How Can the Church Engage the Lost Through Missions? - Radical

How Can the Church Engage the Lost Through Missions?

What does it look like to live on mission? How can Christians evangelize in our typical daily activities? Do we have to go on missions overseas to reach the lost, or is this a possibility for us in our own communities? In this interview, Pastors David Platt and Mark Dever consider how Christians can intentionally build evangelism into our everyday lives. Pastor Mark Dever emphasizes the necessity of intentionality as Christians approach evangelism. If we intentionally seek out ways to spread the Gospel in the very areas we frequent, everyday evangelism becomes far more possible than we might think.

  1. Evangelism in Preaching
  2. Practical Evangelism
  3. The Importance of Intentionality

What about evangelistically? Obviously, I mean, you are actively involved in personal evangelism as a pastor, though, around Christians a lot. So how are you intentional? How do you intentionally build personal evangelism into your life?

How to Engage the Lost in Missions

Well, I put that in the context of preaching. So like you, I always try to preach the gospel. Whatever text I’m preaching on, I don’t think I’ve understood it until I understood it in light of the cross. So I want to make sure and preach it thoroughly, faithfully, texturally in context. Also, with it in its ultimate theological context about the cross.

I want the gospel to be clear. So when I preach, I always say things like, “If you’re here today and you’re not a Christian, we’re so glad you’re here. I have a question for you. What does it mean when… ” And then I just try to ask them questions and make sure, at some point in the sermon, I’m sharing the gospel clearly how they can come to Christ. That kicks up a lot of personal conversations then at the door afterwards because I always stand and try to wait until people are gone and talk to them at the door.

But also, just practically, I go to the same places during the week. So right now, I’m going through Christianity Explained with a guy who’s a waiter at a restaurant I go to sometimes. I have another person that I’ve invited and they’ve just recently come to church. I mean, I can just go on and on. I try to frequent the same places, just anything that I need to do outside my home, I’m going to try to make sure I’m going the same places so I can begin to speak to those individuals, get to know them and have some platform.

Because I think, for me, one of the hardest things about being a pastor is I’m not as regularly around unbelievers as I was, say, when I was a PhD student. I mean, that was just free evangelism. Every place, I’ve just got people around who are my friends and we’re doing things together and spending all of our time excited about common things, yet most of them don’t know the Lord. So I’m able to relate to them as a friend and also, part of that, share the gospel with them. Yeah. I don’t know about you, that’s one of the hard things I find about being a pastor.

The Necessity of Intentionality in Engaging the Lost in Missions

Yeah, sure. Absolutely. And that’s why I think there’s an intentionality that’s necessary. Just like you were talking about, going to consistent places all the time, or just intentionally. Otherwise, it just shrinks back into being around believers all the time. And then even that begins to affect preaching. I think you would certainly say that your time in those evangelistic conversations during the week then just fuels and informs your preaching, the questions you’re asking and the things you’re doing.

Oh, yeah. So when this one friend, a few weeks ago, walks up to me. I’m having lunch with Jonathan Lehman, just the two of us. This guy walks up who is a waiter at this place. He wasn’t our waiter that day even. He just walks up and he says, “Hey, do you have to believe in one religion or can you take things from different ones and see the truth in all of them?” That’s how he begins the conversation.

This is somebody you’ve talked with before?



Walking Intentionally with the Lost

So he knew who I was. Or maybe he was our waiter that day, I can’t remember. But anyway, he came over specifically to ask that question. And we got into a great conversation and now we’re studying Mark’s Gospel together. He comes to my study and we go through the Gospel.

This is the Christianity Explained or this is different?

Mm-hmm. Christianity Explained, yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, we’re ready for session six out of six sessions. And he comes to your study to do that, so you’ve invited him in- Yeah…. on that picture?

Yeah. He meets all kinds of other guys. So I had him go take a walk around the block with Jamie Owens, have Jamie give him his testimony, which was really powerful in his life. Yeah, it’s just rich and fun stuff.

Mark Dever

Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., the president of 9Marks, and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of many books, including Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. He and his wife, Connie, have two children.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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