedience to be their foremost goal. Because of this, one objective in sharing the gospel with others is simply to do what God has told them to do in the Bible.
The main objective of evangelism is to allow people who have not heard -- or have not yet accepted -- the gospel of Christ the opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it. Christians often cite St. Paul, who said, "How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?" (Romans 10:14, Contemporary English Version, or CEV) Christians hope those who hear the message will come to faith in Christ and become Christians.
Some Christian denominations state explicitly that church growth is one of the major objectives of evangelism. Other Christians downplay this, focusing on their intent to see souls saved and lives changed. Even among those who don't focus directly on church growth as an aim of evangelism, however, church growth is seen as the natural result of evangelism and those who convert to Christ are encouraged to start attending church services regularly.
Many Christians have expressed concern that evangelistic efforts do a good job of bringing people to profess faith in Christ, but a poor job of actually leading them into a lifestyle that reflects that faith. They point out that Jesus' command was not to make converts, but disciples. Christians who take this view tend to focus as much or more on following up with those who convert, making sure they are familiar with the basics of the Christian faith and life and encouraging them to continue actively living out their new faith.
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