November Grace Leaders Gathering

Photo Credit: Bob Hetzler Click to go to his Facebook page

A neat time of gathering for 30+ leaders from our network at Los Altos Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach on Tuesday, November 8th. We swapped impactful stories of where we have seen fruit borne in our ministries.

Our own Missional Advocate, Ed Waken challenged us to look into the Scriptures again about evangelism. Fortunately, he shared his notes with us!  Enjoy below:

Look at evangelism from a fresh perspective. One where every believer can be themselves – be who God created them to be – and be successful in evangelism. 100% successful, 100% of the time.

Somewhere in the past, someone came up with a new gift to be added to the Bible – and amazingly, most Bible teachers have agreed with the teaching that  this gift exists…or as if it exists in the Scriptures. But it doesn’t. This should cause all Bible teachers to rally against this teaching but instead, most embrace it! You may have embraced it! People embrace this gift because it relieves them from having the responsibility of doing this action – and they can point to God why they don’t do it…because they don’t have the gift. What is the gift that many embrace as biblical but is not in the Bible? The gift of evangelism!

Evangelism = An action, act of doing, involvement in proclaiming the gospel.

Evangelism is to be engaged by every believer:

Matthew 28:18-20

Mark 16:15

Luke 24:47

John 20:21

Acts 2:38-39 (cf Acts 1:8)

Regarding evangelism…

All are effective: John 15:8,16 (vs 16 fruit would remain – people?)

All are empowered: Acts 1:8, Hebrews 4:12

We never find in the Bible a promise of empowerment or effectiveness regarding evangelism to the exclusion of anyone else in the body of Christ.  All believers are equipped, empowered, and can be successful evangelizers.

Evangelist = A gifted person for the church

Acts. 21:8 (Acts 6:5, 8:5-40)

“And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea: and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him.”

2 Timothy 4:5

“But you be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (We automatically default to preaching the gospel – but is the Biblical understanding of the term?)

The gift of the Evangelist as described in the Bible

Ephesians 4:11-12

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ.”

         The Gift of the Evangelist is given to the church not to the world

Why is this an important distinction? Because over the past generations, an evangelists has been seen as the ‘one’ who shares the gospel with spirit soaked words that cause the hearer to fall to their knees – it is a gift so others are left to feel defeated in their sharing.

But…if the evangelist is not gifted to primarily ‘do’ evangelism but to help equip believers to ‘do’ evangelism – then we have an affect that sees a multiplication of communicators and not simply more listeners. When the evangelist primarily does the work of evangelism, that creates more listeners. When the evangelists equips believers to ‘do’ evangelism, communicators are multiplied – more seeds are sown and more souls are likely to come into the kingdom.

Equipping:  (Katartismos) = Preparing, fully trained.  To make fully ready, or made complete.

Work:  (Ergon) = Action, deed, doing, task, result, behavior.  Object of employment, performance.

Ministry:  (Diakonia) = Service, serving, mission.  Divine thing.

Edifying:  (Oikodomé) = The act of building.  Spiritual profit or advancement.

The power and success for evangelism rests in the Trinity working through the believer, not the personal performance, holiness, or specific gift given to the believer. 

Letters to the church:  (not given to a single believer)

Acts 1:8

Romans 1:16 – the power is in the gospel, not the medium.

Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.”

I Corinthians 2:6-13

II Corinthians 3:4-6

Ephesians 6:19-20

I Thessalonians 1:5-8 

It is the message not the messenger  (Phil. 1:12-18)    

Jesus removes the fear of not knowing what to say.

Exodus 3-6 (4:10-12) I believe Moses uses the excuse that he does not know what to say six times – and every time we see the Lord promise him similar to Ex. 4:10-12…

10       Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

12 “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”

This is the most common concern people have regarding evangelism – they do not  know what to say. In response to this, many evangelists – being concerned for the church – develop tools that work for them and market them to the church. The church teaches these tools to the people and most people do not feel comfortable using them and abandon them. The cycle continues – all with good motives but the Scriptures gives a wonderful remedy to this problem of not knowing what to say.

Matt. 10:16-20 (The Father gives the words)

Mark 13:9-11 (The Spirit gives the words)

Luke 21:12-15 (The Son gives the words)