by Perry Hall
I'm not a fan of "Field of Dreams Evangelism." That is, "Let's build a church building on the other side of town to make it easier for people to come to church." In other words, "If we build it, they will come." Good intentions, but I doubt much evangelism will take place if it is designed around sinners seeking a building and not around saints seeking sinners.
Think about these two biblical teachings:
- First for Israel. The temple was not geographically convenient except for those who lived in Jerusalem. Still, God commanded pilgrimages to Jerusalem for certain holy days. Israelites could offer the same sacrifices on a closer high place, but God forbade it. Do we today pick a church based upon geographical convenience instead of fidelity to God? Truth is not geographically convenient.
- Second, for sinners. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness. Who wanted to hear? "The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins" (Mark 1:5 CSB). Somehow, probably by word of mouth, people heard. Word of mouth is evangelizing. John could have gone to the city for convenience, but he didn't. Are we willing to tell others about Jesus, even if they have to travel across town or to another city? Or do we think, "They will never come because it's too far. Let's start a church on that side of town." People will travel in comfortable cars for multiple miles if someone recommends a great restaurant. Truth is not geographically convenient.
Instead of a "Field of Dreams Evangelism," let's try this: "Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest” " (Matthew 9:37-38 CSB).