In our congregation, the leadership (elders, staff, etc.) has found focus and motivation in a common motto, which has remained relevant for a number of years: Jesus for All People. For those who immediately throw up their shields and reflexively protest that this is a watered-down approach, rest assured that the church’s message doesn’t stop there: No one is expected to remain in the mess that they were when they arrived. Jesus and the church work together to help people get better.
However, while considering that motto (which I’m a big fan of), I also realized that the opposite must be included our goal. That is, just as Jesus is for all people, we should strive to spread the good news about Jesus far and wide, so that we can get closer to a world where we have “All People for Jesus”.
We absolutely must share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone who will listen, and welcome everyone into our community who is looking for something better than a life of sin. While spending time with those who follow Jesus, newcomers can learn about Him, see other people who are trying to live more like Him, and – we pray – choose to accept the gift of salvation and the better life that He offers to them.
Our outreach cannot be limited to those who are already following Jesus, or even constrained to those who attend a church service. Sure, those of us in the family of God need all of the discipleship that we can get, but the good news isn’t limited to those who happen to visit a building (or, depending on your health situation, a video stream). If people were dying outside your door, and you could safely help them get better, wouldn’t you be obliged to go out and either treat them on the spot, or bring them in to where they could get more help? Once you have the cure (especially when there is more than enough to go around), why keep it locked up in a building?
He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
1 John 2:2 NLT
If you have decided to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord, it’s probably no surprise to you that we must get the good news to everyone, even those who may never darken the door of a formal church building. The gospel has never been confined to buildings. It has always been necessary to go out into the world in order to make disciples. While Jesus does draw people to Himself (see John 12:32), requiring those who need His help to come to a strange place (which is what I’m sure many church buildings seem like to those who don’t frequent them) is kind of like expecting wounded people to carry themselves to the hospital. Sometimes, healing must be brought to those who need it.
But, even more than that, we cannot stop when our neighbors and communities have heard about Jesus, and have seen examples of His love in action, through His followers. We cannot stop until all nations, all tongues, and all peoples have gotten the chance to fairly evaluate the person, message, and salvation of Jesus Christ for themselves.
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
Revelation 7:9 NLT
I know that many readers of this site are writers themselves. The Internet offers a great opportunity to spread the truth about Jesus far and wide, and I appreciate those who do so. Whether you reach out to others from a screen, or have the ability to go and share this opportunity in person, when God calls you to get the word out, I hope that your answer is always “yes”. Jesus for All People, and All People for Jesus.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.