New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


July 15, 2001 Vol 01 : 033
 
[New Testament Church Proliferation] Personal Evangelism - a call for help!

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Personal Evangelism - a call for help!

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The Goal of Evangelism in Church Planting

 

Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 10:10:20 -0400 From: forwarded

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Personal Evangelism - a call for help!

[This message just appeared in our sister list, home church*talk, and I am forwarding it to New Testament Church Proliferation as it contains an appeal. Below is my own reply. - -mail forwarder]

Hi everyone.

I am very concerned about evangelism--in our group--but mostly in my own life. I have led a few people to the Lord, over the years, but I read in the Bible about the huge numbers that came to Jesus during the early years of the church and . . . well . . . I'm just starved to see new converts. I firmly believe it's within our reach!

Is anyone on this board functioning consistently as a soul winner? Or do you know someone who is, that is willing to communicate? I am praying about this, of course, have devised a mini-plan of my own, but I am looking for an experienced mentor.

The people I have led to Him in the past, who have "stuck", were people that I got close to personally. I guess that sentence completely states my mini-plan. I think I spend too much time in my "comfort zone" with established friends and I need to break out of that and spend time making friends with the unsaved. I am currently praying for 2 people to "target". Please feel free to respond either on the list or offline. If you know someone else willing to take on a protege, who is not on the list, please feel free to give them my e-mail address. Even if this is the whole secret, I could use the encouragement of hearing from someone else who is experiencing success. Or if you're part of a group that is not only reaching out to people, but seeing them genuinely saved and added to the Body, I'd like to hear how you're doing it.

Blessings, and thanks,

Arlean Kelley

-----------------

Hi to you Arlean,

You wrote, in part:

Hi everyone. I am very concerned about evangelism--in our group--but mostly in my own life. I have led a few people to the Lord, over the years, but I read in the Bible about the huge numbers that came to Jesus during the early years of the church and . . . well . . . I'm just starved to see new converts. I firmly believe it's within our reach!

Sister, I am of the mind that every person I encounter in a day either has the Lord or stands in immediate need of Him. But I have to keep reminding myself of that. I am usually at a loss as how to convey Him as I desire. But the thought remains: I possess something - rather Someone - that others desperately need.

Sadly, some folks in the previous generation of home churchers would not have even considered evangelism as an issue. I have seen this theme get shot down on a number of occasions but I now see a new day dawning ...

I was thinking about Rachel lately. "Give me children or I die." We can pray this in a spiritual sense as well, I suppose. I do anyway.

One will plant the gospel seed, another will water it. God, and God alone, will give the increase and receive all the glory.

Keep us informed as to how these things develop in your mind and in your world.

David Anderson


------- <><><> -------

Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 12:14:20 -0400 From: "Sam Buick"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Personal Evangelism - a call for help!

Personal Evangelism should not be considered an activity but rather the fruit of our intimate relationship with the Lord. I have given up "targeting people" for the obvious reason that to do so reduces people to "things to be attained". Jesus looked upon people as people, people to be related to. I pray daily for the Lord to bring across my path someone in need of Christ or simply in need. I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me and enable me to respond to this person or the situation. Yes, there are definite connections to what the Lord has been doing all along. I have found myself involved in a beginning process, where the person is exposed to the gospel, and then I never come across them again, until some time later, and in some cases, years later, and I have found out that someone watered what was share and explained it in greater detail, and then another harvested, or was there when the person made a confession and profession of faith. I have sown seed, I have watered, and I have been involved in the harvesting of souls. I have made myself available to pray for people's needs and have seen the Lord meet the need and in some cases actually heal people. The Lord is looking for us to simply be conduits of His grace to whomever He draws across our path.

Sam


------- <><><> -------

Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 23:09:13 -0400 From: The Dwelling Place

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The Goal of Evangelism in Church Planting

No denial to what you have shared, but the bottom line is that disciples need to learn how to sit at Jesus' feet before they endeavor to go and "reproduce". We have taken a maxim from marketing and sanctified it that is nowhere found in Scripture when we send people out to evangelize when they don't even know who has made it possible to enter the Kingdom of God! Just because people have tasted from the good things of God does not mean they are ready to evangelize or church plant.

The point Edwards is making is that the early church learned what it meant to be in relationship with Jesus, way before they went out and evangelized. And when you look at a NT pattern of evangelism, and you cannot argue against it from scripture, is that it was ONLY apostles who church planted, and other Christians joined in the effort, such as Paul with Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus. Paul also had a group of men who came to Ephesus for three years to sit at his feet and learn, just as the disciples had done at the feet of Jesus. It was the work of the apostle to plant churches through evangelism. The evangelized became part of the church right away and the first things they were "discipled" in was in how to have a relationship with Jesus and how to cultivate that relationship with Jesus and other believers. The task of evangelism was the sole responsibility of the church planter who was an apostle. We really have no biblical warrant to change how it is done.

I believe one the major problems we have in these kinds of discussions is that we equate that being a "witness" and doing "evangelism" as the same thing. They are not at all. Everyone is called to be a witness for Christ. They bear witness to who He is in their lives and they proclaim it with faith and passion. It is simply speaking out and living out Christ.

Evangelism on the other hand is a gift that apostles and church planters exercise in proclaiming the Gospel with the goal of seeing the audience respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit and Christ is explained, exalted and proclaimed. The goal hear is not witness of Christ, but bring people to a confrontation with Christ, that will result in salvation, and instant membership into the body of Christ, who will then become the expression of the body in a NT church.

We have circumvented the biblical process and pattern because of an ecclessiology that is devoid of NT foundations. Where are the apostles today? Are they evangelizing with the goal of placing the converts in a NT church? Are they discipling these people to have a deep intimate relationship with Jesus and one another? If we do not get this right, then the church will continue to be derailed and stuck in the muck as it attempts to reach out to others.

By far the best form of discipleship is intimate relationship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit and a group of like minded believers. When we are under the headship of Jesus Christ in an intimate relationship, we become transformed and bear His image which is what Paul addressed in Romans 8 (28 ff).

Sam

From: "John Cooke" Reply-To: New Testament Church Proliferation Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2001 11:28:15 -0700

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The Goal of Evangelism in Church Planting

We have not finished the task related to evangelism just because we have started a church in a home.

Paul considered his task done (as it related to evangelism) in a certain city because he had set in motion a reproductive process. He made disciples who understood that they were to go and make disciples. He planted churches that understood they were to plant churches.

The problem with our discipleship process is that we do not reproduce "disciple-makers". We reproduce "blessing consumers", addicted to edification. Just because we change the meeting place from church building to a house, will not make the sheep into disciple-makers or church planters.

Unless we have done that we must not consider our work related to evangelism finished.

John F. Cooke

GraceWorks Ministries, house-to-house churches, church planting coach

The End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #33


house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions