The revised and updated version of A Practical Guide to Evangelism: How to Win and Keep New Members by Balvin Braham is a hands-on tool designed to aid churches in effectively fulfilling the Great Commission through intentional “nurturing ministries, outreach, church growth, and discipleship” (14). The volume comprises four sections: (1) “Mobilizing Your Church for Evangelism,” (2) “Strategies for Successful Evangelism,” (3) “Evangelism Context,” and (4) ”Discipleship and Nurture.” These parts combine to form a balanced and comprehensive approach to evangelism.
Section 1 focuses on “how to get the local church engaged and ready for soul-winning endeavors and how to plan a continuous cycle of evangelism” (14). In section 2, readers gain insight into “specific strategies for reaching people and gaining decisions for Christ, including how to plan, prepare and execute a public evangelistic campaign” (14). Section 3 applies different evangelistic strategies to the “departments and ministries of the church, suggesting ways in which every church member can be involved in sharing the gospel with all classes of people” (14). Section 4 focuses on membership conservation and nurturing new believers into “firmly committed disciples of Christ” (14).
This book is strong in several areas. Its emphasis on community action-oriented evangelism is phenomenal. This emphasis is necessary for a climate wherein so many churches lack an outreach and missional presence in their communities. Its nontechnical nature, organized layout, and illustrative diagrams and tables make it an easy read.
Furthermore, the author includes helpful resources in the appendices that readers can utilize in their evangelistic endeavors. These supplementary materials cover various topics, including planting new churches, reaching non-Christians, prayer breakfasts for former believers, fundraising for evangelism, Bible surfing, Bible search engines, and other Bible study methods.
The chapter that stands out most among the newly included ones in the book’s second edition is “Digital Evangelism.” It is a helpful step-by-step resource to assist churches in communicating the gospel more effectively in a digital culture. Herein, Braham reminds readers that “the effective utility of practical technological means to reach, equip, rescue, retain and disciple people in the faith of Jesus, will greatly help the church to become a larger and more dynamic community of faithful Christian believers” (79).
In sum, A Practical Guide to Evangelism provides innovative ideas that church leaders and members can use to increase witnessing and enhance discipleship. Readers are sure to benefit from Braham’s invitation to think deeply about the delicate balance that must exist between evangelism, discipleship, and retention, as well as quantitative and qualitative church growth.