Another Voice: Spread the Good News!

Everyone agrees that spreading the Good News of Jesus is one of the most important callings for Christians. The “Great Commission” is our Gospel reference point for this. Here are the first words of Jesus to His disciples as He comes to see them after His resurrection.


Matthew 28: 16 – 20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


          Rev. Alex Ruth, a recent addition to our DOC Regional Office, shared some of his thoughts with Pastors this week, and I thought it would be valuable for all of us to hear. Many times, evangelism comes down to an individual act – someone sharing with another. And that’s hard for us to do! And yet … Jesus said …

Take a few minutes to check out this short article, and let it speak to you personally as you discern how best you can respond to Jesus’ Great Commission.  

Peace – Pastor Bob <><


“E” is for Evangelism

By Reverend Alex Ruth

I know, for some of us evangelism is almost a dirty word. We may fear knocking on doors, standing on street corners holding up signs, or cornering coworkers around the water cooler with warnings about eternal punishment if they don’t repent and change their ways. I want to take a moment to assure you that it is perfectly OK to feel a good amount of fear about those types of evangelism. You are not alone.

Most people I’ve met shudder (or flee outright) from these more assertive forms of evangelism. And, while those fears are normal and understandable, they have kept many of us from sharing the Good News with others. We might worry that we don’t know the Bible well enough, or that we might not have the “right” words to say, or simply be uncomfortable sharing our personal faith with others. Whatever the reason, our “mainline” denominations have done a pitiful job of evangelism over the past few decades.

There is an outright lack of evangelistic effort in our churches. However, I expect that most of us can point to a time in our lives when God’s presence was almost tangible. Maybe you got through a touchy financial situation without depleting your savings; maybe you experienced a miraculous healing; or maybe you understood in a very personal way that you needed the comfort of Christ walking beside you every step of the way. Whatever your story, whatever makes God real to you, that is a powerful story.

And, that is the basis of evangelism. We are called to share our stories with others. That doesn’t have to mean that we grab the arm of a stranger in the store. Telling our story can start with our friends and our families. Telling our story can start in the safety of church.

I remember several years ago when my grandfather died. As we gathered in the church for his memorial services, my father stood up to speak. I honestly don’t remember any of the words he said that day. But, I do remember understanding for the first time how much my dad loved his father. I understood how much his life had been shaped by this man we both loved. Maybe it was because I was a new father as well, or maybe it was just my time, but I came to see my dad in a different way that day. Our relationship changed, with a few stories about his life.

That’s really all it takes to help someone change their life; few stories, a relationship, openness to sharing part of ourselves with someone else. That is the basis of evangelism. But we can’t stop there. People need a community of faith. And so, we invite people to join us in church, because it is important to us, and something we would like to share. That’s not easy for all of us, it certainly isn’t always easy for me! As a pastor, it can be awkward to invite someone to come and hear you preach, but the community of faith gathered together had been (and I believe will be in many ways) essential to our journey of faith.


If we focus on building the relationship, between ourselves and others, and between all of us and God, evangelism won’t be so intimidating. And, as we work together in sharing our stories we’ll find that evangelism isn’t a dirty word after all.


Rev. Dr. N. Alexander Ruth

Associate Regional Minister for Transformation

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin