This post is a reflection paper I wrote on Robert E. Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism. It was a three page assignment covering how we could apply Jesus' methods of evangelism. First published in 1963, the book is a classic because Coleman takes us through the Gospels step by step, and shows us how Jesus taught the Disciples to carry on his mission after He Ascended. This book is a must read for any Christian, but more so for Pastors and church leadership no matter what the denomination. It is truly sad that this book and Jesus' methods aren't utilized as they should be. If so, the Church, Christianity, and today's culture would look very different today.
He Stayed With Them.
Why are we so drawn to buddy movies? One of my favorite mini-series is Band of Brothers. It is about a company of paratroopers in World War II. They trained together, fought together and in some cases were wounded, and died together. However, the men who survived the experience developed a bond that was never broken even 50 years later.
During my Celebrate Recovery days, in Humble, I had a similar group, whom I called my band of brothers. We were with each other in recovery and we taught others how to live a Christ centered life in recovery. We rescued each other, learned from each other, and called each other on our stuff. We were a team that forged a bond that has not been broken. Now we are scattered, and are attempting to spread what we learned from Christ, the Bible, and our program.
Unwittingly we were following a model Jesus created. Just as Jesus selected the men who were his disciples, I believe He, through the Holy Spirit put us together. Jesus and his "Band of Brothers" ate together, prayed together and shared their triumphs and failures with one another. Throughout this time, He taught the raucous band of blue collar hillbillies, and a tax collector, what was needed to carry His message to the world. It couldn't have been easy, they were obdurate, and at times egotistical. However, after Christ's ascension, and the Holy Spirit's descent, they laid the foundations of Jesus' church that conquered the world!
If I am ever blessed to be in a position of authority in ministry again, I would cultivate such friendships. We would learn from each other, pray with each other and through us create other small groups of 'brothers' to ripple out like a stone in water. Ultimately the effects may carry revival through the church, community, and possibly the world.
He Showed Them How to Live
No one led by example better than Jesus. He was tempted but did not sin. He was the creator of heaven and earth, yet he humbled Himself to take on the trappings of our flesh. Jesus did not sit under a shade tree, drink wine, eat delicacies, and order his people about. He led from the front. He never asked the disciples to do anything he hadn't done first. Most important he didn't ask them to die for Him, until He had died for them. All of the disciples except for John died carrying His message.
This is the example we must follow as we move into leadership positions of a church. Yes, delegation is important, and Jesus delegated, but we cannot ask fellow ministers, employees, and parishioners to do things we ourselves aren't willing to do. Even if that means we clean toilets and help with janitorial duties. We cannot sit on the sidelines and bark orders. We must get out into life and get our hands dirty.
Pastors are always telling us, "bring people to church", "go witness". At no time in my experiences in church did I ever see a pastor in public doing this type of thing. The one time I did see a "mega-pastor" and spoke with him he was mega-condescending. Jesus showed us how to pray, and when he was with the disciples, he led by example. He went off to pray by himself. Why is it that after some years of church I have never seen a preacher show us how to pray, or to teach us how he prays?
Jesus never forgot even the smallest iota of information. We have the Gospels, but as John said in his, there aren't enough pages in the world to tell all of the things Jesus said and did. We must follow the Master's example and lead by it.
He Expected Them to Reproduce
Just as God told Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply", so Jesus gave us the Great Commission. He wanted His message, which he promised Abraham would be a light to the world, culminating in Jesus, to be spread. Indeed it was, within 500 years after Jesus rose to heaven the known world was conquered by His church. How did they do this, and how do we do it today?
The disciples took it to the culture! Paul went to the Gentiles, he was able to relate to them and their culture. He was able to take his scholarship of Judaism and the message of Christ and filter it to the Greeks in the language of their culture. His example enabled the churches he founded to continue spreading the Gospel until the Empire was overturned to Christ.
The new wine must be people! Not programs, events, or the hottest, pop culture, Christian writer conference of the day. One quote hit me as I was reading this book, "where are our men? What are they doing for the church?" Seriously, what are the thousands of people who sit in church pews everyday doing for the Kingdom of God?
In any given situation the ratio is ten percent. Ten percent of the people do a hundred percent of the work. How do we get the other 90 percent out there doing? We must 1, Lead by example. 2, create a Band of Brothers, stay with them, train them, and have them multiply outward. 3. People are the masters of our fragmented culture. People are the ones who can relate Christ to the unreached in their sub-group. (Bikers, gamers, recovery, accounting, hunting, artists etc.)
Jesus selected his followers and trained them in the way they should go. His method has lasted for two thousand years. There are times it is forgotten. Every so often, it is grasped again and hugged like an old friend not seen in years. This is one of those times. We must grasp His method and like our predecessors lay the ground work needed to conquer the world.