Son Times - Spring 2015
St. John 1:43-46 ~ Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael:
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
You have to love Phillip’s response to Nathaniel’s sarcastic comment about Nazareth. Philip simply says “Come and see.” I use the phrase all the time, you’ve heard me say it and have seen it in my writings “Just come and see.” It’s so simple, never mind your preconceived notions, your prejudices, your skepticism. Just come and see for yourself.
When it comes to evangelism the church seems so confused. Years ago there were all kinds of programs and schemes attempting to “get people in the door”. One of these was dragging members to church kicking and screaming and then sending them out to go door to door handing out tracts about the church or asking people “If you died tonight where would you go?” Hoping the stranger whose door you just knocked gave some type of interested response, if they even answered. This turned into doing the same thing via phone, caller ID squashed that. We made it so uncomfortable and guilt ridden and it didn’t work.
Proper evangelism start’s with us and our vocations. I use the word vocation here not just referring to the job we have but to all the jobs and duties we have, whether that be: husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, neighbor, employer or employee etc. Motivated by the gospel and our faith we respond by being faithful in these various roles. By being a good husband, a loving mother, and honest employee we live out our faith. People take notice of this and some even inquire as to why. We can simply respond “come and see”. That’s how evangelism works out in the world.
Within the church evangelism starts with it staff and leadership. If the churches staff and leaders are not in church each week people take notice, their family members take notice, and fellow parishioners take notice. It’s disingenuous to invite people to “come and see” when you’re not regularly doing so yourself. If you’re not here each and every week you’re truly able, don’t be surprised when the rest of your household follows suit.
What can we do to get more people to come to church? Lead by example! When you come others will follow, when you come others notice, when you come others ask why and you can honestly and comfortably tell them to “come and see”. Jesus is there, oh and by the way I will be there too.
When we do this sometimes they come, sometimes our children start showing up again because were there. Sometimes because of our example a skeptic becomes a believer, all because he/she came and saw Jesus. That’s what real “evangelism” is all about. Which is why it’s been our emphasis, the simple yet powerful invitation to “come and see.” The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.
Finally note that Phillip had no special training, he wasn’t even confirmed! He didn’t even get all of his i’s dotted and t’s crossed about Jesus. But it was sufficient. A simple invitation from a good friend. “Come and see.” And what you will see and hear are greater things than can be seen and heard anywhere else. People reborn and renewed in Christ. Sins forgiven. Sinners justified. Men and women made right with God. Its powerful stuff. Come and see. Come and hear. Hear what God in Christ has done and is doing. Invite your family, friends and your neighbors to do the same. Just be careful, they might sit in your pew?