Generally speaking, the working man is not willing to go to church – it is outside his circle; he does not belong to that ‘class’. But if we make the main focus of our evangelism the preaching of the gospel from the pulpit we are discriminating unfairly against the working man. (91)
Joslin cites Iain Murray:
The exercise of spiritual gifts by preaching elders in the meetings of the church is not the primary means by which the gospel spreads. That exercise is limited both by time and by place, but the witness of Christians in the midst of the world is not thus limited. It seems to be that this point demands our special attention because I am afraid that the tendency of our tradition has been away from the New Testament. (97-98)
Joslin himself says:
Paul’s evangelism among the Jews showed a certain uniformity. But his gospel work among the Gentiles exhibited great variety. There was no ‘standard religious situation’ comparable to the synagogue. So Paul preached and witnessed in the open air (Acts 17:22-32); in the market place (Acts 17:17); in a hired hall (Acts 19:19); in private homes (Acts 18:7); in prison (Phil. 1:12,13); by the riverside (Acts 16:13); before the Roman authorities (Acts 26: 1-29) and on board ship (Acts 27: 23-25). (99-100)
Preaching the gospel in a place of Christian worship takes place usually at a time and a place which suit the believers. Gentile evangelism will inevitably involve us in reaching the unbelievers at a time and place that suits them. Is Sunday necessarily the best day for evangelising the working classes? John Wesley regularly preached at five o’clock in the morning! He did this in order to reach the ‘labouring-class’ people before they went off at daybreak to commence work in a factory or a mine. (101)
Urban Harvest is available here from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. In October IVP are publishing my latest book, Unreached: Growing Churches in Working-Class and Deprived Areas, was written with the Reaching the Unreached network.
This article was originally published on Tim Chester’s blog.