The Institute of Christian Studies, the diocesan school for ministry, has invited me to offer a workshop this Saturday entitled Evangelism: The Beginning of Discipleship. We will use a simple tool for evaluation and planning ahead. There are four ingredients to the recipe of fruitful evangelism:
1. Desire–do you want to share the hope and joy that is within you, the good news of Jesus?
2. Know-how–what will you tell them, how will you answer their questions about Jesus?
3. Opportunity–who do you know that does not know Jesus?
4. Plan for Follow-up–what’s the goal? what do you want to see that person do with the Gospel?
Here’s the twist: most new believers naturally grasp all four ingredients within their immediate social network, whereas those who have been believers for a long time do not naturally grasp all four ingredients and must intentionally cultivate the four. For example, most new believers have a network of friends, family and colleagues who do not yet believe in Jesus–whereas long-term believers often do not have that network (in part because too many spend all their time in church, at church and with church family!)
But the biggest challenge for long-term believers is the follow-up, the discipleship. Too many believers take for granted what a difference the Faith makes in their lives–and therefore have a difficult time articulating a plan for follow-up of a new believer. The end result for many is that being a Christian is simply going to Church services on Sunday and being a nice person for the rest of the week. Is that really the reason Jesus died on the cross? To make us nice people?
The four ingredients can be used as a simple tool: to review where a person is at today and where their opportunities are for tomorrow. That will be the thrust on Saturday: it will be fun! It should be refreshing and invigorating for the participants, with good interaction and questions, followed by renewed efforts afterwards.