The types and methods of evangelism used by the 1st-century church and the church of today are still very similar. Certain freedoms and technological advancements have changed how we approach ministry, but the overall mission and mindset are the same. People have also developed a dependency on conveniences, which must be accounted for when reaching a modern society. I want to discuss some of these differences and point out the similarities in the business of reconciliation.
The explosion of spiritual fulfillment that immediately followed the upper room experience led to the active participation of the faithful. There was a physical manifestation of tongues that witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but there was also a shift in attitude and urgency. The apostles were convinced that Jesus would return in their lifetime and wanted to get the word out as far as they could. Evangelism was carried house to house as they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.”
I contend that the timeless Word of God applies to each situation we find ourselves in today. Each implementation mentioned in Acts 2:42 is provided for in the current methodology of today’s church. Our organization and individual congregations are based upon the agreement of the apostles’ doctrine. Undoubtedly, most Christians practice fellowshipping and eating with their family and friends as church calendars are filled with opportunities to gather together. Finally, prayer should be the center of all we do as the Body of Christ.
As Christianity took hold and became an accepted practice, meetings moved from underground services to houses dedicated to worship. The first significant change of modern evangelism provided a headquarters for reaching the lost. Eventually, sizeable ornate architecture gave way to practical places of worship that planned spaces for various property sizes and ministries. If for no other reason than tradition, people seek out a church to attend for Easter and Christmas. The building represents hope and, in many cases, is the community center for an area.
Technology provides the means to reach more people in a shorter time than ever before. Today, information can travel around the world within seconds. People are consumed with ingesting information from handheld devices. If we can grab a moment of that time with something produced for the kingdom, we can get another moment and another. We may be able to reach more and faster, but the church is in competition with cat videos and social profiles. I believe there are many good uses for technology, such as advertising, websites, and streaming church services.
In conclusion, we are here for such a time as this. Technological advances continue to evolve, and congregations can out-grow building capacities, but Jesus is still in the soul-saving business. There is no substitute for one-on-one evangelism. A personal, caring act of kindness, followed by a Bible study over a meal, is a time-proven, relationship-building way to ensure that disciples continue to make disciples. We should take advantage of new advances to the fullest, but the church establishing practices of the 1st-century church should not be ignored.