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–eg after prayer for healing, or for finance etc. (Luke 10:9)
- In response to our story and the story of Jesus (Acts 26)
- As they explore the word of God is 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?