Do you know the birthplace of evangelism? Since the twenty-first century church has cultivated highly sophisticated procedures and tools for evangelism—training sessions, videos, seminars, manuals, and methodology books—it seems logical that the church was its birthplace. However, a study of church history reveals it was the home, not the church that served as the center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity. Michael Green writes, “One of the most important methods of spreading the gospel in antiquity was the use of homes. He then affirms the home of Aquila and Priscilla by stating, “Homes like this must have been exceedingly effective in the evangelistic outreach of the church.”
Vonette Bright, who along with her husband, Bill, founded Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951, encourages Christian women to use their homes as a center for evangelism.Writing in The Joy of Hospitality, she explains how hospitality can build bridges to those who need Christ . . .
Hospitality is more than entertaining. It is expecting God to do great things through you as you reach out to touch the lives of others. It is focusing our relationships, especially the greatest relationship of all—walking and talking with the Lord Jesus Christ. True hospitality doesn't wear us out or make us feel pressured; life sharing is not entertaining in our own strength. It flows from a heart full of love for others. Christ's love, which doesn't come from our self-effort, it is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The love of Christ is what draws people to God. This love transforms a party or other event into true hospitality. Hospitality, then, is not an event, it is genuine concern for another's well-being.
An excursion through New Testament Scriptures gives us insight into the importance of evangelism for the believer
- Our Lord’s final instruction to His disciples was to make disciples, not merely converts, of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
- Paul writes that our Lord gave spiritual gifts, including the gift of evangelist, to those He called into service (Ephesians 4:11). Repeating the term in 2 Timothy 4:5, Paul directs believers “to do the work of an evangelist.”John MacArthur provides insight on this passage by defining evangelist for us:
Used only two other times in the NT (Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:1), this word always refers to a specific office of ministry for the purpose of preaching the gospel to non-Christians.Based on Ephesians 4:11, it is very basic to assume that all churches would have both pastor-teachers and evangelists. But the related verb “to preach the gospel” and the related noun “gospel” are used throughout the NT not only in relation to evangelists, but also to the call for every Christian, especially preachers and teachers, to proclaim the gospel.Paul did not call Timothy to the office of an evangelist, but to “do the work” of one.
You may be asking, “Exactly what does a Center for Evangelism look like?” From a practical perspective a Center for Evangelism begins with viewing your current living environment, whether it is a college dorm room or an exquisite estate, as the location where you are to practice evangelism. The market value of the facility is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not it is committed to your heavenly Father for His purposes. Remember that the Lord Jesus set the tone for a modest environment to practice evangelism by being born in a barn (Luke 2:7).
Impartiality is to characterize the Center for Evangelism.James compares the church’s reaction to the rich and the poor (2:2-4) and concludes that the church is to be a classless society, since its primary concern is to fulfill the royal law and love your neighbor as yourself (2:8). “James is not advocating some kind of emotional affection for oneself—self-love is clearly a sin (2 Timothy 3:2). Rather, the command is to pursue meeting the physical health and spiritual well-being of one’s neighbors (all within the sphere of our influence; Luke 10:30-37) with the same intensity and concern as one does naturally for one’s self (Philippians 2:3-4).” We should be willing to meet the needs of all categorizes of individuals, including singles, widows, and the homeless.
Giving is also characteristic of a Center for Evangelism. Second Corinthians 9:7 reminds us that we are to be cheerful givers.Those who visit our homes quickly discern whether we are giving cheerfully or out of obligation. Again recall the role model of our heavenly Father—He gave so that we might receive eternal life (John 3:16).
So then, what are some practical ways that your home can be a Center for Evangelism? Perhaps the ideas that follow will get you stated.
- Host a Bible study
- Invite unchurched neighbors for dessert.
- Encourage your children to bring home their school friends.
- During the Christmas season, invite friends and neighbors to your home for baking or addressing Christmas cards together; it is a fun way to fellowship and share Christ with others.
- Open your home to different church activities is a way to witness to your neighbors.They see the cars parked, at times may hear some conversation about God when the guests are talking outside, and most likely can hear the singing.
- Purchase a copy of Everyday Confetti, Your Year-Round Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Special Occasions. Co-authored by my friends Glynnis Whitwer and Karen Ehman, this book is all about making holidays, birthdays, special events, and even the everyday special. Inside you will find more than 200 ways to assist you in making your home a Center for Evangelism. Want a complimentary copy? Leave your name and contact information in the comment section of this blog post or use the “contact Pat” button.Drawing will be held on January 27.
Our homes become Centers for Evangelism when they are dedicated to our Lord; unlimited opportunities exist—will you purpose to create a Center for Evangelism in yours? (2 Timothy 4:5).
Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 236.
 Ibid., 207.
 Vonnette Bright, The Joy of Hospitality, (Orlando: Lifeway, 1996), 32.
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word, 2000), notes at 2 Timothy 4:5.
 Ibid.Note at James 2:8.