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Dear COA Family,
Many of us grew up with the concept of street evangelism as the main mode of witnessing.

Remember the time when you had to memorise the Four Spiritual Laws or the Two Ways to Live and
then go out to the streets to convince someone of the truth of the gospel? If you are honest, it was
usually a most terrifying experience, especially for those who have not done it before!

I remember one of my first experiences witnessing in such a way. It was at Changi Airport and I went there
with my youth group. I approached a random stranger and was so nervous talking to him that I totally
forgot what to say. But the Lord graciously strengthened me and gave me wisdom to share his word. In
the end, we ended up talking for more than 2 hours and he prayed to receive Christ at the end.

Is this then the way to share the gospel that our Lord Jesus calls us to do? (See Matthew 28:19-20.)

I think not.

We must realise that this form of evangelism has its roots in 18th century revival outreaches in the
United States and England. Travelling preachers like John Wesley and Charles Finney had to go
from town to town to share the gospel and could only stay at any one place for a few days. In order to
maximise the results of their ministry, they aimed to “seal the deal” by convincing as many people as
possible to “accept Christ in their hearts”. Satisfied with their many converts, they would then leave for
the next town and leave these converts to seek to continue with their Christian growth with the local

The early church instead adopted a different model. They sought to bring people into the community to
grow them as Christians through baptism, confirmation and living out the Christian life. A single decision
point of “accepting Christ” was alien to them. They understood that a Christian grows from the first
instance of faith to the final point before he or she dies. In other words, it is a whole lifetime of growth in

This does not mean that street evangelism is ineffective or wrong. I believe that some of us are called to
share the good news effectively in this way. And some have been blessed through this ministry.

However, the more important thing to note is that Jesus calls us to make disciples – which is to help
people grow in their faith from the beginning to the end of being most Christlike. This means that they
must be actively involved in the life of the church of God
to be able to do so. Salvation is never a one-
time decision which remains in that state for life. This would be akin to giving birth to a baby and
being satisfied that he remains an infant for all his life.

I thank God that a youth that I reached out to, through the Boys Brigade Ministry, just got baptised last
Sunday at his church. He is now a committed member of the youth group and continues to grow in his
faith. I had been very conscious that my responsibility then did not end with sharing the gospel with the
BB boys but to involve them with church activities and integrate them into the church’s life for them to

At this Ascension Sunday, our Lord Jesus renews his call to us as a church to be the light of the world
(Matthew 5:14-16). May we seek to bring the gospel light to all of the people around us, not only
through garnering decisions for Christ but to grow them to mature adult Christians within the community
of the church.

Revd Ian