Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mobilized for Evangelism

"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.… Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went" (Acts 8:1, 4).

Early on in my ministry, I was hired to be an “education.” Since I was a better teacher than an evangelist, I went to an evangelistic training seminar.

At the seminar, the leader trained us in the outline we were to memorize, the questions we were to ask, and the steps we were to follow. The word that came to my mind was 'canned'. To me, the truth was something profound and deep, and the idea of canning it and packaging it and using it the way a salesman uses his spiel was offensive to me. The more I heard about this, the more opposed I became.

Of course, I had to put into practice what I had learned with the people of this church. I saw normal laypersons sharing Christ and people responding to the Gospel. The more I watched, the more amazed I became. People from the church were going into the community and changing it. And I began to change my mind.

I remembered that when you study the sermons in the book of Acts, you find that every sermon has the same pattern. Moreover, you find that it was a “simple Gospel” that was proclaimed, with detailed instruction coming after conversion to the faith.

I also realized what the New Testament means when it says that the ascended Christ has given “some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11–12). As in Acts 8, it is supposed to be the people of God who are mobilized for evangelism.

Have you ever learned an evangelism presentation, or memorized an evangelistic outline? If not, think about the value of being trained in using this skill. Talk with your minister about opportunities to become better equipped to present the Gospel. Investigate the many books, film series, and seminars designed for this purpose.