By Dr. Will McRaney, BCM/D Executive Missional Strategist
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Love Your Neighbor/Share Christ” evangelism strategy is written and designed to assist you as a church leader in developing a contextualized strategy to carry out significant parts of the Great Commission, with a focus toward the evangelism part of it. The strategy employs six different expressions, which are detailed in separate posts.
A third expression of both love and evangelism involves getting personal training in how to communicate the essentials of the Gospel and your testimony to another person who desperately needs to receive Christ. We get training because we love God and love people. We get training because we want to engage in expanding God’s glory and Kingdom.
Personal evangelism is a spiritual battle that we are better engaged in with some training just as Jesus trained the disciples. We do have the Holy Spirit in us and at work in the life of the lost person, but we do want to be equipped and ready to give an account of the hope that we have found in Christ in a clear manner. Campus Crusade for Christ founder, Bill Bright, stated that success in personal evangelism is “going in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” Christians should also want to go increasingly prepared to share the Gospel.
[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”4″ position =”right” box_spacing =”10″ padding =”10″ background_color =”#EBF0F5″ border_width =”3″ border_color =”#336699″ border_style =”solid” ]TOP PRACTICES:
• Training in testimony sharing
• Use of prepared training materials from one hour to multiple months
• Training with e-Cube
• How to share a Gospel tract
• Door-to-door training
1 Assist people in spiritual, mental, and practical areas of sharing their Christ.
2 Help people learn to share their testimony and the essentials of the Christian salvation message.
3 Develop the skill.
Colossians 4:2-6, Ephesians 6:18-20,
1 Peter 3:15-16
Over the next several months, plan several personal evangelism training sessions of varying lengths for people to learn through classroom and field practice how to share their testimony and the Gospel essentials.[/boxify]
Christians are more confident in sharing their faith if they are clear about the essentials of the Gospel message so that they can communicate them. This can happen with practice or with learning a particular model of evangelism, or just getting comfortable with the essential pictures to communicate to the lost person.
Christians will find many opportunities to share their personal testimony if they are prepared to share it in various settings and lengths. This is always a good place to begin evangelism training, sharing your story with a lost person.
As Christians share their faith, they will encounter various combinations of religious beliefs. Evangelism training can contain approaches to both defending the Christian faith and also approaches to engaging people of other faiths.
Finally, training for personal evangelism should not only involve intellectual preparation, but also involve training through practice in the field with people. Each witnessing situation will be a little different, so there is no preparation quite like preparation in the field among real people, with real questions and concerns, but who also really need Christ.
In what he calls a “tool belt” comprised of evangelism tools, Pastor David Hall and the staff of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md., have led several different evangelism classes in their church.
These include the North American Mission Board’s Continuous Witness Training (CWT), which employs a mentoring approach of training students following the model given in 2 Timothy 2:2; LifeWay’s F.A.I.T.H. Evangelism series, designed similar to CWT; and “The Way of the Master,” a non-denominational evangelism resource designed by former child actor Kirk Cameron and New Zealand-born evangelist Ray Comfort and American radio host Todd Friel. Hall will soon teach LifeWay’s “MasterLife,” of which evangelism is a strong component.
The training has paid off. Hall is thankful for church member Silas Martin, who often joins him on evangelism visits. “He has matured a lot in his ability to share his faith boldly,” Hall said.
Bob Parsley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Crofton, Md., says the subject of the largest Sunday school class in his church is evangelism.
In fact, the church has baptized nearly 50 people in the last two years, the majority of which are adults.
“I am a firm believer. If you reach a mother or father, you can reach a child,” said Parsley, who has been at the church for 15 years.
In addition to leading new converts through “I’m a Christian Now” and “The New Believer’s Survival Kit,” Parsley is now teaching Thom Rainer’s “I am a Church Member,” which includes evangelism training.
You will find additional information on our website, www.bcmd.org/loveyourneighbor. Tools will be there for your use in each area of the Expressions in various forms such as print, web, and video. You will find sermon starters, Sunday School lessons, and much more.