At his superb blog, Declan Kelly asks:
As a matter of interest, what is the relationship between “missions” and “evangelism”? Are they two different words for the same reality? Is missions broader than evangelism, or is evangelism much broader than is commonly understood?
For me missions is much broader than evangelism. Evangelism must ultimately be defined narrowly because otherwise our tendency to want to define it as something less socially problematic will prevail. If I go play football with neighbours I am not doing evangelism, even if I may well be doing mission. Mission seems to be that myriad of human activities that are done out of a worshipful intention towards a worshipful goal- namely advancing the Kingdom of God. Mission is the point of the church and the story of the Bible. Whether we are building clean water wells or preaching through a megaphone outside a Jedward gig, it is mission. Tom Wright once joked that when Christians do things on their knees we call it worship, when they do things on their feet it is mission.
So in a certain sense, I think you can draw a spectrum that contains the entire Christian life, with mission as one direction and worship as another.
Evangelism then is the act of imparting the Good News. This goes beyond mere verbal proclamation (for often the communication isn’t spoken or written) but it is that particular task of getting the message that is the news to someone in terms that they can comprehend.
So when Francis of Assisi said that we preach the Gospel and if necessary use words, I want to say we preach the Gospel and since it is necessary, we use deeds.
Your Correspondent, No one who speaks German could be an evil man