When talking with Christians about the importance of
Evangelism, one of the most frequent arguments against it I hear is
"Evangelism is not my gift." It is true that Evangelism is a spiritual
gift that not all Christians have, but the gift of Evangelism is not preaching
the Gospel. What is it then? The Apostle Paul explains what the purpose of the
gift of Evangelism is in Ephesians 4:11-12,
"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and
some as evangelists, and some as Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of
the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of
A person who has the gift of Evangelism is a person like
myself who is called to motivate and train Christian Laymen to preach the
Gospel. But wait a minute. Is this not also the calling and the responsibilities
of Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers according to this passage of
Scripture? You see preaching the Gospel is not a gift, but the responsibility of
all born again Christians. In fact all ministerial gifts are primarily for the
purpose of equipping Christian Layman to preach the Gospel and for training to
minister to one another. I received Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord in
December of 1969. Soon afterwards the Lord dealt with me as a believer about my
responsibility to share the Gospel with men. The end result was I went through a
Training Program in Evangelism taught by Campus
Crusade for Christ, which specializes in training Christian Layman
in how to share their faith with others. After eight years of faithfully weekly
going out and sharing my faith with others, the Lord came to me in my spirit and
said to me, "Well done good and faithful servant. Because you have been
faithful in little I am going to put you in charge of much: You are an
Evangelist, Overseer Teacher." After preaching the Gospel faithfully for
eight years, Jesus then gave me the gift of Evangelism. Why? So I could motivate
and train Christian Layman in how to share the Gospel with others. This book,
along with all the other books on motivating and training in Evangelism I have
written, is a demonstration of the gift of Evangelism, but the responsibility of
Evangelizing is the responsibility of all Christians.
If you are a Minister and if you are carrying the burden of
preaching the Gospel alone, you are fulfilling your responsibility as a
Christian to preach the Gospel, but you are not fulfilling your calling as a
Minister which is to train and motivate Christian Laymen to preach the Gospel.
Doing the work of Evangelism is the responsibility of every born again
Christian, but ministerial gifts are not given by God for the preaching of the
Gospel, but for equipping Godís people to do the work of Evangelism. How do I
know? Because I am an Evangelist and I have the gift of Evangelism and this book
is an exercise of that gift which is to motivate and equip you a Christian to
get involved in preaching the Gospel to men.
Since the day I learned how to effectively share my Christian
faith with others, twenty-Seven years ago, which was about eight months after I
came to know Jesus, I have regularly aggressively shared my faith with others.
However, when talking to Christians about the importance of going through a
training program in Evangelism so that they can get actively involved in
aggressive planned Evangelism, I will receive one of several arguments: One of
these is the following: "I believe in friendship Evangelism."
Concerning this argument, I agree that when in a job situation or in school or
the home, as the Lord gives us opportunity, we should share Jesus Christ with
men. Dr. Bill Bright in his book, How You Can Be a Fruitful Witness,
states, "Whenever I am alone with a person for a few minutes, I assume that
I am there by divine appointment to share the good news of Godís love and
forgiveness."56/31 Jesus said that if we were ashamed of Him
before men, He would be ashamed of us before His Father and the Holy Angles.
Therefore, Jesus wants us to take advantage of whatever opportunity we have to
share His love and forgiveness with men. For this reason this is an important
aspect of witnessing our faith with others, but as I will show later it is not
the kind of Evangelism that Jesus specifically commanded us to do in the Bible.
Another argument I hear frequently against aggressive planned
Evangelism is "I do not feel led of the Holy Spirit to do so." Many of
these people have been telling me this for years. I believe in Holy Spirit led
Evangelism also. But what I mean by the leading of the Holy Spirit and what my
brethren in Christ mean by this are two different things. What they mean by the
leading of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism is being involved in Evangelism period.
That isnít what I mean by being led of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism. Let me
If by the leading of the Holy Spirit Christians mean waiting
for the command to go and share their faith with others, let the Christian know
and understand that Jesus and the Holy Spirit have already given this command.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19,
"All authority has been given to me in heaven and on
earth. GO THEREFORE! Make disciples of all the nations."
In this passage Jesus tells us that all authority has been
given to Him in heaven and on earth. Because this is true and because He lives
in us, He tells us in conclusion, GO THEREFORE! Jesus is saying,
"All authority in the physical and spiritual realm have been given to Me.
