By G.L. Clair
The Scriptures teach that each Christian is to evangelize as is demonstrated by the example of the early disciples (Acts 8:4). The Scriptures also teach that the church as a collective body is to evangelize the world (1 Thess. 1:8; Eph. 4:12). As a result of our becoming Christians and becoming members of a local assembly, we are obliged to evangelize. The responsibility to do the work of evangelization is, therefore, a responsibility not only of the local congregation as a collective body but is also a responsibility of each Christian individually. Since that is factual we present some facts for each reader to consider:
1. The chart reproduced below shows the one hundred largest urban areas in America (cf. Plain Dealer, p. 20A, 7/30/86).
2. In many of those areas the church is non-existent or very small in numbers (cf. Directory of Churches of Christ, Guardian of Truth Bookstore).
3. Since there are a large number of urban areas that have no sound congregation, why not become involved in one or more of these areas either individually or collectively (encourage the elders of the congregation you attend to look into the possibility)? The work in many of these areas is very difficult yet some fruit is surely possible if the effort is expended.
4. There must be some who would be willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ if these areas are evangelized as suggested.
5. Those who are willing to go there and put forth the effort ought to be encouraged by all of us.
6. The amount of money that has been available for difficult and slow works has diminished considerably over the past twenty-rive years. The congregations that a few years ago were supporting other preachers in difficult areas are now seeking support for the local work (such congregations are not in the majority); these are generally churches that have seen large numbers of their members forced to relocate because of economic problems. Since this is a factor in evangelism those who decide to work in difficult areas should consider the problem that this has created.
7. There are still many sound churches that are able and willing to support good work anywhere. To those churches a great deal of credit should be paid by us all, to those who are willing to do work in such difficult places those churches would be worthwhile contacts (most of those in this category will assist a worthy man if possible).
8. There is another source of support for those who are willing to go and work in difficult areas. The members of one’s family may see the prospects for growth and assist the individual in his efforts at evangelism.
9. Another area of possible support is to approach individual Christians who are financially able to assist; if you do take this approach you need to give several references of faithful members of the Body of Christ so that the individual may feel free to examine your credentials and credibility.
10. Finally, we need to be aware of these responsibilities to do all that we can in the area of evangelizing the world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). As one can observe from the chart of the one hundred largest urban areas compared to the directory of churches, much work needs to be done in American cities.
(NOTE: see attached chart)
Guardian of Truth XXX: 19, p. 597
October 2, 1986