According to Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, evangelism depends on the health and vibrancy of the local church.

The outspoken head of the Anglican communion, George Carey, is known for his evangelical faith and his evangelistic urgency. His denomination—along with othershas set aside the 1990s as a “decade of evangelism.” In this guest editorial, the one-hundred-third archbishop of Canterbury reflects on what that could mean.

At my enthronement as archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year, I chose for my text the familiar words of the apostle Paul: “Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel.” I chose it because my office is an apostolic office. Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury, came to England to evangelize. That was his apostolic intention; it is also mine.

In the urgent task of preaching Christ, Paul saw human need and despair, and the incomparable riches of Christ. The means of bringing them together was by proclamation. He was driven, just like Augustine, out into the world—into risk, conflict, and uncertainty—to live and die for the faith of Christ.

I believe such zeal is the backdrop to this “decade of evangelism.” And it is a challenge to churches tempted to settle for a costless, comfortable Christianity, to churches worshiping in a way that fails to meet the spiritual needs of the young, the intellectuals, and those groping for faith. The decade of evangelism is not only a challenge to the world—it is a challenge to the church to begin its own decade of regeneration.

What will it take for this “regeneration” to happen?

First, it will mean motivating the local church to be evangelistic. Important as evangelists such as Billy ...

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