Because this is true, you no longer need to wait for My command to go. My
command is GO! As you go, I will be there with you and will guide you and help
you succeed and overcome whatever obstacles you might encounter."
The Apostles Peter and Paul tell us that all Scripture is
inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.39 In other words these men wrote
the Bible under the inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit. By the Holy
Spiritís leading Matthew wrote that Jesus said all authority has been given to
Him by the Father and that for this reason we are not to wait for further
instructions from the Holy Spirit to get involved in Evangelism, but rather we
are to GO NOW! The leading of the Holy Spirit to get
involved in Evangelism is an ever present now GO THEREFORE!
The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2,
"And working together with Him, we also urge you not to
receive the grace of God in vainófor He says, ĎAt the acceptable time I
listened to you, and on the day of salva-tion I helped youí; BEHOLD, NOW
is Ďthe acceptable time,í BEHOLD, NOW is ĎThe day of salvation.í"
Other Christians pose the argument this way, they will say,
"In our Church we feel that Evangelizing our community at this time is not
right. Our community is not ripe yet for Evangelism." What does Jesus and
the leading of the Holy Spirit through the writer John say about this argument?
"Do you not say, "There are yet four months, and
then comes the harvestí? Behold, I say to you lift up your eyes and look
on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who Reaps is
receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who Sows and
he who Reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ĎOne
Sows, and another Reaps.í" (Jn 4:35-38).
Jesus asks us in this passage, "Are you saying you need
to wait until your community is ripe? You are wrong. I say to you look out on
your community and see that it is ripe for Evangelism now!" To help the
reader, Jesus goes on to explain what he means by Evangelism and ripe for
Evangelism. He explains that not all Christians are called to be Reapers but all
Christians are called to be Sowers.
What is the difference between a Sower and a Reaper? In
farming terms, the Sower is the farmer. The farmer goes out and plants the seed,
waters and fertilizes the ground and weeds the ground. Who does the reaping?
Hired labor. Is not an Evangelist someone who is hired to Reap where he did not
Sow? Your community may not always be ready for an anointed Evangelist,
but your community is always ripe to be Evangelized. Not all Christians
are called to be Evangelists, but all Christians are called to do Evangelism. If
you are not called specifically to be an Evangelist, you along with all other
Christians are called to do Evangelism. You are called to be a farmer. You are
called to Sow, water, fertilize and weed. You are called to go and plant the
seed of the Word into the hearts of men. You are called to prepare the ground
for the Evangelist. The command to do this has already been given. You do not
need to wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has commanded you and I
to GO THEREFORE! Behold the fields are WHITE for harvest!
Part of the problem of getting Christians involved in
aggressive Evangelism is that unless they can be guaranteed to reap a harvest
every time they go out, they get discouraged and wonít continue. That would be
like a farmer saying that unless he can have a harvest now, he wonít Sow seed,
water, fertilize and weed his field. If the farmer refused to Sow seed and then
water, fertilize and weed his field, there would never be a crop for the Reapers
to harvest. If Christians do not Sow the seed of the Word and then water,
fertilize and weed the field, there wonít be a harvest when the Reaper comes.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:4, "He who watches the wind will not sow
and he who looks at the clouds will not reap."
Which takes more time: sowing, watering, fertilizing and
weeding or Reaping? The sowing and nurturing of the ground of course. The
harvest comes at the end of the year and is over as quickly as it comes, but
only after several months of sowing, watering, fertilizing and weeding. The same
is true in Evangelism. There are long periods that when I go out and share the
Gospel with men that I see no conversions at all. But then a harvest comes. This
happened to me one time while doing regular college Evangelism. For several
weeks I did not see any fruit. Then one day Jesus said to me, "It is time
for a harvest!" The following week I led six college students to Christ.
Josh McDowell is one of my greatest heroes in the faith and one of the greatest
Evangelists of our time, but I heard him share once that even in his ministry
there are times that he goes through long periods without seeing any conversions
either. He shared that once he shared with more than thirtysix individual people
the Gospel before someone prayed and received Christ. If your Church is
going out and sharing the Gospel regularly, but you are not seeing any present
results, donít get discouraged. You are not abnormal. You are not striving or
producing flesh. You are sowing, watering, fertilizing and weeding.
