Evangelism Is… a Family Affair (The Soul-Winning Motivator #113)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Joshua 24:15 which reads: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Our soul winning quote today is from John F. Kennedy. He said: “There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 96 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence” by Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…A Family Affair

According to statistics from the American Family Association as stated in the book Family to Family by Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee:
• Only 34 percent of America’s families eat one meal together each day.
• The average father spends only eight to 10 minutes a day with his children. This includes television and mealtimes.
• Only 12 percent of America’s families pray together.
• The average couple spends only four minutes of uninterrupted time together a day.

If these statistics are accurate, no wonder the American family and the American church are being systematically dismantled. One result of this tragedy is the long-term impact on teenagers when they go off to college. According to Pipes and Lee, “88 percent of those who grow up in our evangelical churches leave at 18 and do not come back.”

While such statistics are alarming, there is hope for these teenagers and their parents. According to another study that is quoted in the Family to Family promotional video, “When parents lead their children in sharing their faith and engaging the spiritual harvest, the 88 percent fallout drops to less than 4 percent.”

If this is indeed the case, than families must become intently focused on a common mission that is passed to future generations. The obvious question is how.


Evangelism Is… Working Together (The Soul-Winning Motivator #112)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Ecclesiastes 4:9 which reads: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”

Our soul winning quote today is from Joel Comiskey. He said: “The group aspect of cell or small-group evangelism takes the burden off the leader and places it on everyone in the cell or small group. It’s net fishing as opposed to pole fishing. Pole fishing is done individually, while net fishing requires the help of many hands. Net fishing is a group effort and results in catching more fish, while fishing individually with a pole catches one fish at a time.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 95 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence” by Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Working Together

Doing evangelism with a group is another effective way to share the gospel. Reaching people through the power of a team is not merely practical; it is biblical. Luke 5:17-25 reads:

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

Without his friends this man would not have met Jesus. He’d still be lying at home in grief, guilt, and depression. His life was changed because they brought him to Jesus. His sins were forgiven because of their faith. He was healed because they carried him to the house, they dug a hole in the roof, and they lowered him down in front of Jesus. Without his friends this man would not have met Jesus.

Few people come to Jesus on their own. Most of us meet Jesus because of the invitation of a family member or friend. Eighty-five percent of the people who meet Jesus do so because they were brought to him by a friend or family member.

Evangelism Is… Creating Opportunities for Gospel Conversations, Part 2 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #111)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is 1 John 1:1-2 which reads: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us).”

Our soul winning quote today is from Toby Frost. He said: “The church has too often closed itself behind institutional walls. Evangelistic Block Parties provide churches with a ministry of presence and visibility as the church moves out of its building in Christ’s name to feed, teach, clothe, and evangelize.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 94 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence” by Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Creating Opportunities for Gospel Conversations (Part 2)

Creating Opportunities Through Evangelistic Events/Ministries

Evangelistic Block Parties

Evangelistic block parties are among the easiest and most effective outreach events. They generally consist of a registration table (everyone gets registered in order to receive tickets for lunch or to win door prizes), a popcorn machine, a snow-cone machine, a cotton candy machine, helium tanks for lots of balloons, plus plenty of tables, chairs, and pop-up tents in case of bad weather. You can also use a grill for the hot dogs, hamburgers, or barbecue chicken; or you can prepare nachos, chili, or whatever is popular in your community. Typical activities include seven to 10 simple games, moonwalks, and face painting. The block party can be held on the church campus or preferably at a local park or school. Church members usually blitz the community with invitations several times in the weeks leading up to the party and always on the morning of the event. As people arrive, smiling Christians of all ages greet them and assist in directing the families to different activities.

In many cases these simple encounters lead to divine opportunities to share a brief testimony and, in some cases, to make a gospel presentation. This is why all workers receive training ahead of time and why you plan in advance to follow up immediately (within the first three to five days) with every registered nonchurch member. The follow-up is a good time to combine servant-evangelism activities by taking a small gift (cookies, McDonald’s gift certificates) when visiting the homes of registered guests.

An average block party will last approximately three to four hours. This is advisable for the stamina of both the workers and the participants.

