I’m a huge sports fan! The Florida Gators and New York Yankees are my two favorite teams. Now you’re probably not a Gators or Yankees fan, and you might not even like sports, but there’s an important principle from the sporting world that applies to us as Christians.
Teamwork is critical in both team sports and even individual sports. A common thread in award acceptance speeches given by champions of individual sports is the idea that the team helped achieve victory. In athletics it takes many people working together in order to accomplish the goal.
As in the sporting arena, so it goes in the arena of evangelism. For it seems to me that evangelism is a team thing. It is neither exclusively a God thing, nor a me thing. Evangelism is a we thing.
Jesus said to his disciples at the beginning of his earthly ministry, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And just before ascending to heaven at the end of His earthly ministry He stated, “Go and make disciples of all nations…and I will be with you always.”
One of the mysteries of the gospel is that while God is all-powerful and is the author of salvation, He chooses to use people like you and me to bring other people to Himself. For we, the church, are integral to His redemptive plan. In fact, the Lord commands us to be actively involved in His redemptive work.
The implication of this reality is that we can neither shirk our personal responsibility to witness nor feel overwhelmed that we have to do the work of evangelism alone. Because God in His Grace is sufficient to enable you and I to do our part in the evangelistic endeavor! The Apostle Paul wrote “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant…” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
Additionally, research indicates that the average person will hear the gospel message several times before making a decision to trust in Christ. In my own life I categorically rejected the gospel message on multiple occasions over a period of several years. Yet God brought me to himself in 1987 through the witness of many people and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Not only are we partnering with God in the Great Commission, we as believers are also co-laboring together in God’s field. One sows, another waters, but God gives the increase.
As children of God, we’re all part of the same team, the Church. As we work together in fulfilling the Great Commission, have confidence that the Lord is bringing His game plan of redemption to fruition. For Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
So press on and be faithful in doing your part on the team – proclaiming the gospel boldly in word and deed – and know we have the victory – together!!