But what does the Scripture promise? "And let us not lose heart in doing
good,for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary" (Gal 6:9). The
Scripture commands us to not become weary in well doing. Why? Because in due
season you will reap a harvest.
Who is more important: The farmer or the Reaper? In
Evangelistic terminology, who is more important: The Sower or the Evangelist?
The Sower of course. The Sower is the one who has prepared the ground, planted
the seed of Godís word, fertilized it, weeded it, watered it and nurtured it.38
The farmer is the one who gets the blue ribbon at the fair, not the Reaper. The
Sower is the more important factor. But what does Jesus say about the Reaper?
Jesus says about the Evangelist, "I sent you to reap that for which you
have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their
labor." Jesus tells us that the Evangelist is the least important factor
who Reaps where he did not Sow or labor.
Brother and sister, if you are not called to be a
Reaper, then Jesus has called you to be a Sower and the command is to GO
THEREFORE! The command to go has already been given. If you are a Sower,
Jesus says do not minimize your importance. Jesus says you are more important
than the Reaper.
So what do I mean when I say I believe in the leading of the
Holy Spirit in Evangelism? I do not mean, "Does Jesus want me to go?"
That is already commanded to all of us. I mean, "Jesus, where do you want
me to go and how much time in my week do you want me to spend in Evangelism in
relation to the other responsibilities and callings you have given me."
This is an important prayer because Jesus is Lord and we want to obey His
leading in our lives in the use of our time during the week. Evangelism is only
one responsibility Jesus wants all his children involved in, in the use of their
time during the week.
There are times like now in my life, because I am called to
do Pastoral work, that Jesus has given me specific commands about my involvement
in Evangelism; but there have been times in the past when I wasnít getting any
specific direction. In those times when I would make a schedule to complete the
then present responsibilities Jesus was giving me, I would make sure I put two
to four hours in there some place for the specific purpose of going out and
sharing my faith with others. I would do this not as a matter of salvation, but
out of a motivation of love and because I love Jesus and this is what he wants
me as a child of God to do. I would do and still do this unless Jesus gives me
specific direction in Evangelism to do otherwise.
I tell you solemnly that unless all Christians get involved
in regular weekly aggressive Evangelism, the lost in this country will not be
reached and America will never be turned around. Making more laws and increasing
the police force will not turn the country around. Ask Russia. They had more
laws and the majority of their money went to police action. It did not deter
crime or any other societal problems in the least. Only the Word of God can
change a personís heart and turn man around, nothing else will. There is only
one way that Godís Word gets into the hearts of men: when all believers take
time in their weeks to go out and share the Word of God with men. Aggressive
community planned Layman Evangelism is not an option, it is an absolute
necessity to bring America back to God. Nothing else will.
What should you do? If you have not been trained in
Evangelism, the first thing you need to do is go through a training program in
Evangelism like this one. Experience the ministry Gift of Evangelism for
yourself. Chapters 3 and 4 in this Section of the Textbook explain why a
training program like this one is so important. One of the values of a training
program like this one is that you learn from the experiences of others what to
do and what not to do and how to share the Gospel successfully and in love. In
this training program you also learn what the Gospel is and how to properly
disciple a person when they receive Jesus so they can grow in Him. In this
Training Program of Evangelism you also learn how to deal with tough questions
you might encounter on the field. Chapters 3 and 4 explain the importance of a
Training Program in Evangelism, what the necessary ingredients of an
Evangelism Program are to become successful in Evangelism and how this Textbook
more than fulfills these requirements.
Once you receive training, the second step is to then pray
and ask Jesus if there is any specific way he wants you to apply your training.
If Jesus does not give you any specific direction after a reasonable period of
time, He is then telling you that He is leaving it up to you to decide how and
in what capacity to be involved in Evangelism and continue this until Jesus
gives you a specific command in your involvement in Evangelism.
But as to whether Jesus wants you involved in regular ongoing
aggressive Evangelism now or at all, that question has already been answered:
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO
THEREFORE! and make disciples of all the nations... the fields are white
for harvest." Now lets go on to chapter 2 and discuss what is involved in
bringing a person to Jesus Christ and why it is so important that you involve
yourself in this process.