Evangelism Is… Creating Opportunities for Gospel Conversations (The Soul-Winning Motivator #110)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Acts 4:20 which reads: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Our soul winning quote today is from David Wheeler. He said: “One of the keys to effective evangelism is creating opportunities for interaction that may lead to gospel conversations….This is especially true in contemporary culture where trust is elusive and busy people tend to isolate themselves from human contact.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 93 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence” by Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

In a day when crime is high and trust is low, busy people tend to isolate themselves from contact with others. This can make sharing the gospel challenging. While there are no easy solutions, creative thinking and subsequent approaches can open doors. Here is a collection from David Wheeler of best practices of activities that create witnessing opportunities.

Creating Opportunities Through Intentional Relationships

1. Community Groups
Community groups are a major outreach tool at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. The groups are designed to get unchurched and/or dechurched people in the church buildings for the purpose of meeting their needs and giving the gospel a chance to be heard by these people who need it most. The groups offer numerous types of educational and practical opportunities such as crafts, hunting and fishing, car repair and restoration, preparing tax returns, gourmet cooking, guitar lessons, golf, Moms of Preschoolers, and much more. The approach is a unique combination of both servant evangelism and ministry evangelism. While it is done on the church property, this effort requires incarnational intervention through the stair-step process we discussed in an earlier broadcast:

• Win the person to yourself.
• Win the person to the church.
• Win the person to Christ.

In addition, church members are encouraged to pray for participants, care for participants; and to share with unsaved participants. The groups meet on the church property for eight weeks, three times a year (mid-September to Thanksgiving, February through March, and May through June). Promotion of the groups and recruiting occurs in the off months. The sessions meet for one hour on Wednesday evenings, which includes a brief devotional (usually from Our Daily Bread).

As time goes by, the aim is to look for connection points during the weeks and eventually to invite people to come for Sunday services. Church members are prayerfully intentional but careful not to rush the process.

Evangelism Is… Volunteering (The Soul-Winning Motivator #109)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Luke 10:27 which reads: “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

Our soul winning quote today is from Everett Mámor. He said: “The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 92 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Volunteering

David Wheeler writes:

When I was a kid, I loved Batman. My friends liked Superman, Spiderman, the Hulk, Captain America, the Green Hornet, and even Wonder Woman. Not me, I was always a fan of Batman!

It may have been his cool outfit with the black mask or his ability to climb buildings. Maybe it was the Bat Cave or the fact that he was the only superhero who drove a car, the Batmobile. Who knows, for whatever reason, I loved Batman. I have never understood the need for Robin, but I still loved Batman!

As I grew older, my passion for superheroes diminished, and I realized that you do not have to wear tights and a ridiculous suit to be superhuman. One reason I liked Batman was the fact that he was a somewhat regular guy in real life. Bruce Wayne was a millionaire who could have ignored the plight of humanity. On the contrary his response was to spend his money, to volunteer his time, and to risk his life in order to assist others. When Bruce Wayne became Batman, he was like thousands of volunteers in the church who give of themselves in order to lead hurting humanity to Christ! If you want to become a superhero, the first thing to do is to become a willing volunteer.

On one occasion Jesus told a story about two men who started and ended as strangers, but one of their lives was forever changed by their encounter. The story was born as Jesus was being questioned by a teacher of the law about eternal life.

Luke 10:25–27 says: “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

The Jewish teacher then asked a significant question, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ response was to tell the story of the good Samaritan.

Evangelism Is… Asking for a Response, Part 3 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #108)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Matthew 7:13-14 which reads: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Our soul winning quote today is from Jacquelyn K. Heasley. She said: “How you believe God perceives people will determine how you respond to them.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 91 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Asking for a Response (Part 3)

Reasons We Don’t Ask for a Response

Here are some reasons Christians will share the gospel but fail to extend an invitation and ask for a response.

If the Person Says No, How Should I Respond?

The fear of rejection is always the most stated hesitation for not intentionally asking people to respond to the gospel message. Understandably, most people want to be liked and do not want to encounter conflict. They are somehow convinced that people are predisposed to saying no and will not listen.

This is, however, a deceptive misconception created by Satan. If the gospel is presented in a clear and loving manner by an obedient messenger, the person who says no is usually not rejecting the individual but rejecting Christ.

