"Evangelism" and "soul winning" are terms that we Bible preaching preachers use to define our effort to fulfill the Great Commission, which Jesus gave us in Matt.28:19-20. If evangelism is to be right, it must be done God's way. Too many preachers interest in evangelism is in advanc-ing their careers and building their own bank accounts, instead of doing "Evangelism God's way".
The ministry of the average "evangelist" of today is not found in the Bible. The practice of the (as I call them) motel evangelist, who lives from one motel to another, leaving his wife and children at home, gets his sermons memorized so that he can repeat them word for word, spends most all his time writing books and watching television is not a Biblical office. It is a Billy Sunday, Presbyterian, protestant evangelism and is not found in the book of Acts.
If evangelism is to be done Gods' way it must be done the Bible way, and if it's going to be done the way it was done in God's word, it must be done in the following manner.
I. Sent out and commissioned by the Local Church.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave the "Great Commission" to his Local Church. This is the same church that was started in Mark chapter 3, when he called out his disciples and sent them out to do his work.
13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
The "church" here is defined as the "called out" and the "sent out" ones; that is what the church of Jesus Christ is today. It is not an invisible force like the mystical force in the movie Star Wars, or a universal, Pope controlled banking system of pomp and robes. It is a simple and yet very well organized assembly of born again, properly baptized believers. It is a local, visible assembly of God's own servants.
This "church" was given a commission, as we see in:
18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The word "them" here is referring to the called out ones, the Church for whom Jesus died, the Church at Jerusalem, made up of this assembly, his own body. His disciples for whom he prayed in John 17, taught for 3 and ½ years and died on Calvary to save.
One of the official acts of this body, the church, after Jesus ascended back to heaven was that it ordained some of its members to the ministry in Acts 6, and one was named Philip.
5. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6. Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
Philip one of the chosen evangelists, out of the church in Jerusalem, went to Samaria in Acts chapter 8 and verse 5, to preach Christ. The power of God was with him and good things happened: "the people gave heed to the things Philip preached", miracles followed him, and great joy came to that city. Then as soon as the church in Jerusalem heard about Philip's success, they sent a team of workers to establish the new church in the faith, that team being Peter and John.
14. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.
Later in Acts, chapter 11, preachers like Philip went to another city by the name of Antioch and preached the gospel with many being saved. The church at Jerusalem after hearing of that great revival sent Barnabas to establish them into a local church as a mission out of the church at Jerusalem.
20. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
21. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
22. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
We can see here in these portions of scripture a very definite Biblical pattern for true church planting evangelism.
A. Pastors and preachers ordained by the Local Church, which was ordained by God.
B. Missions commissioned by the Local Church, which was commissioned by the Lord.
C. Evangelists sent out by the Local Church, which was sent out to the world by Jesus Christ.
II. Sent out as a team:
25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
26. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Barnabas, as we can see in here Acts 11, recognized that the job of teaching the mostly Gentile church at Antioch was a big job, and that he needed help. He went to Tarsus and found Paul the Apostle and brought him to Antioch. Together as a team they established the church in the faith just as Peter and John did in Samaria.
After a year of teaching by these great men Barnabas and Paul, the church at Antioch in Acts, chapter 13 and 14, obeyed their teaching. They followed the example of the church at Jerusalem and the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, and sent out Paul and Barnabas on the first of their missionary journeys.
Evangelism must be a team effort. Even Jesus sent out his disciples in teams.
10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Paul always had a team of workers around him, men such as Timothy, Luke, Silas, etc. They were able with such combined effort to accomplish much more for the Lord than what just one man could do alone.
Over 50 years ago I started developing teams of gospel workers to help me in the work God had called me to do. The first one was made up of my Mother and Dad, my sister and her three children. Together we started a new church in a country area near where I was born and raised. The church was called the Beehive Community Church (in the days before I was much of a Baptist). It was located in the Miami River valley of Ohio. It later became a Baptist Church and for over 40 years met in the same old building in which it was started.
For all these 50 years plus, I have formed teams to work together, all over the world. Teams, to start churches, rescue churches, to hold revivals, mission conferences etc.
