Peter Roennfeldt, an experienced pastor and evangelist and a veteran church planter, has written If You Can Eat . . . You Can Make Disciples to show how to share the gospel with friends, neighbors, and colleagues in ways that are sensitive to culture and relevant to people who follow either another religion or no religion at all. The author focuses on rediscovering how Jesus related to His multifaith context, in particular His instruction to the 72 disciples as outlined in Luke 10:1–24. The specific aim of this book is to put evangelism within reach of every believer instead of delegating it to only well-trained professionals.
Roennfeldt argues that we need an approach that is respectful of other religious persuasions without losing one’s strong identity as a follower of Jesus and affirming the uniqueness of Jesus and His distinctive message and mission.
The disciples were to follow the example of Jesus, who mingled with the people, accepted their hospitality, ate their food, ministered to their needs, and shared the gospel. The aim is to have an approach that is biblical, simple, and reproducible so that every follower of Jesus can do and teach others to do it as well.
Roennfeldt points out the following steps that can be easily followed and duplicated:
Open your eyes and understand the spiritual longings of others.
Mingle with people and build a relationship by enjoying their hospitability.
Focus on people of peace that God has prepared. They are hospitable and have influence in their relational network.
Eat their food and listen to their story.
Minister to their needs with care, concern, encouragement, and support.
Share your story about how God has worked and is working in your life.
Assure them that God is near and cares about and loves them.
Invite people to discover the Bible through an inductive process called “Discovery Bible Readings.” This is a simple way of exploring the Bible together through simple questions and explanations.
Finally, the author helpfully describes the church as a simple, biblical, caring community of faith that seeks to be a blessing, bring church life to homes, and to continuously equip believers to share the good news of Jesus in their relational streams.
The author appears to overshoot the mark by leaving the reader with the impression that public evangelism that overtly proclaims biblical truth is outdated—“so last century.” The good purpose of this book might have been strengthened by pointing out how Christ-centered and Bible-based public evangelism can serve an important role when embedded in strong personal evangelism and discipleship.
Nevertheless, this is a very timely book that indeed places evangelism within reach of every believer. It makes clear that making disciples is not just about adding members and retaining them. Rather, it is about equipping them for personal evangelism and empowering them to replicate this process, leading to a disciple-making movement.
This book is very much needed for a church in which the majority of members does not personally share their faith in a winsome, natural way in their everyday life. The author did a great job showing practical ways of sharing the faith that are so easy that the reader can start right away. Everyone who longs to be an effective witness for Jesus and to train others to experience the same will find a great resource in this book.
Peter Roennfeldt is offering his new book, If Your Church Is Closed, free of charge. Download it from the Following Jesus website at following-jesus.com/books/if-your-church-is-closed/.
Links within the e-book will take readers directly to relevant resources. We would like to thank Dr. Roennfeldt for this generous and timely resource made available for pastors and church leaders around the world.