Therefore, if the response is no, ask why. After all, hesitation could be a simple misunderstanding. The key is the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If the person is persistent in giving a no answer, simply back away and ensure that your prayers will continue. Offer to answer any questions and to continue the conversation in the future.

Asking for a Response Seems Unnatural and Forced

People freely discuss sporting events, hobbies, or grandchildren! Unfortunately, the same is not true when it comes to intentionally asking for a response as the result of sharing one’s faith. Often the witness begins to feel awkward and even weird. Such conversations may seem unnatural and pushy. But why?

Paul reminded the Ephesian Christians that we are involved in a spiritual war. Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The bottom line is that when a person shares Christ, the witness is being opposed by the dark forces of Satan. As the limited ruler of this earthly domain, he will not easily relinquish a soul into the hands of Christ without a desperate battle. The oppression the witness feels is often spiritual warfare.

Don’t fear; the God who is in you is greater than the enemy who is in the world.

Evangelism Is… Asking for a Response, Part 2 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #107)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Matthew 7:8 which reads: “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Our soul winning quote today is from Roy Fish. He said: “From beginning to end, invitations are extended in scripture. God’s probing question to Adam in the garden, “Where art thou?” in Genesis 3 is something of an invitation. The final chapter of the Bible contains an invitation, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who heareth say, come. And let him who is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Holy scripture reverberates with invitations to lost humanity to turn to God for forgiveness and new life.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 90 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Asking for a Response (Part 2)

Jesus Extended Public Invitations

Jesus’ first sermon was a public call to repentance.

Matthew 4:12-17 reads: “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, He publicly called people to make a decision to follow Him. Peter, Andrew, James, and John received public invitations as they were fishing.

Matt 4:18–22 says: “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

Levi or Matthew was also given a public invitation to follow Christ. Mark 2:13–14 says: “And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”

Evangelism Is… Asking for a Response, Part 1 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #106)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Matthew 7:7 which reads: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Our soul winning quote today is from C. E. Autrey. He said: “If a pastor fails to invite his listeners to accept Christ, he is departing from the practice of the New Testament church.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 89 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Asking for a Response (Part 1)

Disciples Are to Catch Fish

A pastor went on a fishing trip every spring with a professional fisherman. The professional fisherman obviously loved Christ and was not shy about boldly proclaiming his faith, as he put it, “with everyone who sat in his boat.”

After two days of listening to exciting stories about his obvious evangelistic prowess, the pastor chimed in and made a simple observation. He said, “I am encouraged to hear about all the people who have heard the message of Christ while sitting in your boat; however, you have yet to mention if any of the people ever repented and surrendered their lives to follow Christ.” Then the pastor asked, “What kind of professional fisherman would you be if you refused to cast your line and bait into the water; after all, is not the purpose of fishing eventually to catch fish?!”

The professional fisherman responded by stating, “What do you mean? I am, after all, being obedient by sharing my faith with unsaved people.”

The pastor replied, “Yes, that is true, but like fishing, you cannot just show up at the lake and expect the fish to jump into the boat. Evangelism is more than merely sharing information and telling inspirational stories. Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it is also being intentional about inviting people to follow Christ!”

The pastor’s words cut deep into the heart of the professional fisherman. He responded by promising the pastor that he would have a different testimony when they met again the next spring. The professional fisherman kept a journal of all the people he took on his boat over the next year. By asking for a genuine response to the gospel, the fisherman led more than 200 people to Christ in a single year!

Evangelism Is… Giving a Logical Defense of Your Faith, Part 4 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #105)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Acts 4:12 which reads: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Our soul winning quote today is from John Piper. He said: “If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism, but deception.”

Our soul winning devotional is Evangelism Is…Giving a Logical Defense of Your Faith (Part 4) from Dave Earley and David Wheeler’s book, “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence.”

Here is our last example of how we can give a reason for the hope that is in us when people question our faith:

Shouldn’t We Tolerate Others’ Views? Does It Really Matter What You Believe as Long as You Are Sincere?

Regarding Tolerance. Dave Earley says, “Yes, we should tolerate others’ views but only until those views conflict with the truth.” Tolerance sounds kind and open-minded. But too often tolerance is used as a cover for shortcomings. (“If everything is right, then nothing is wrong. I can ignore the issue of sin and salvation.”)

