There are two ways that a church can do evangelism. Jesus told his disciples that they would no longer be fishermen, but instead that they would fish for men. I don’t know a lot about fishing, but I think there are basically two ways to fish.
One is put out a net and kind of float along, hoping that some fish swim in. The other is to set some bait, cast out a rod, and try to attract them to come. Both probably work when it comes to fishing.
Most churches today are doing evangelism like the first kind of fishing. They are floating along with a net out, hoping that some fish come along. Fewer churches are out there, going where the fish are, setting hooks and actively doing some fishing.
Immediately after Jesus died, the disciples gathered in the upper room and locked the door. Even after they encountered the risen Christ, they were not quick to go out and start making more disciples. At Pentecost the Spirit empowered them to go out and really start fishing.
Churches have a lovely language. It is full of words like grace, forgiveness, love, redemption, resurrection, and invitation. Many good churches have been happy floating around, getting ready for people to wander in. When someone does come in, they are quick with the church-language. They offer grace, forgiveness, love, redemption and resurrection. If a church does this much, they are probably ahead of the game from most churches that are wrapped up in judgment, scorn, cliques, customs and status.
These good churches that are floating around, dragging their nets are going to catch some fish every now and then, probably just enough to survive, and not enough to really affect change in the world.
Pentecost churches have taken up the disciples’ call. They go out and are actively searching for those that do not speak their language. They are empowered by the Spirit to learn new ways of doing things, and bait their hook with mission and service. They are catching some fish, making disciples, and changing the world.