April 2 - Evangelism Training
The Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them out two by two to do the work of evangelism. Before they set out, Jesus gave them some on the job training. Unlike the evangelism training of our day, it was not to prepare them to make a clear gospel presentation, it was not equipping them with answers for difficult questions, it was not some teaching in theology or the bible. Jesus gave very clear step-by-step instructions on how to proclaim the Kingdom of God to unbelievers.
The first part of the training involved the description about the world’s condition: the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. The solution to that comes in two parts: pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers and then to go themselves. With that the Lord commissioned the seventy-two, sending them out as lambs in the midst of wolves. When they went, they were to rely on God’s provisions along the way. They were to carry no moneybag, knapsack or sandals. They were to be single-minded, not to be deterred even from greeting others on the road.
They were to go to the places where Jesus was about to go, to prepare the ground for their Master. Once they went into a house, they were to bless the people there, stay there, eat and drink with them. Once they got to know the people there, they could begin healing the sick. When the sick were healed, then they would proclaim to them: “The Kingdom of God is near.” In short, this kind of evangelism involves blessing people, get to know them, meet their felt needs and then proclaim the gospel.
What Jesus taught was a combination of blessing evangelism, friendship evangelism, prayer evangelism and proclamation evangelism as we know today. All these will bring in the presence of the Lord. To bless others is to invoke the work of God in that person. To make friends with them is to know more about them and their needs. Healing the sick among them is to ask God to meet their felt needs. When they have experienced God’s blessing, God’s care and God’s healing, their hearts would be open to the Kingdom of God. The proclamation comes last, after the grounds are well prepared.
The approach of the Western Church in evangelism is often the engagement of a person’s mind, not the heart. There would be a lot of talk but very little demonstration of God’s presence, love and power. When a person comes to experience all those, he is ready to enter the Kingdom. To be able to feel God’s presence through the evangelist is the key to conversion. In removing the work of Satan, the hold of darkness on them will be diminished. Would you like to follow Jesus’ instruction when you share Christ with others?
Ps 47:1-4 Deut 21:1-22:30 Luke 9:51-10:12 Prov 12:11