In many Southern Baptist churches today the primary focus, at least from the pulpit, is evangelism. This is such an emphasis that it borders on idolatry (click here for more on this). More attention is often to paid to the lost than to the members of the church body. Should this be the case?
I am in the process of reading "Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches" (John Hammett, Kregel, 2005). Dr. Hammett points out that in Acts 2:42-47 we can find the ministries of the church described.
Hammett states that in Acts 2, "the church is described as teaching, enjoying fellowship, worshiping, and serving. There is no explicit mention of the church evangelizing, but the passage concludes:'And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.'"
It is very interesting that the people of the early church, in general, were living holy, Christ-like lives. Because of this, God was adding to their number. This does not indicate that they were not openly evangelizing, but it does suggest that their primary focus was living lives that were pleasing to God.
It may be that more people would be coming to Christ, and our churches would be growing faster (I mean that in the good sense) if we were focused more on living holy lives than on just proclaiming the gospel message. It seems that we have "gotten the cart before the horse."
Clearly this is not an either/or issue, but let's put evangelism in its proper place in the functioning of the church. Holy living attracts people a lot more than just a knock on the door.
Where does evangelism fit into your church's list of priorities? Where is your church's primary focus: on the members or on the lost?