Learning About Evangelism

This special issue of Ministry is devoted to the theme of evangelism—both personal and public.

Derek J. Morris is editor of Ministry

I conducted my first public evan­gelistic meeting in the small, economically depressed town of Sybertsville, Pennsylvania, United States. I was a young and inexperienced pastor; but the faithful followers of Jesus in that community were very encouraging. We rented a meeting room from the local fire department and sent out invitations.

I knew that I needed some pow­erful biblical messages, so I called a well-known Christian evangelist, C. D. Brooks, and asked if I could borrow his sermons. His affirmative response was spontaneous and generous. There was just one problem: his sermons had never been written out in manuscript form. Fortunately, audio recordings were available; and so, with his permission and coaching, I spent approximately 400 hours transcribing those messages and making them my own.*

I listened to so many of Pastor Brooks’s evangelistic sermons that I started to sound like him. This interna­tionally known evangelist took some of his precious time to mentor me. As I look back, I am deeply grateful for his kindness and Christian humility. He regularly spoke to thousands at public meetings and tens of thousands through an international television ministry, but he wasn’t too busy to mentor a young pastor. I will always remember his kindness and, by God’s grace, replicate it.

This special issue of Ministry is devoted to the theme of evangelism—both personal and public. In its broadest sense, evangelism is reaching lost people with the good news about God’s love. That self-sacrificing love is most clearly revealed through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, heavenly ministry, and imminent return of Jesus. Evangelism is the reason why the Christian church exists. Evangelism can and should happen in all places and at all times through friendship evangelism, personal Bible studies, small-group evangelism, health evan­gelism, house of prayer evangelism, and public evangelistic meetings.

In the lead article for this issue, Shane Anderson shares his experience as a frontline pastor/evangelist. His convictions are clear and his example inspiring. I was especially blessed by his practical suggestions at the conclusion of his article.

Willie Taylor affirms the impor­tance of evangelistic endeavors and then goes on to share three vital strate­gies that will help a ministry team get the job done: efficiency, empower­ment, and execution. He writes from his experiences as a pastor and church administrator. This manuscript is intensely practical and provides help­ful counsel for pastors.

Joe Webb, a well-known advocate for personal and public evangelism, reminds us of the essential founda­tion for effective evangelistic work: personal spiritual preparation. Webb asserts that we must go beyond the sharing of biblical information and communicate a firsthand salvation experience. Then, in the context of a deepening relationship with God, we will not simply try to do the Spirit’s work—we will gladly do His bidding.

Ministry is an international journal with a global audience. With that in mind, Joe Kidder’s article, “Insights From Growing Adventist churches in North America,” might seem rather narrow in its focus. However, we challenge you to glean practical sug­gestions from this article and apply them to your local context.

While we’re busily involved in our ministry activities, Roger Hernandez reminds us not to neglect our families. Don’t be described as a terrific pastor but a terrible spouse, or a marvelous preacher but a miserable parent. This article is painfully honest and sorely needed.

We would like to hear your reaction to these articles in this issue. You can share your feedback by going to our Web site, www.ministrymagazine.org, clicking “contact,” and then clicking “write to the editors.” While you’re at our Web site, remember to sign up for the complimentary digital version of this journal. If you are currently receiving a print copy, a digital version is available to you at no extra cost. Many subscribers have already taken advantage of this offer. You’ll find the instructions on the main page of our Web site.

We consider it a privilege to serve the Lord together. Let’s continue to “keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18, NIV). 

* If you would like a copy of these transcribed and edited sermons, go to our Web site, www.ministrymagazine.org, and look for the “evangelistic sermons” link.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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Derek J. Morris is editor of Ministry

February 2014

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More Articles In This Issue

It still works: Why public evangelism remains essential to the church’s witness

For successful public evangelism, the author recommends seven methods.

Spirituality and evangelism: How personal spirituality is related to successful witnessing and evangelism

Is it possible to know a lot about God because you have read and memorized Scripture, but not really know Him in the sense of enjoying a personal, saving connectedness with Him?

When your ministry gets in the way of your marriage and family

Read some practical solutions that may help you relate to your home and church—putting home first.

Insights from growing churches in North America

This article attempts to outline some of the challenges the Adventist Church in the North American Division faces today.

The Good News is For Everyone

Learning how to present the good news of Christ as Savior should be considered the most important part of witnessing.

Preparing your local church to fulfill the Great commission

This article considers the responsibility of sharing the gospel in terms of the three E’s of accomplishment: Efficiency, Empowerment, and Execution.

Power is in the Word

From the revival and reformation series.

Spiritual Simplicity: Doing Less, Loving More

This book would make an excellent resource for a small-group ministry.

Leadership by wisdom and example

“Self is the greatest enemy of the preacher, more so than in the case of any other man in society.”

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