The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
(Summary by Bill Glad)
Delegation: He assigned them work.
Jesus was always building up in his ministry to the time when his disciples would have to take over his work and go out into the world with the redeeming Gospel. He was never premature in his insistence upon action; he was patient. His method was to get the disciples into a vital experience with God, and to show them how he worked, before telling them they had to do it. They were given tasks such as manual burdens of getting food and arranging accommodations, as well as being sent on a preaching mission.
In their first evangelistic mission, the disciples were told to “preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick”. But Jesus did not leave it at this; he was also specific in his instructions of where to stay, what to take, and what to say. It was as though Jesus was telling his disciples to go where they would find the most susceptible audience, and within that, the disciples were told to concentrate their time upon the most promising individuals in each town who would thereby be able to follow up their work after they had gone. We too need to be giving ourselves to responsive hearers, while at the same time expecting hardship and division because of the message we bring.
Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. But it is not enough to make this an ideal. It must be given tangible expression by those who are following the Saviour. The best way to be sure that this is done is to give practical work assignments and expect them to be carried out. This gets people started, and where they already have seen their work demonstrated in the life of the teacher, there is no reason why the assignment cannot be completed.
Supervision: He kept check on them.
Jesus made it a point to get with his disciples following their tours of service to hear their reports and to share with them the blessedness of his ministry in doing the same thing. In this sense, one might say that his teaching rotated between instruction and assignment. What time he was with them, he was helping them to understand the reason for some previous action or getting them ready for some new experience.
What is seen here so vividly in these check-up sessions following the disciples’ visitation merely brings into bold relief a strategy of Jesus throughout his ministry. As he reviewed some experience which the disciples had he would bring out some practical application of it to their lives.
Many illustrations could be cited to show how Jesus checked up on the actions and reactions of his disciples as they faced various difficult situations. The important thing about all this supervisory work of Jesus was that he kept the disciples going on toward the goal he had set for them. Disciples must be brought to maturity. There can be no substitute for total victory, and our field is the world. We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.