A common but faulty view exists concerning the purpose of the worship assembly. Some have thought that the church’s worship assemblies should primarily be geared toward the non-Christian. Some have thought that the best place for evangelism is the worship assembly.
There are two primary functions of the worship assembly. The worship assembly is first and foremost about worshipping God (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:26-29). The worship assembly also serves the function of encouraging and edifying and comforting the saints (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:19, 26b, 31).
Evidently, the early church did have non-members visit the assembly (1 Corinthians 14:20-23). Our worship assemblies should be considerate of non-members (1 Corinthians 14:20-23). However, brother Dan Owen has remarked, “While 1 Corinthians 14:20-23 certainly indicates that what is done in our worship services should be plain and understandable to those who are visiting, it is not a fair reading of the text to say that the main goal of New Testament worship was the winning of outsiders…”
As one reads the book of Acts, one finds evangelism occurring outside of the worship assemblies. Evangelism was done in homes and private settings (e.g., Saul, Cornelius, Philippian jailer), public places of various kinds [(e.g. in synagogues, on public roads (e.g. the Ethiopian), by a river side (e.g. Lydia) in market places, on Mars’ Hill] and even in meetings with rulers (e.g, Felix, Festus, Agrippa). But how many do you recall being converted, in the book of Acts, from attending a church’s worship assembly? I can’t think of one.
Brethren, if the church is going to grow we must not limit evangelism to the worship assembly. Those that attend are good prospects. However, evangelism must occur outside the church assembly if we are going to grow. Furthermore, it is essential if we are going to follow the New Testament pattern.
“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest!” (John 4:35).