Lead more to Jesus
In this 25th anniversary article, Bill Hogg (Arrow Class 11) gives us a charge to do the work of an evangelist and he provides practical suggestions for all of us to be engaged in proclaiming good news amongst pre-Christians, skeptics and explorers. Share this article with people in your leadership sphere and use it as a conversation-starter to define your own discipleship training and equipping game plan.
Many leaders become conversant with profiles like 16PF, Birkman and Myers-Briggs. Some savvy leaders can identify what their APEST (apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher) is. As a leader, you might self-describe as extroverted or introverted or discover that you land on one side of the intuitive-analytical spectrum.
The apostle Paul has timeless words that trump your personality profile or your self-description. This fearless, faithful gospel sage had an exhortation for a protégé, which is true for every Christian leader under the sun. Paul challenged Timothy, who methinks might have been a shepherd-teacher, with an enduring exhortation: Do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). Just do it!
How do you lead in evangelism? By example! If you want to cultivate a generous congregation, you must be a generous leader. If you want your newbie church plant to practice gracious hospitality, you have to be hospitable. If you want to cultivate a prayer culture, you have to lead the way on your knees. If you want to see the people of God, to whom the LORD of the church has entrusted to your oversight, engage in winsome and confident faith sharing and gospelling…you’ve got it! You have to be engaged in proclaiming good news amongst pre-Christians, skeptics and explorers.
I want to suggest four ways you can do the work of an evangelist.
Firstly, for redemptive reach, for the sake of the lost, for the sake of your own soul and to lead the way, you must have significant healthy relationships with pre-Christians. Urban missiologist, Ray Bakke, claims 90% of urban people come to faith in relationship. Steve Addison tells us, Conversion is a social phenomenon; it is often about accepting the faith of one’s friends. Pursue the lost in relationship!
Secondly, pray for those who don’t know Jesus to be awakened to new life in Him by the Spirit.
- Pray for those near and dear to you, who are without God and without hope in the world to be hijacked by Jesus.
- Pray that their darkness is shattered by the Spirit (2 Cor. 4:4).
- Pray that He illuminates their hearts with gospel truth and that they receive a revelation of Jesus.
- Pray for opportunities to share the beauty, truth and power of the gospel in word and deed.
- Pray for opportunities to share Christ – and boldness and grace to steward these opportunities well.
- Draw up a list of the people in your oikos and pray that Jesus will give you His heart for them (Matt. 9:36) and that God will draw them to Himself.
- Get out and prayer walk and ask God to give you His heart for your community.
- Gather your leaders and mission partners together to engage in prayer evangelism. Learn more at http://www.prayercurrent.com/team
Thirdly, people are in different places and spaces along a spiritual spectrum. In your relational orbit and in the networks represented by your team and mission partners there will be: post-Christians, hostile skeptics, agnostics, open pre-Christians, investing and exploring not yet Christ followers. How are you serving them and addressing these distinct spiritual needs? What are you doing to help people take another baby step towards Jesus? Have you, for example, put discovery and explore ministry in place: Agnostics Anonymous, Alpha, and Discovery Bible Studies? What are you doing to serve the unconvinced? What are you doing to minister to the almost persuaded?
Fourthly, equip your people to share their faith and engage in ‘go and tell’ evangelism. There is still a place for ‘come and see’ and ‘come and hear’, however people need to be equipped to share their story and God’s story at home, in the neighborhood, at work and at play. If people are confused about the gospel and reluctant and reticent to share the gospel, we must address this in our training and equipping game plan. This is a big chunk of what I do these days…so let me know if I can serve and resource you in deploying people who are winsome and confident in gossiping the gospel.
- How much time are you spending hanging out with skeptical, curious and confused not yet Christ followers? How much time are you spending in the community? Who are you eating with? Who are you playing with?
- Who are you praying for and how are you praying?
- How does your disciple making game plan take the spiritual continuum into account?
- How are you equipping people to share their faith and engage in evangelism?
Bill Hogg works as the National Missiologist for the C2C Network, where he shares his passion to help leaders and established churches think and act like missionaries. He completed Arrow with Class 11 and has served as part of the Arrow Leadership Ministries faculty for many years, offering congregational and Para-local church leaders training in evangelism. Bill is married to the girl of his dreams, Morag, and has two amazing adult kids – Naomi and Peter. Bill and Morag are also the delighted grandparents of Mackenzie. You can contact him here.