SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2010
THE CLERGY AND EVANGELISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The Clergy is one of the gifting of the early Church according to Eph. 4V11-12 “…some are apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, pastors…” it was giving for the edification, building up of the body of Christ. This office is not arrogated to oneself but it must be called by God. Hebrews 5V4: “no one takes this honour upon himself, he must be called by God, just as Aaron was”. Being called by God, the Clergy has a central role in sharing, spreading the gospel of salvation in any society he finds himself. For the Clergy of today, he needs to be more vocal in proclamation of the gospel.
But what should be his evangelical mandate? It is to be found in the age-long great commission: “…go ye and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you…” Mtt 28V18-20.
Jesus commissioned His Apostles and His followers to preach the gospel throughout the world (whether person to person, house to house, or more elaborately through a great outreach). The command is to preach, evangelize. And so each generation of Christians is called upon to evangelize the world with the message of Christ: that, He came, He died, He rose again, He is sitting at the right side of God, He will come to judge the living and the dead.
As Clergy and people of God our task is not merely to talk about Jesus but we need to show Him to the world. The style we adopt in presenting Him to the world is very important. The era of New Testament times was dotted with faith. But now, we are in the 21st century, a post modern world, a time when people tend to place science, technology above God. It is an era of ICT – you can easily across the globe share ideas wrongly or rightly; face book or pornography. Truly, these are affecting the communication of the true gospel – today.
The Clergy have some problems:
(1) How do we present God’s message of Christ and Him crucified to our society of today?
(2) How can we present Christ in a relevant way to citizens of the 21st century? Note citizens are more inclined to science than faith. Also with diverse people in the 21st century, we have diverse beliefs.
SPECTRUM OF BELIEF/CONVICTION
There are still some in our world who believe strongly in a religion, be it Christianity or something else, and who have devoted themselves to understanding their belief system and can well defend it. There are many more, however, who have a more nominal belief system – they have a bit of understanding of what they belief, perhaps, but not much. Many more may attend a church and not even know what it teaches; they go because they always have gone or think they need to go to a church. A large segment of the population profess belief but have little knowledge of the basic idea of the belief. Many more have no belief more out of a lack of concern or care for spiritual things. Finally, of course, there are those who claim no religious belief and act militantly against any such expression of belief – Note this last group, the scripture calls fools: Ps 14V1; 53V1.
Worst still, people do not belief enough, they follow signs and wonders: read Mk 16V15-18, a young lady in Lagos needed a job, another lady introduced her to “a powerful man of God”, she was asked to bring items for prayers, the pastor helped in providing some, a prayer to get job, the lady stood in a middle of a basin, with a transparent ware, supposed anointing oil was poured on her, her face and body became disfigured. You know people “need quick prayer, for quick job”. May God deliver people of this generation.
People do not know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities,… dark rulers of this world Eph 6V12:
We live in a world of Hate, despite our Holy Ghost prayers & anointing I Jh 2V9-11.
What can the Clergy do, to turn back the citizens of the 21st century back to God? People must be won for Christ, for the gates of hell shall never prevail.
WHEN THE DEVIL CHANGES GEAR, THE CHILDREN OF GOD MUST CHANGE THEIR STRATEGY
Steps for the Clergy to effectively reach out for Christ in this 21st century:
1. We must live out what we preach – if the gospel message must make sense.
2. Our preachings should not be too judgemental but should give hope to those who listen to the word of God.
3. We should be humorous as we share the gospel message but avoid being jesters.
4. We need to embrace ICT (recordings, live preaching it makes sense to the modern hearers).
5. We must make our messages bible based, research, study the word, many are literate 2 Tim. 2V15.
6. We should give enough time to counseling many are confused, troubled, they need someone to listen to them.
7. Organize faith clinics/revivals – our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
8. You can go on house to house visitation to encourage people.
9. Involve the Holy Spirit in all your evangelical exploits.
With these, the Clergy can be relevant in his gospel message in this 21st century.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,