bits from bob....
Enlisting More Members in Evangelism
by Bob Young
©, 2002, Bob Young, bobyoungresources.com
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
TITLE: Enlisting More Members in Evangelism
Defn: Enlist: enroll for service, win support of or get help, support, or aid
Evangelism: telling good news
Summary: Winning support, help, and aid of more members for the task of personal "good news-ing"
INTRODUCTION: QuestionsWhat?--More members involved in the task of good newsing
Why?--World is lost.
Where?--Around the world, beginning in your backyard.
When?--Immediately, for the need is great, immediate, because we live in a receptive world. 9/11, difficulties, challenges, emptiness.
Who?--All, every Christian can tell how they became a Christian. Every Christian can tell what a joy/blessing it is to be a Christian.
How?--Motivate members to see the need, see the power, see the possibilities.
How convert Tegucigalpa? Consider some of the effective models: Continent of Great Cities; personal contacts (Boston movement, now International Church of Christ).
I. Modern History of evangelism
- A. Mass evangelism, primarily through preaching/revivals, beginning with great awakenings. Gospel meetings, invitations to special series, invitations to special days. Personal invitation, but impersonal evangelism.
- B. Mass enlistment evangelism, Bible school, bus, today in 12-step programs, enlist processes for adults.
- C. Mass media evangelism, radio, TV, literature, audio cassettes, videocassettes, technology, Internet
- D. Smaller mass evangelism, specializations, e.g. youth, campus, military, migrants, immigrants (LST), etc.
- E. Now into small groups, neighborhood Bible studies, etc.
- F. Summary
- 1. 1950s-60s--campaigns/gospel meetings, Billy Graham
- 2. 1960s--enlistment evangelism, Bible school, buses,
- 3. 1970s--Evangelism ‘73, Body Life Evangelism, mass media, TV specials
- 4. 1980s--More media, TV evangelists, renewed interest in missions
- 5. 1990s--specializations, worship evangelism
- G. Where is personal evangelism?
II. NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM
- A. Original command, The Great Commission, A Great Commission, Acts 1:8
- B. How did they do it?
In NT--two kinds of evangelism--mass and personal. Results not by mass evangelism, only two mass meetings in all of Acts, mass evangelism method played minor role. Not build buildings, knock doors, ask people to come to church. Church buildings= bane of evangelism, not because we have them, but because we won't get out of them.
We pay lip service to church is not a building, but our practice betrays us. Must straighten this out in our minds. Get it in right perspective. Effective evangelism is never centered in church building. Is centered outside church building.
Jerusalem was evangelized, Acts 2:46-47; every day evangelism
The purpose of this church is to take the gospel to every house in your community. Have we obeyed the great commission at home? Have we evangelized this community? Be honest. This is the purpose of your church. This is why this church exists.
Acts 20:20, continues the pattern. Paul came into a city, started a church, stayed for a while to train the Christians, then these Christians would assume the responsibility. This is his modus operandi. Go from house to house. For 30 years +/- from Acts 2 to Acts 20, this was plan. What were results?
Acts 19:10. In two years, 24 months. We have spent 200 years trying to win people by other methods. We have hardly held our own. Nothing in last 1800 years so dramatic as this picture, Col. 1:5, 23. In two years--without cars, planes, radio, TV, printing, Internet--all of Asia Minor heard the gospel.
III. Only two kinds of evangelism: Personal evangelism vs. Impersonal
- A. Preaching is impersonal. All mass evangelism is impersonal. Radio, TV, are impersonal. Filmstrips are not as personal as we would like to think. They are canned. Enlistment evangelism can be very impersonal, relationship of teacher to student is often abstract. Virtually all evangelism in history of US has no personal quality. Little individual contact. Yet, Christianity is personal.
- B. Limitations of mass evangelism
- 1. Mass evangelism cannot win world for Christ because it depends on initiative of unsaved. Only a limited number of people will get up, hear preacher, turn on TV/radio, check Internet.
- 2. Mass evangelism cannot communicate gospel with maximum clarity and application.
- 3. Mass evangelism is impersonal.
- 4. Mass evangelism cannot be sustained. Is sporadic, evangelistic campaigns stop, gospel meetings, etc. Reflects shallow thinking, professional soul-winning, sporadic refreshing and revival which leads to roller coaster Christianity. The only way to sustain a spirit of revival is to have consistent, constant, daily conversions.
