(“He who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30 NKJV)
Last week we talked about possible evangelism training resources and options, some that are free, to shed some light on effective ways to win souls for Jesus. We discussed the fact that any Christian can become a “lifelong learner” about evangelism, and we don’t have to enroll in an expensive school to do so.
The title of this week's post is "God’s Great Rescue Mission". It's based on the first training resource I discussed, which was the Dallas Theological Seminary’s Evangelism 102 free online course. This week I did the first lesson out of seven lessons in the course.
In the lesson Dr. Barry Jones laid some course groundwork for his students about the first week, and the coming weeks. Before getting into the heart of the lesson Dr. Jones made some key points that the course was more about “evangelism education” than it was about “evangelism methods”, although he said that some methods were to be discussed in the coming weeks.
He used evangelism word associations to identify the bad rap that evangelism sometimes gets. Some associations were the following: “Used car salesmen”, and “street corner or soapbox preachers”.
Dr. Jones also discussed the fallacy that extroverts have an advantage in evangelism over introverts. He said that we can all participate in evangelism with the personality God has given each of us.
Dr. Jones then stated that evangelism is in most cases a “dialogue”, as opposed to a “monologue”. This means it's usually better if there's a conversation as opposed to one person stating his or her own assertions about the need for the other person to come to God.
Dr. Jones main theme was about the words “mission”, and “missional”. He said that God’s mission is the overarching theme of the entire story of the Bible. He said that God’s mission is the following: “To rescue and renew God’s good, but broken creation.” Later he termed it “God’s Great Rescue Mission”.
Dr. Jones also defined “Theology Proper” which starts with God. God then sent Jesus to die for the sins of the people. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit then sent people in the church as missionaries to the rest of mankind.
Dr. Jones quoted Andrew Kirk, a London theologian, who said: “If the church ceases being missionary (or evangelistic), it has not just failed in one of its tasks, it has ceased being Church.” Those seem like pretty strong words!
One student questioned the stern nature of this quote. Dr. Jones said that he feels like Dr. Kirk may have been using a little hyperbole to get his point across, but feels that the point Dr. Kirk made was true. His point was if the church isn't evangelistic, it essentially ceases being the church performing God's intended mission.
Dr. Jones also said that the missional or evangelistic nature of the church is the primary goal of the church, and churches that have other focuses, even ones that seem good, have it backwards.
He said that focuses such as “worship”, “community or small groups”, and even “discipleship” can be good, but they don’t usually lead us to be missional or evangelistic. But on the other hand being missional or evangelistic usually does lead us to worship, community, and discipleship.
I'm not going to get into all the details of the entire lesson in this post, as it would take too much time. I'm planning to post each week after studying, and hopefully passing, each lesson.
Finally, the point that Dr. Jones reemphasized at the end of this first lesson, was that “God chooses, calls, and sends us”. to participate in "God's Great Rescue Mission".
I want to be part of that rescue mission. How about you?
See you next time,