Do Yourself a Favor and Learn Evangelism
Recently I saw brother Dale Partridge leave some comments on Instagram about the realities of how few US Christians evangelize. It was a good reminder for me to hear the sad statistics because PMc is hosting a missions webinar this Saturday, July 2, 2022, on the topic of Evangelism.
As a missionary, I'm evangelizing almost daily because it is one of the most important things that we must do in unreached Italy today, but I forget that many Christians are not evangelizing nor even thinking about it. It's said that less than 10% of evangelicals have evangelized anyone in the last year. This is very revealing as to the health of the church and the nature of the discipleship that is happening. The majority are missing the mark and somehow justifying disobedience to the Lord's command for us to go to the lost and proclaim the good news (and make disciples of Jesus Christ) that others may repent, believe, and be saved.
In today's short post, I simply want to encourage you to apply yourself to growing in your knowledge of Biblical evangelism. It's something I believe the Lord desires for us His people. Like most topics, there is a ton of material out there, but most of it is not worth your time and much of it can even cause you harm. The grocery stores in the US are typically full of food, but honestly, with the abundance of processed foods and chemical preservatives in the food, much of it simply fills the stomach but offers little to no nutritional value; some might even cause cancer... Evangelism is clearly an area that is not well taught and understood today, so let me encourage you to do yourself a favor and pick up some of these for summer reading. May the Lord bless you as you consider some of these texts.
Gospel Reset - Salvation Made Relevant by Ken Ham
This book isn't specifically about evangelism, but it is something I recommend for all Christians because too easily (as any missionary in Italy can tell you) we say things to the lost that just do not connect with their understanding. We speak over their head because we fail to comprehend their worldview. Ken does a great job in this short book pointing out Paul the Apostle's different approaches to evangelism. He spoke to Jews in a certain way because He knew they had a proper foundation and worldview. He spoke to Gentiles (all non-Jews) in another way because he understood their worldview and foundation were totally erroneous. This book is simple, practical, and very helpful.
"The gospel message hasn’t changed, but the way in which it needs to be presented in a secularized culture does need to change. The way to present the gospel does need to be reset in the world we now live in."
Ham, Ken. Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant (p. 9). Master Books. Kindle Edition.
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
This book is very practical in nature. It helps the everyday Christian to have a firm understanding of what the gospel is and is not, as well as what evangelism is and is not. He shares testimony and good advice for transforming everyday living into purposeful evangelism encounters.
"But if you’re anything like me, you’re probably not quite so blunt about your failures in evangelism. You’ve altered your mental records. In fact, even at the time you’re not witnessing, you’re busy spinning, justifying, rationalizing, and explaining to your conscience why it was really wise and faithful and kind and obedient not to share the gospel with a particular person at that time and in that situation."
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Foreword by C. J. Mahaney) (9Marks) (pp. 19-20). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
The Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon
Simply put, this is a masterpiece that I recommend every Christian must read! It's my favorite. (Currently, it's actually free in the kindle version on Amazon). Charles is rightly known as the "prince of preachers". He holds a special place in the history of the church and in the hearts of believers worldwide.
"You need no other nets when you fish for men; those your Master has given you are strong enough for the great fish and have meshes fine enough to hold the little ones. Spread these nets and no others, and you do not need to fear the fulfillment of His Word, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19)."
Jesus the Evangelist - Learning to Share the Gospel from the book of John by Richard Phillips
This book is great because the author does an in-depth study of the life of Jesus Christ as an evangelist who was actively seeking and saving the lost. This book left a wonderful mark on my soul.
"Much of what passes for evangelism today is nothing of the sort."
Richard D. Phillips. Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John (Kindle Location 36). Kindle Edition.
"All Christians are called to evangelism. Jesus the Evangelist is our model. If we want to experience the power of God in our gospel witness, we must follow biblical principles of evangelism; we must present the true gospel in clear, scriptural terms; and we must follow Jesus' example in the practice of evangelizing actual people. Let us seek God's blessing for the salvation of many by preparing ourselves to be faithful witnesses to the gospel of God's grace."
Richard D. Phillips. Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John (Kindle Locations 84-86). Kindle Edition.
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
Truth be told, I have this book, but I have not yet actually read it. I have studied the topic in great depth, however. It's very important that we consider and know well who God actually is when we endeavor in being faithful evangelists. This book can greatly help you know God better so you can love Him more.
Too many, sadly, have a very limited or even erroneous view of God. Many actually think, for example, that God needs them or that they are doing God a favor by believing in Jesus... Nothing could be further from the truth. The simple fact that God (the God of the Bible) is sovereign, changes everything! In my estimation, however, very few believers have a healthy in-depth understanding of God's sovereignty. God knows all things and never learns anything new. Jesus knows His sheep and they hear His voice and come to Him...
