As we’ve seen, the New Testament pattern re: the church’s mission is benevolence, edification, and evangelism. We now look at Evangelism.
There are, perhaps, few concepts more commonly misapplied than that of evangelism—i.e., many things are called “evangelism” that are, well, not.
The word “evangelism” is not an English word, per se. It came into our language straight from Greek—from the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (euaggelion, pronounced “you-an-ḠELL-ee-on“), which means “good news,” or sometimes translated “gospel” (e.g., Rom. 1:16—“For I am not ashamed of the εὐαγγέλιον…”).
Thus, evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel—i.e., the whole “kit and caboodle” of God’s plan and counsel (cf. Matt. 28:20a). In other words, if the gospel is not (directly) involved, then it is not evangelism. That is not to say, of course, that such a thing isn’t good; it just means it isn’t evangelism.
When the first-century Christians were forcefully “scattered abroad,” they didn’t go into hiding until “the coast was clear,” or wait a short “cool down” period. Instead, we read that “they went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). This, friend, is evangelism: NOT hosting clothing drives; not feeding the poor; not painting an old lady’s house; and not even telling the world around you to “come to church.” Evangelism happens when a person proclaims the gospel—and especially when they “go about” doing so (Acts 8:4; cf. Mark 16:15).