One of the other things noticeable in Martyn Lloyd-Jones' biography (click to see previous blog) which made him stand out from his contemporaries (and sometimes incurred their disaproval) was his distaste of big evangelistic campaigns. This arose out of a conviction that the local church in it's ongoing witness to Christ and gospel-fuelled communal life is God's primary means of reaching the lost (although this did not prevent him from preaching at University missions etc.). The danger is that Christians trust in the 'bigness' of the occasion to bring results and not God's word, spoken by God's people in the power of God's Spirit. Or, people equate evangelism with big missions and gospel witness is neglected the rest of the time, especially in the pulpit.
And let's face it, many of us have been involved in 'big mission' evangelism projects that suffer because they are not rooted in the ongoing witness of God's people. It seems Lloyd-Jones' view may have practical as well as theological arguments in it's favour - to what extent does 'hit and run' evangelism work?
From today I'm going to be taking part in 'Summer in the City' - nine days of mission organised by several churches in Sheffield. It's a mission that has been organised with an acute awareness of the primacy of the local church in God's own mission to his world, whilst seeking to exploit the benefits of churches working together. The actual events and activities are specific to each church taking part (i.e. no big 'stadium-fillers') and are rooted therefore in the ongoing, relational, long-term witness of that particular church. Each morning will consist of time in God's word with the whole of the team across all the churches involved, and some practical training seminars. You can find more information on the website of our sending church, including a timetable for the week.
As for me, Ill be trying to update this a few times during the week with news of what's been going on. Prayers appreciated as always.