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. - John 10:27-28
Knowing God's sovereignty rightly leads us to true humility. It also motivates us to evangelize the lost, because we know it is His design (our privilege to participate in His work) for calling people out of darkness and into His marvelous light. It means that God doesn't save people because of anything that they have done or not done or will do. He saves people according to His sovereign will and benevolence and for His own glory.
Evangelism - How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles
This book is short but good like most of the books by 9 Marks. The author gives practical advice and paints a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ works together to bring souls to Jesus.
"If you do not know how to teach the gospel, you may not truly understand it. And if you do not understand it, you may not be a true Christian. I know many people who thought they were believers, but when they began to study the gospel in order to teach it, they realized they had never truly repented of sin and put their faith in Jesus."
Stiles, J. Mack. Evangelism (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches) (pp. 30-31). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Dr. Jason Lisle
This book is more about apologetics than evangelism, but they actually go hand-in-hand. Dr. Lisle is truly a brilliant man and has much to offer the church today. In this book, which I recommend you read and reread, he teaches presuppositional apologetics in a way that is practical and applicable to everyday evangelism, especially in these times when secularism dominates the landscape.
In short, he teaches a very powerful apologetic that cannot be defeated and it would do all Christians well to master. He teaches you the art of Proverbs 26:4-5 - "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." NB: On another occasion, I pray to share a handful of book recommendations on apologetics as well.
"Master the method outlined in the following chapters, and you will be able to defend Christianity against all opposition."
The Ultimate Proof of Creation (p. 7). Master Books. Kindle Edition."
What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
This book is helpful because it gives a clear definition as to what the message is that we are to be proclaiming in evangelism. If you get this wrong, you get everything else wrong as well. Today there are many who assume they know the gospel, but in effect, they don't. There are many churches that preach the gospel, but in reality, they are preaching "another gospel"... They may look fancy and sophisticated and have all the special lights, smoke, and even the loud band, but similar to the Roman Catholic Church in all its fancy and prestige, they are void of the true gospel.
"But according to the Bible, sin is a lot more than just the violation of some impersonal, arbitrary, heavenly traffic regulation. It's the breaking of a relationship, and even more, it is a rejection of God Himself -- a repudiation of God's rule, God's care, God's authority, and God's right to command those to whom he gave life. In short, it is the rebellion of the creature against his Creator." pg. 48
The Art of Man-Fishing by Thomas Boston
Thomas Boston was a puritan. There is so much for us to still learn from the Puritans. They loved God and His word passionately and they lived the gospel boldly in every area of life while leaving important and lasting impressions on our world. This short work is sure to stir your soul.
"He it is that brings sinners into the net which ministers spread; and if he be not with them to drive the fish into the net, they may toil all the night, and day too, and catch nothing."
Boston, Thomas. The Art Of Man-Fishing (Vintage Puritan). GLH Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Christ's Call to Discipleship by James Boice
This book is not about evangelism, but I include it here on this list because it is one of the best on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Understanding rightly what it is to be a follower of Jesus is crucial if we are going to faithfully evangelize because only in this way do we understand our role in evangelism and what we are leading others to become.
“Following Jesus must be the most important thing in our lives, even more than our lives. Nothing must be done that subtracts from that commitment. Everything must be done to strengthen it.”
Conversion - How God Creates a People by Michael Lawrence
It may come as a surprise to you, depending on what kind of church you are part of, but many churches contain large numbers of false converts. Many people assume they are right with God when in fact they are still His enemies, not truly regenerated, and still even dead in their sins... This book is short and simple but helpful at teaching what a true convert looks likes. Though it is not about evangelism per se, it is helpful in understanding what happens when someone is truly and soundly saved.
"When our converts from one evangelistic campaign are nowhere to be seen when the next campaign rolls around; when our members treat church as optional, to be balanced with sports leagues and vacation houses; when giving and attendance fall far short of the membership numbers; when volunteers are hard to find unless it’s a social event, the problem probably isn’t our evangelism technique, or poor leadership, or uninteresting worship services, or bad volunteer management. The problem may well be our practical theology of conversion. Too often we treat the symptoms. But what we really need is to go after the underlying disease."
Lawrence, Michael. Conversion (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches) (p. 15). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
There are many other books I could speak of, but these are some that came to mind for today's post.
Have you read any of these? If yes, what is something that you learned that changed your life? Leave a comment and encourage another reader of this blog. God bless!
Written by Jesse Schreck
In preparation for the PMc Webinar - Evangelism | Simple, Biblical, Fruitful
Lacking joy? It might be from a lack of evangelism. This Saturday, July 2nd, you're invited to join the PMc Missions Webinar