Forthright Magazine

Evangelism step by step

This was written for our Brazilian magazine, Edificação, and adapted slightly. The issue’s theme is numerical growth. It sounds out of context for the American church. Maybe it shouldn’t.

The church grows as the gospel is taught personally to people outside of Christ. To grow further, more teaching is needed from everyone. Professionals inside buildings with expensive projects will not have the desired results. How then can the church grow? It will grow when we sow the saving word. It will grow when we leave the buildings and take God’s work away from professionals.

#1. Learn the gospel at home

Saul learned what to do to be saved in a house, Acts 9.17. Cornelius heard saving words in his home, Acts 10.22, 25, 27; 11.14. Paul practiced what he learned, preaching the gospel and teaching it both in the public square and in homes, Acts 20.20.

On our Brazilian website we have a page with an always open invitation to go to people’s homes teaching the gospel. The impersonal must become personal.

#2. Read the Bible at home

The Psalms speak quite frequently about individual meditation, at home, at night in bed, at various moments in life:

  • “Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night.” Psalm 1.2;
  • “Whenever I remember you on my bed, throughout the watches of the night I meditate on you” Psalm 63.6 EHV;
  • “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” Psalm 107.43 NIV;
  • “I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions” Psalm 119,55 NLT.

There is no substitute for adopting a reading plan to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible. A good suggestion is from Prof. Horner, which we already recommend on the website and use. There is absolutely no shortcut to knowledge of the Scriptures other than indiscriminate reading and no substitute for it, such as formal studies.

#3. Teach those at home

It is necessary to start with family members at home. The practice of faith begins at home, and evangelism must also begin at home. After conversion, the new convert has an opportunity to show the difference that Christ makes in life. Although evangelistic effort is not limited to the home, it is the natural beginning.

When you start at home, it’s easy to practice the next item:

#4. Gather at home

At home, you can start with a Bible reading, a prayer, a brief word of encouragement. With time and experience, you can lead reading groups (study) and even Sunday meetings. It is the beginning of a new congregation.

The first Christians “broke bread in their homes” Acts 2.46. Before the exclusion by the Jews, in Jerusalem the disciples used the temple, but they had already begun to open their homes for their work, Acts 5.42: “And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ.”

#5. Train evangelists at home

In 1984 I taught an American congregation about the lack of workers to take the gospel to the world. A brother asked: “But what can we do to correct this situation?” I replied, “Send your children.” Silence.

In 1964, George Gurganus, who evangelized in Japan, spoke to a Pan-American Conference in Mexico City about the need to train brothers in evangelism. He said training starts at home. For this, it is essential to have devotions at home.

Missionary training begins with consecrated Christian parents who provide spiritual food for their children in a devotional environment. There is truth to the slogan that the family that prays together stays together. There is also the truth in the fact that a family that prays together is more likely to have members of that family who will want to tell others of the great salvation and who will be encouraged and supported by other family members in such an endeavor (Gurganus 147-48).

Brotherhood colleges were formerly centers for mission training, but they are no longer. In Brazil, our training programs are not missionary. Do they produce evangelists? Where will workers come from? They will arise in congregations, as they should, when we send our children from our homes.

CITATION. GURGANUS, G. 1964 “Training for evangelism” in The spreading Kingdom, pp. 144-52. Austin TX.


J. Randal Matheny
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