The Master Plan of Evangelism The Master Plan of Evangelism
By Robert E. Coleman
Summary: Joe McFadden
Chapter 1- Selection
Jesus Master plan for evangelism consisted of selecting a few men to follow Him. This is not to say that He ignored the masses as He addressed the masses and they regularly followed Him, sought Him out and were drawn to Him. Christ did not select the most prominent people, the most affluent, but He selected men willing to learn. Jesus illustrated to us in this example a primary principle of teaching: that the larger the smaller the group we teach the greater opportunity to concentrate on them, develop them, and instruct them. Jesus did not persuade the masses who would follow pretty much anyone for a while, but apprenticed leaders. He also illustrated to us the first duty of church leadership is to effectively equip by laying out a solid foundation to be built upon.
Jesus method of training the twelve was based on association. He basically lived life with them teaching them everything by showing them first-hand, letting them witness everything. He still cared for the masses and even followed up with people who came to Him as in the woman at the well when He “tarried” there a few days after others came to Him through the lady’s testimony. Today, we need to ensure we have plans in place to disciple a core team of leaders and when new believers come, we should have a program in place for their spiritual development beyond Sunday morning service and worship.
Chapter 3- Consecration
All Christ demanded of His followers was obedience. This is the way of the cross, the willing self denial of ourselves for others. This is why we are told to “count the cost” if we are to follow Him, because He will settle for no less than consecration for His cause. We cannot serve two masters. As we are obedient to Christ this is also the way that we come to a fuller and deeper knowledge of Him. Obedience is also an expression of love we show to God. This is what Jesus modeled for us throughout His life; “Not my will but thine” is just one of the many references to Christ’s obedience to The Father. The commands of Christ are just as relevant today as ever before. We need to seek to be familiar with all He asks and obedient in following Him in all His ways, living this in our lives as models of others we disciple.
Chapter 4- Impartation
Jesus imparted to His disciples (and all believers) all of Himself, even His life. Since God is love, not just love being one of His attributes, it was inevitable for Christ to die. Just as Jesus had given Himself in love so too were His disciples able to give themselves in love for to the world around them. Just as Jesus gave Himself in loving devotion to everyone as a servant to them so too were the disciples to give themselves in selfless devotion to those the Father loves. We receive this love only from God Himself through His Spirit; the Spirit’s crucial work is in bringing to life the dead body we have. The secret of the victorious life is that it is not based in who we are but who HE is. We must be filled with His Spirit if we are to do His work, as we must die to ourselves to live in Him in acts of obedience to His service- the service of others around us.
Chapter 5- Demonstration
Jesus showed His disciples how to live he did not just tell them. He showed them how to pray after they saw it modeled in His life and they became hungry enough for it in their own lives to ask Jesus to show them how. He used scripture in talking and showed that He knew the Old Testament thoroughly and that what He was doing was and scripture were one in the same. He showed them how to win souls by doing it Himself and showing them the things they would need to do to be effective in winning souls. He modeled the best way of teaching- by example, living it in His own life and showing the disciples. This is as true today as ever before, where people are seeking a practical demonstration. We should seek to impart our way of living to those around us, to teach them by doing, by showing in our own lives. At the same time we have a responsibility to model behavior and when we make a mistake, it is our responsibility to show transparency in the error we made, demonstrating our lives in action.
Chapter 6- Delegation
Jesus sent His disciples out so as a delegated act of His work, the work of evangelism, which is our work too. Jesus did not just send them out; He first gave them instructions in Matthew 10:5, 6 on who to reach. He told them to expect hardship, following the understanding of “since the world hated me they will hate you too.” He told them the Gospel message will divide households and to expect it. Jesus sent them out two by two, which may have been more than filling the need for companionship, the understanding that two can accomplish more than twice as much as one. Even after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples to give further instruction, “feed my sheep.” It should be clear to us today that evangelism is the way of Christ and as members of His body; evangelism is not an option to us. We too today need to be out on assignment and send others out on assignment. But as in the example of Jesus who did not just send His disciples out and leave them He continued to teach them after the initial sending, this we should do as well.
