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Francis of Assisi is alleged to have said, “Preach the gospel always; if necessary use words.” That may be a great medieval sound bite, but it falls short of what the Bible teaches about evangelism. Jesus began his public ministry by “proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1: 14). When he gained a reputation as a miracle-worker , his response was to leave the area so he could give himself to the task of proclamation, for “that is why I have come” (Mark 1: 38). And the risen Lord left his disciples with the specific commission to go to the nations, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 20).

There is a tendency in some quarters today to promote a kind of evangelism without proclamation. Acts of service are done or people are invited to experience Christian worship. But without words of explanation these are like signposts pointing nowhere or, worse still, signposts pointing to our good works. The gospel is good news— a message to be proclaimed, a truth to be taught, a word to be spoken, and a story to be told.

Chester, Tim; Timmis, Steve (2008-08-21). Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community (Re:Lit) (Kindle Locations 668-675). Crossway. Kindle Edition.