III. Reporting to the Local Churches.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
Paul and Barnabas returned to their home church after each missionary journey, (there were 3), to give a report of the blessings of the Lord. You see the authority for their work rested in the Local Church, not in a mission board or denominational hierarchy. All mission work should be done through the Local Church, and should be approved by the Local Church.
There are a lot of problems in missions today, many of which come from putting the leadership of missions into the hands of professional men, executives, who never pastored a church or wept over building one. Many of these men are officials whose interest is not in the Church of the Living God but in their organization and the control they have over God's called preachers.
4. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
IV. Everywhere Evangelism.
In those days the Christians went everywhere preaching the Gospel, in every house and in every city. They were preoccupied with the message of salvation, and had the reputation of having turned the "world upside down".
These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Evangelists should think of and make an effort to take the Gospel to the ends of the world. God will bless this kind of ministry and it will broaden the Evangelist's outlook. It will add a special flavor to revivals meetings and mission conferences he holds at home and help him burden hearts with his preaching.
V. Supported by the Local Church.
15. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
We don't need more mission boards, we need active Local Churches. Churches like the one here that is personally involved in the support of evangelistic missionaries. I am not opposed to a church using a money clearing house to send money over seas but to substitute personally getting involved in world evangelism for a board or for financial institutions to the exclusion of the church is a breach to the plan of God for his local assembly. The above Church at Philippi supported Paul in his missionary evangelism personally and directly, they are a good example to us all.
VI. Sent out to confirm the churches.
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
1 Peter 5:12
12. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
In Acts 15:36 Paul determines to visit the growing churches he had started in Asia Minor.
40. And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
41. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
VII. Sent out to start churches internationally
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of
Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go
into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to
preach the gospel unto them
Paul was called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. To go over to Macedonia was to go westward. He was to take the gospel to Rome and that is even further westward and even further westward to Spain. History shows him even in the English Isles, perhaps in Wales. The Welsh Baptist Churches have always said that Paul the Apostle started their ministries.
The gospel was taken westward from Europe to the Americas by Bible preaching missionaries and pastors who made trails across the wilderness of the U. S. A. and Canada. In the 1950's the missionaries of North America carried the message of the gospel to the Philippines, Korea, Japan, and China. Now the missionary minded churches of Asia are going all over the world with the "good news". A Filipino Church has started churches in Africa, Taiwan and even Los Angles.
The message of the Bible has always traveled west and will keep going west until the beginning of the millennium, when it reaches Jerusalem in the form of Jesus the Christ Himself standing outside the walls of the old city in view of the fleeting Jews, who will be running from the enemy armies gathered there from out of the whole world.
2. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
The war torn citizens of Zion will run up to Jesus standing in the new valley he just made and say, who are you? Where did you receive those scars in your hands? He will say --
6. And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
5. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
VIII. Sent out to help finance churches.
Paul and the other disciple's were often involved in gathering up money for the purpose of financing God's churches. If we are to have Biblical missionary evangelists today they must be involved in that activity as well.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
I have from the beginning of my ministry in 1952, been interested in financing churches in building buildings, renting space, supporting pastors, missionaries etc.
I have raised money to build churches all over the world. One church in Brazil, 5 in Mexico, 3 in Haiti, one in Panama, many in the U.S, others in Europe, Canada, and the Middle East, etc.
I have had a part in raising over a million dollars for missions through the slides I used to show in meetings all over the world. I have trained many men in evangelism, and helped to start bible colleges all over the world. I hope to do more and have a part in influencing others in doing greater work than I ever thought of doing.
If I can do what I have done, prayerfully you can do more. I am just an Ohio farm boy with mud on my heels, born in a farm house exactly one mile from Tawawa in Shelby County. I have never been anything but what people used to say of me, "Bertha Clayton's boy that preaches".
The world is full of great opportunities. Communications are so instant, I can e-mail someone in Baghdad and the message is there instantly. When I went to the Amazon in 1967 I was gone for three months and could not send my wife a letter, or phone her. Today we have more access to money, more bibles, more books and tracts. We have cars, trucks, and campers. The price of everything is less today than ever before if you compare how hard we have to work to get what we have.
Get out and do a job for Christ and do what you do according to the scriptures. God has given us a very definite outline for WORLD EVANGELISM: let's do it God's way.