Ephesians 4:12 reveals the threefold work of the church: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Paul uses “edifying” here in the sense of enlarging the borders of the kingdom by bringing others into it. It sets forth the primary work of the church is evangelizing with the gospel.
It has been God’s plan from eternity to save the world by the preaching of the gospel. All mankind is in need of salvation (Romans 3:23). The gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16; James 1:21). The church was taught to observe the commandments of Christ and the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20). The members of the church is compared to sowers in the world (Matthew 13:3-9).
Local congregations were the only organization through which this work was done in Bible times. The churches at Thessalonica and Philippi were wonderful examples to other churches in evangelism (1 Thessalonians 1:3-8; Philippians 2:25-30; 4:14-20). Congregational activity in evangelism did not preclude individual Christian activity in such work. We have many examples of private teaching (Acts 5:42; 8:5; 18:24-26; 20:20).
The church is the only organization designed by God for the work of evangelism. When God has given a specific arrangement for this purpose, any additional order for such work arranged by the wisdom of man would be a rejection of God’s ways.