Which is more effective in the long term? A highly skilled evangelist (think Billy Graham or a gifted pastor) or an army of ordinary people sharing the good news of Jesus everywhere they go? Much as I appreciate and value evangelists, I believe equipping people to do the work of an evangelist (which, according to Ephesians 4:11-12, is what an evangelist should do) will have a greater impact.
In my experience, while it obviously needs the work of the Holy Spirit, there are three main contexts in which a person is likely to become a follower of Jesus:
- When Jesus meets them at their point of need—for example, after prayer for healing or for finances (Luke 10:9)
- In response to our story and the story of Jesus (Acts 26)
- As they explore the Word of God in a participatory (Discovery) Bible study—this is the context in which we’ve seen whole groups find Jesus (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Therefore, there are some skills we need to acquire:
- How to pray in faith, which means taking risks
- How to tell our story in a way that is neither religious nor self-righteous (nor full of Christianese) and then bridge into the story of Jesus
- How to introduce people to and lead them in a participatory Bible study
All of this can be simple enough that a new disciple can train others too.
What do you think?
Adapted from Felicity Dale‘s blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is an author and an advocate for women in the church. She trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world.