What is the connection between an individual’s evangelism and his or her church’s corporate witness?
A church’s corporate witness will either enhance or undermine an individual’s evangelism.
The gospel is a message about the love of a holy God and the sacrifice of a loving Savior. This gospel creates a people who are defined by genuine forgiveness, real humility, and radical love. If a church is marked by bitterness, pride, and selfishness it won’t just alienate outsiders, it will broadcast lies about the gospel. Bring a non-Christian to that church and he’ll say, “What’s the big deal? The only difference between you people and everyone else I know is your weird beliefs.”
On the other hand a church’s corporate witness can confirm the gospel by vividly illustrating its truths. Church members with nothing in common lavishly love one another. When sinned against, they freely, even joyfully forgive others. Genuine humility marks people’s actions, speech, and attitudes. And all of these things broadcast a Technicolor picture of a holy God who so loved the world that he sent his Son to die on the cross for his enemies. Bring a non-Christian to this church and they’ll discover that only the gospel can explain what they see.
Beyond that, a church’s corporate witness to the gospel is a great tool for cracking through cynicism. Many people today believe that there’s no such thing as real forgiveness or true love. Many people are utterly skeptical of trusting others because they’ve been burned too badly in the past. But when they see a whole church living this way, they’ll not only be attracted, they’ll have no explanation for what they see other than the gospel this church proclaims.