Thursday, October 12, 2017

What is More Important? Evangelism or Worship

Evangelism is the primary task that Jesus gave to the early disciples and that task extends to the church today. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion as to whether the church’s primary role is to be involved in passive worship or in active evangelism. To paraphrase Calvinist preacher John Piper, “Evangelism isn’t the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Evangelism exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not evangelism, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, evangelism will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”[1]

Piper makes an interesting point, but during the time that the church is here on earth, the need for evangelism will never cease. It is only when one passes through the gates of heaven that the task of evangelism is over. The choice between worship and evangelism is a false one; in reality the church is called to do both. In fact, one way to worship God is through evangelism. Preaching the Gospel is worship. Jesus’ final command to the church in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 concerned evangelism, not worship. Jesus did not say, “Go and worship all over the earth” but He did say, “Go and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

The first command Jesus gave the disciples was “Come follow me” (Matthew 4:19) which is a call to worship, but Jesus immediately follows this command by saying, “I will make you fishers of men.” So, evangelism and worship are inseparably intertwined. Worship is far more than singing a song; worship of God can be reflected in every detail of how one lives one’s life, including evangelism. The church will have an eternity to worship, but evangelism is the only activity that cannot be done in heaven.



[1] John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 15. The original quote uses the word “missions” instead of evangelism.