Posted by: Dan Masshardt | October 27, 2010

Evangelistic Priorities?

“The average American spends way too much evangelistic effort on camels” George Patterson

It’s one of those things that we don’t realize until we take a step back. We spend a lot time trying to convince self-satisfied people about how much they need Jesus.

From a recent talk by George Patterson, a former missionary, comes the quote above. He says that the evangelistic key to the First Century church was that they took the gospel to the poor – the outsiders of society. And they were wildly successful in their ministry.

Jesus did the same thing, didn’t he? How much evangelistic effort did he spend on the Pharisees? Jesus went to the poor, the sick and diseased, and the outcasts. And they received Him and followed Him. After all, it’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. We spend a lot of time trying to convince people that they’re sick. Jesus didn’t.

It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet with God all things are possible. Jesus does save rich people.

But I wonder if we spend too much time trying to shove camels through tiny holes.



  1. I have a friend whose church says its mission is to reach the least, the last, and the lost. “Camels” are lost, too but they are not as important as the least and the last. Maybe it’s because the typical church doesn’t find the least and the last as attractive candidates for church membership that we spend so much time on camels.

    • I think that you are right Steve. I struggle sometimes with the idea of ‘targeting’ one demographic segment. People often say, ‘we need to reach young families.’ This is obviously true, but we need to reach old widows and kids and poor people too. Let’s be honest – the least and the last make us uncomfortable.

  2. That’s when we need to pray that we see people through Jesus’ eyes and respond to them with Jesus’ heart. Matthew 9.35-38 says a whole lot here.

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