The Master Plan of Evangelism – Part 2

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
(Summary by Bill Glad)

Part 1: The problem in evangelistic methods & Selection
Part 2: Association & Consecration
Part 3: Impartation & Demonstration
Part 4: Delegation & Supervision
Part 5: Reproduction & Conclusion

evangelism-association

Association: He stayed with them.

Having called his men, Jesus made it a practice to be with them. This was the essence of his training program – just letting his disciples follow him. This was an incredibly simple method and stood in stark contrast to the formal procedures of the scribes. By the virtue of their fellowship with Jesus the disciples were permitted “to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 8:10). Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation. The call to the disciples was “follow me and to others “come and see”. Even in the choosing of the twelve we can see that they were set apart “that they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14). He had more time with the apostles than with everyone else in the world put together, and it could only have been deliberate. Taking this approach means that Jesus had little time to call his own. Jesus still ministered to the masses, but all the time ministered to his disciples by having them with him. He had to devote himself primarily to the task of developing some people who in turn could give this kind of personal attention to others. Again, the modern day church has failed miserably to care for the individuals in the body with the attention they need. Building men and women is not easy. But we need to be incorporating into our ministry personal care and close relationships for all new members to the body.

 

evangelism-obedience

Consecration: He required obedience.

Jesus expected the people he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal. They were called his “disciples” meaning that they were “learners” or “pupils”. For the moment all they were asked to do was to follow Jesus. Following might have seemed easy at first, but it soon became apparent that it meant the surrender of one’s whole life to the Master in absolute submission to his sovereignty. There could be no compromise. Would-be disciples were made to count the cost, and many who followed turned away.

The disciples’ obedience did not correlate directly with their understanding of Jesus’ teachings. In fact, they were far from understanding Jesus as he talked about the cross and servant hood. But their capacity to receive revelation would grow provided they continued to practice what truth they did understand. Thus obedience to Christ was the very means by which those in his company learned more truth.

Supreme obedience was interpreted to be the expression of love. If the disciples were to love Jesus, it would be shown in their obedience to his words. Absolute obedience to the will of the Father, of course, was the controlling principle of the Master’s own life. The cross was but the crowning climax of Jesus’ commitment to do the will of God. From the viewpoint of strategy, obedience was the only way that Jesus could mould the disciples’ lives by his word. There could be no development of character or purpose in the disciples without it, and no one can ever be a leader until first he has learned to follow a leader. Without obedience to Christ the disciples would surely have been lost in their battle for human lives. Why are so many professed Christians today stunted in their growth and ineffectual in their witness? Is it not because of their indifference to the commands of God? Obedience has been replaced by a sort of respectable “do-as-you-please” philosophy of expediency.

Part 1: The problem in evangelistic methods & Selection
Part 2: Association & Consecration
Part 3: Impartation & Demonstration
Part 4: Delegation & Supervision
Part 5: Reproduction & Conclusion

The Master Plan of Evangelism – Part 1

An excellent summary sent by our sister Annie Khoo

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
(Summary by Bill Glad)

Part 1: The problem in evangelistic methods & Selection
Part 2: Association & Consecration
Part 3: Impartation & Demonstration
Part 4: Delegation & Supervision
Part 5: Reproduction & Conclusion

evangelism

The Master and His Plan: The problem in evangelistic methods.

In our efforts to fulfil the great commission of Christ, we need to constantly evaluate the objectives and relevance of our work. Is it worth doing? And does it get the job done? Just because we are busy doesn’t mean it is to a purpose. We need to focus our attention on a well-thought-through strategy of movement day by day in terms of long range goals – everything we do must have a purpose. This is an attempt to see the controlling principles governing the movements of the Master in hope that our own labours might be conformed to a similar pattern. Since form follows function, this is a study to understand principles underlying Jesus’ ministry – principles that determined his methods. In order to do this we have to look at the New Testament and the Gospels in particular.

Christ is the perfect example. His objective was clear: He intended to save out of the world a people for himself and to build a church of the Spirit which would never perish. No one was excluded from his gracious purpose. His love was universal – he died for all sins and all people; to him there was no distinction between home and foreign missions. To Jesus it was all world evangelization. He planned to win! His life was ordered by his objective. Everything he did and said was a part of the whole pattern. Never did he lose sight of his goal – to redeem the world for God. We need to carefully consider his strategies, for he conceived a plan that would not fail.

 

evangelism-fishing

Selection: People were his method.

It all started with Jesus calling a few men to follow him. His concern was not with programs, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. The initial objective of Jesus’ plan was to enlist people who could bear witness to his life and carry on his work after he returned to the Father. These first converts had little immediate effect on the religious life of the day, but their lives, in time, would have an impact throughout eternity.

None of the men Jesus chose seemed to be key people. They weren’t prominent in the synagogues, educated, or wealthy. They were “unlearned and ignorant” (Acts 4:13), but Jesus saw in them the potential to be leaders in the Kingdom. They weren’t the men you would expect to win the world for Jesus, but they were teachable. They had a yearning for God and the realities of His life. Jesus can use anyone who wants to be used.

The wisdom of Jesus’ method is that he concentrated on a few. One cannot transform a world except as individuals in the world are transformed, and individuals cannot be changed except as they are moulded in the hands of the Master. Hence, as the company of followers around Jesus increased, it became necessary to narrow the select company to a more manageable number – Jesus chose twelve apostles. He didn’t exclude others from following him, but it is undeniable that his attention was focused more and more on the few and not on the many. Even within the twelve there was a select apostolic group of Peter, James, and John. All other things being equal, the more concentrated the size of the group being taught, the greater the opportunity for effective instruction. Jesus staked his whole ministry on the apostles; the fringe could fall away, but the close disciples could not miss his purposes or all was lost!

Jesus, on the other hand, did not neglect the crowds. He did much to identify with them, to care for them, and instruct them – so much so that in many cases they were aroused and even moved to make him king. But Jesus didn’t give in to popular conceptions; he rather stayed with his strategy at the risk of public scorn. Few seemed to understand his message.

His strategy, again, was not to impress the crowd, but to usher in a kingdom. This meant that he needed men who could lead the multitudes. Jesus was a realist. He based his evangelism on a plan that would meet the need; by focusing on a few men he developed the base on which the masses could later depend. This stands in contrast to our modern day emphasis on the number of converts, rather than building the foundation on which a continuing evangelistic ministry can be set.

Part 1: The problem in evangelistic methods & Selection
Part 2: Association & Consecration
Part 3: Impartation & Demonstration
Part 4: Delegation & Supervision
Part 5: Reproduction & Conclusion