- 5. The individual Christian cannot fully participate. Spectator Christianity, invite a friend to watch, to attend. But never become genuine doers of word, just keep hearing.
- 6. Mass evangelism has a tendency to fade into disuse after a period of time. Mass evangelism is constantly being rediscovered.
- C. Limitations of enlistment evangelism
- 1. Enlistment evangelism also depends more than we realize on the response of the unsaved.
- a. Cannot reach many, 1/5 of those enlisted are saved, but only 3% can be easily enlisted. This means that a community with 1000 lost has only 30 who can be easily enlisted and only 6 of those who are saved. Consistent with our experience. Increase the odds, enlist 10%, so now we have 100, save 1/3, we are saving only 33 out of the 1000, 3%.
- b. Enlistment evangelism is hard to sustain, for the things in which people are enlisted are labor intensive: BCC, bus, Bible school, VBS, 12-step, etc. Gets people involved, but in other activities than evangelism.
- c. We will convert only 1 out of 250 that we do not enlist. That is a meager 4/10 of 1%. Some say we should therefore put more emphasis on enlistment methods. Do you know why the 249 were not won? It was not because they were not enlisted, although some churches could enlist more with diligent effort. It is largely because they refuse to be enlisted.
- d. 97 out of 100 will not participate in a religious activity when invited. We have little or no recourse for those who refuse to be enlisted.
- 2. Enlistment evangelism does not communicate the gospel because it gets too involved in the mechanics.
- 3. Enlistment evangelism is very mechanical.
- 4. Enlistment evangelism focuses on the church more than on Christ. We must stop inviting people to church and begin inviting people to Christ.
- 5. Enlistment evangelism is impersonal.
- 6. Enlistment evangelism is hard to sustain.
- 7. Most enlistment evangelism efforts fade after a while.
- 8. Enlistment evangelism often hardens people to the gospel.
- 9. Enlistment evangelism limits interest in evangelism, programs rather than people, hard to get people involved, because in our hearts of hearts we know this is not genuine, effective evangelism. Visitation programs, bus, VBS, etc. Becomes internally focused.
- 10. Enlistment evangelism works primarily with children.
- E. Limitations of church building evangelism.
For the most part the only people who can be won by the two methods above have to come to our church building. Most people will not do this! The appeal is not the church assembled, that is primarily for Christians. The appeal to list man is Jesus Christ.
Should we expect lost people to come to church? Most Christians find it a real test of their Christianity to get here, check out the Wednesday night crowd. And remember: we have Jesus, he has redeemed us, transformed us, we want to go to church. Rather than ask "should we expect lost people to come to church" turn the question around, "Is it too much to ask Xns to go to the homes of the lost?
Frankly, we have gotten more cooperation out of the lost than the saints. Some lost people will come to church, we've succeeded far less in getting Christians to go to the homes of the lost. The lost have often proven more cooperative than we. What does God expect? Go into all the world!
There is not a religious group in America that has an effective program to reach people who will not come to church--and there are more and more of them--but personal evangelism can reach everyone.
IV. Has Personal Evangelism failed?
- A. Some say it has, and they are partly right, and we should identify the problem.
- 1. We don't do it. Preachers don't win souls.
- 2. The wrong concepts in soul winning--we are willing unbelievers.
- 3. Poor methods among some soul winners. Illus: parallel to changes in sales approaches over the years.
- 4. Inadequate or wrong kind of training.
- 5. Allowing personal evangelism to be secondary in our evangelism efforts.
- 6. Lack of emphasis on spirituality.
- 7. Unnatural attitudes toward soul winning.
- 8. Lack of spiritual preparation.
- B. What personal evangelism can do.
- 1. Bring about revival in this church.
- 2. Sustain that spirit of revival.
- 3. Evangelize the world.
- 4. Encourage, beget more soul sinners.
- 5. Help Christians grow and mature spiritually.
- 6. Be more productive than any other kind of evangelism.
V. What must we do?
- A. Simplify, focus our church programs
- B. Encourage visitation as a part of personal evangelism, not enlistment evangelism
- C. Make evangelism a constant effort with every Christian.
- D. Encourage, demand that the preacher and elders lead in this effort.
- E. Recognize the legitimate role of preaching and assembly in the evangelism process, and understand the dynamics of assimilation.
- F. Live Christianity as a natural part of our life.
- G. Overcome our feelings of guilt.
- H. Overcome our tendencies to conform and measure ourselves by ourselves.
Last updated August 31, 2013