I came to the UK as a missionary in 2008. So, while serving in a Korean church, I often pondered how to do missionary work in the UK, which is known as a Christian country. There were many forums and seminars on the re-evangelization of Europe happening all over Europe, accompanied by concerns about the decline of churches and churches being sold to be made into pubs. There were suggestions to participate, but in my opinion, gathering together and discussing didn’t seem likely to produce any special alternatives.
There are many things needed now to revive European churches, but I believed that the most important first step was spreading the gospel. Without the natural instinct of sharing gospel tracts, all these alternatives seemed like empty slogans to me. I considered sharing gospel tracts on the mission field as a priority over gathering for discussions.
There are many concerns about Korean churches, with some saying they are following European churches. It’s understandable, especially when 50% of churches have no Sunday school. So, when I think about what Korean churches need right now, the answer is clear: we need to earnestly spread the gospel. Even if you open a restaurant, isn’t it natural to promote it to attract customers?
Some people say, “It’s difficult to do evangelism these days,” or “Evangelism is ineffective because people have a negative perception of the church.” Is that really the case? There was extensive coverage of the Shincheonji cult during the pandemic. I thought that Shincheonji would be banned from Korean society at this point. However, they are still growing. No matter how positively you try to explain it, it’s difficult for a cult to grow if it’s labeled as such. Yet, why do they continue to grow? It’s all because of evangelism. Since existing churches are mired in defeatism, if you go out on the streets now, you’ll find that the only people doing evangelism are cults.
Until now, Korean churches have hardly engaged in true evangelism. They built beautiful buildings, delivered sermons with some appeal, and had discipleship training programs to achieve natural growth. Even when they did evangelism, it was limited to sharing coffee or handing out flyers with loo roll as a gift attached. There hasn’t been much true evangelism that teaches and proclaims the gospel itself, leading people to have faith. The reason cults are growing is that they thoroughly teach and spread their doctrines based on the Bible, even though they use various channels to reach people.
We need to teach the gospel we believe in well, give evidence, and lead people to Christ through evangelism. The evangelism we are doing every Saturday is exactly this kind of evangelism. While it’s a valuable thing to praise and distribute gospel tracts, the goal is to meet various people who don’t believe and have serious conversations about Jesus Christ. This becomes a practice, and eventually, we live as people who can defend and affirm the gospel every time we have the opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with the many people we meet in our daily lives, such as at school or work. Before debating the merits and demerits of different evangelism methods, what’s important is to actually engage in evangelism.