The English word “evangelize” does not appear in the common versions of the New Testament. Yet, it is an imminently Scriptural word. It comes about as near being transliterated, letter for letter, from the Greek to the English as any word in our language. The Greek form (anglicized) is euangelidzo, occurring 48 times in the Greek New Testament. It is ordinarily rendered “to bring glad tidings or good news.” In some instances, it refers to a bringer of good news in general (cf. Luke 1:19, 1 The. 3:6). In most cases It means to preach the Gospel of Christ and it is often translated thusly (cf. Acts 14:21; Gal. 1:8–9).
A church that does not have evangelism as the very core of its life and work will not survive as a spiritual institution, much less thrive. It cannot be a church of Christ and not be evangelistic. There simply is no either/or option for God’s people on the subject.
The pulpit is evangelism, but not all of it. Home Bible studies are evangelism, but not all of it. Bible classes are evangelism, but not all of it. This publication, Christian camps, correspondence courses, radio/television programs, and other such efforts are all evangelism, but no one thing is all of it.
Our evangelistic spirit must be felt at home as we refuse to rest until all of our community has had an opportunity to say “Yes” or “No” to the claims of pure Christianity. Our evangelistic spirit must project beyond our own borders to people we can never meet this side of the Judgment. We must learn to “think evangelism” in every word and deed. Our whole life must be lived in the consciousness of evangelistic responsibility and opportunity. Evangelism is to the soul what blood is to the body. Just as the church is strong in direct relation to its emphasis on evangelism, so the individual Christian is likewise.
There is tremendous power in evangelistic fervor. God put His own power in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) and when it is spread and shared, it works. The necessary food for evangelism is a love for souls that are unprepared to meet God. Christ has not repealed his charge to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. My prayer and aim is that we ever make evangelism our consuming priority!