The biggest problem with “tolerance for tolerance’s sake” is that tolerance is actually cruel when it conflicts with the truth. Truth by its own nature is intolerant of error.

Let’s say a blind man stands on the edge of a cliff, and he turns to you to ask, “Which way should I step?”

I would be cruel to say to him, “Oh, it really doesn’t matter. Just be sincere and do the best you can.” The truth says that if he steps in the wrong direction, he will plunge to his death. But if he’ll turn in another direction, away from the cliff or onto the bridge, he’ll live. Tolerance is no virtue when it ignores reality.

Let’s say a cancer specialist knows you have a malignant tumor in your body that will kill you in a matter of weeks if it isn’t removed. Yet he doesn’t want to seem narrow-minded and intolerant. Of course, he’d certainly hate to offend you, so he says, “If you sincerely believe that the tumor is no problem and you are a pretty good guy, I am sure it will all be OK.”

What would you think of that doctor? How long do you think he would keep his license to practice medicine?

I would rather have a doctor tell me some narrow-minded, offensive truth than some nice little tolerant lie.

By the way, if something is not true, what is it? It is a lie.

Evangelism Is…a Lifestyle (The Soul-Winning Motivator #59)

Our soul winning verse from the Word of God today is John 1:14 which reads: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Our soul winning quote today is from Joseph C. Aldrich. He said: “Evangelism is expressing what I possess in Christ and explaining how I came to possess it. In the truest sense, evangelism is displaying the universals of God’s character – His love, His righteousness, His justice and His faithfulness – through the particulars of my everyday life.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 42 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…A Lifestyle

In the last several decades, America has shifted from a mostly Christian nation to a post-Christian nation. An ever-increasing majority of the population is secularized. According to Jim Petersen secularized describes “people who are not operating within a religious framework. Religion is not a vital aspect of their existence. Their personal philosophy of life is not based on religious concepts.” He continues, “They feel that religion has been exhausted as a valid basis for a personal philosophy. They are post-religious. They may have a traditional knowledge of religion but no personal religious life.”

For decades Christians have counted on reaping events such as crusades, revivials, and church services to do their evangelism for them. This approach is no longer as effective, especially in an increasingly post-Christian culture. And make no mistake, America is an increasingly post-Christian nature. Church attendance in America continues to drop, going from 60 percent after WWII, to 49 percent in 1991, to just over 18 percent of the population attending church on any given Sunday today. That means fewer than two out of 10 people you see at Walmart were in church last Sunday.

Seminary professor and consultant Aubrey Malphurs addressed the fact that America is changing when he said, “Essentially, what was a churched, supposedly Christian culture has become an unchurched, post-Christian culture. People in our culture are not antichurch; they simply view the church as irrelevant to their lives.”

If secularized people meet Christ, it will probably be as a result of Christians who view evangelism as a process and a lifestyle, not merely an event. They will be patiently willing to plow, plant, and water before they try to reap. They will be intentionally willing to build friendships with people far from God and live their Christianity in order to give a clear explanation of the gospel out of an authentic lifestyle and a genuine concern. They will reach people as they allow investigators to belong before they ask them to believe.

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Some things are better together than separate. Few people eat peanut butter sandwiches. Not many people eat jelly sandwiches. But nearly everyone enjoys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why? They taste better together.

The peanut butter and jelly of effective evangelism is proclamation and affirmation. Proclamation describes the event of giving a clear explanation of the gospel to a non-Christian as an event. Affirmation describes living the character of Christ. Proclamation is preaching the gospel with our lips. Affirmation is preaching the gospel with our lives. Proclamation is doing. Affirmation is being. Proclamation is telling the truth. Affirmation is living the truth. Effective evangelism, especially of secularized people, requires both proclamation and affirmation.

In Ephesians 4:15 we are told to speak the truth in love. Truth without love destroys. Love without truth deceives. Truth combined with love draws people into a relationship with Christ. Truth and love are what lost people hunger to see. Truth and love are proclamation and affirmation joined in effective evangelism.

In our next broadcast, we will continue to look at why evangelism is…a lifestyle.