Chapter 7- Supervision
Jesus kept check on his disciples following their assignments and followed up on the success of their tours. He used these times to give instructions and help them make sense of assignments. He continued to give them instructions everywhere they went and all situations they faced. No matter what they did there was always more to do and to learn. We always appreciate an education more after we have had a chance to apply what we are learning. We fail not because we do not try to do something but because we let our little efforts be an excuse for not doing more. There can be no substitute for total victory.
Chapter 8- Reproduction
He expected them to reproduce. John 15:16- Go and bring forth fruit. Jesus emphasized the principle of the need for His branches attached to Him the vine were to bear fruit. Jesus challenged them with reproducing more disciples for Christ just as they were, in Matthew 28:19 he says “make disciples of every creature.” We are reminded to pray to the Lord of harvest to send workers into the field. We need to focus as a church on brining up leaders who can reproduce other leaders and on not just to win converts, but to win them and transform them to leaders who will in turn do the same.
Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Life has a plan. Every one of us should be seeking some way to incorporate the wisdom of Jesus’ strategy into our own preferred method of evangelism. “A person unwilling to fail in the determination to find some way to get the job done will never get started, nor will the one afraid to try again make much progress.” Begin with a few and keep the focus on Jesus. The only realistic way to affect others is by being together with them. Jesus spent the majority of His time with twelve not with the crowds and multitudes. This is good wisdom for us and especially those in large churches. We must keep our purpose clear and provide opportunities for outreach and expect something from them. We must also keep them going, meet with them and hear how things are going.
Here are a few bullet points from the epilogue on how to put this plan into action:
- make people a priority
- begin with a few disciples
- stay together with them
- give them time
- meet as a group
- give them tangible assignments to express their commitment
- keep them growing in grace and knowledge
- help them carry their burdens, and then
- let them carry on in the work itself.
Purchase book here: The Master Plan of Evangelism
I find it interesting that outreach starts with discipleship.
Very thoughtful. I had this as a text in an evangelism class in seminary (SWBTS ’76~’78). By the way, welcome to Virtual Vitamins. May my words be a blessing to you, as I’m sure your words will be a blessing to many.
Thanks for your comment! Surprisingly the classic book is still a staple in many seminary evangelism classes today as well.
Excellent post. I’m quite pleased with the completeness of your explanations in modeling our Savior’s means of preparing others to propagate and carry on the growth of the gospel. But now, here you’ve gone and done it again—You’ve added yet another book to my ever expanding “must-read” list, though I surmise you’ve done an excellent job of extracting and condensing these vitality proffering truths from what is obviously a wonderful book, and one I had skipped. So many great classics, so little time. Heading now to Amazon: “Master Plan of Evangelism”. ☺
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Hi Sheldon, thank you for your comment! I would love to hear your perspective on some classics you have enjoyed to add to my list as well.
Reblogged this on Spirit Writer and commented:
Here is a blogger who is certainly putting his studies to work in a highly profitable manner. Note how concisely he presents the important points of a great classic book which is often used in seminary schools.
I love the outline of each chapter and like one of your other commenters, I too need to read this book as our Bible.org ministry is in the process of building a new discipleship program and I am beginning with a new disciple. I need this in my “arsenal.” Excellent post.
Thank you for stopping by my blog post with the encouragement “like.” May the Lord continue to bless you in your writing.
I remember them making us take this at Seminary. It kinda ruined many of us as they sent me an African American into a remote white neighborhood are with this training and along with dialogue evangelism. So walk up to the door say hello, and “If you die tonight?” The conversation did not advance much beyond that. I think this works better in a real discipleship format. As you lay it out here. Thanks
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This sounds like a “need to read” for me. I wanted to share another title for anyone wanting to step into a small group (three is an ideal number of people) and go through this book together. It’s called “Discipleship Essentials” by Greg Ogden. Some great truth to inspire your walk alongside others in the journey as a disciple. Thanks for the time you spent reviewing and explaining the basics of this book. Good stuff! Karen from Wordstoweigh.com
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Thanks Karen! Definitely agree. This book is a need to read. I did also like Discipleship Essentials as a practical guide to walk through with others on their journey of finding and following Jesus.
JDM, Thanks for the great notes on one of my all time favorite books. I read it for the first time just a few months ago. Question: How do you think blogging and social media fit into God’s master plan of evangelism?
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