In an effort to help brethren mature in their personal evangelism, I encourage what I call an Evangelistic Fellowship.
The purpose of an Evangelistic Fellowship is to help brethren grow in their awareness of the opportunities to speak to the lost around them about Jesus, better equip them to make the most of the opportunities and to aid the creation of a personal habit, among them, of provoking one another to the love and good works of evangelism (Hebrews 10:24,25). A habit that may be born and nourished in an Evangelistic Fellowship, but will eventually penetrate all other times the church gathers together.
Evangelistic Fellowships involve giving all participants opportunity to share scriptures they’ve read between fellowships that somehow instruct or inspire them to evangelize. They also involve participants sharing songs, sermon/talk reflections on lessons they’ve been privy to hear or other personal readings that do the same for them. Time is also given to sharing the opportunities brethren have recognized they’ve had, through the week, to speak to people about God, whether they have taken advantage of them or not – interactions with cashiers, bank tellers, coworkers, friends, family members, doctors, nurses, fellow patrons, etc…
Tested evangelistic materials and outreach methods are shared along with the results I have seen in my ministry from their use.
Many questions are asked about how to improve personally in evangelism, suggestions are discussed and prayers are offered.
Evangelistic Fellowships also include discussion about current personal conversion studies that are being conducted, Bible study contact follow up that needs to occur and how to proceed and how to disciple new converts.
I say “Evangelistic Fellowships” in the plural only because there has been more than one conducted. The first one in Kirksville was not as developed as the second now is in Anaheim. Results from both of these Evangelistic Fellowships have been encouraging and lead me to desire to encourage them in every congregation.
It seems to take much personal discipline and effort, as well as regular encouragement from brethren, for many of us to make concerted effort to reach out to the lost with the gospel of Jesus on regular basis. Evangelistic campaigns have their place in building the Kingdom of God, but come and go, as do their effects of engaging brethren in evangelism. Some campaign participants are awakened to their need and ability to reach the lost and find inspiration from them to create a habit of reaching out. For many participants however, and maybe most, the boldness to share Jesus found in a campaign, ends with the campaign and does not surface strongly again until the next one, five years down the road.
Another scenario, in addition to the fleeting influence of campaigns, contributing to brethren’s lack of diligence in reaching out to the lost from day to day is letting those who do it “well” do it “all.” This will not do. All Christians have been given a stewardship of the gospel of Jesus Christ that calls them to share it with the lost; a relationship with God that implores them to share its rich and bountiful spiritual blessings with others (1 Peter 2:9). When you love someone and the blessings of a relationship with you, isn’t it hard not to share that with others? It must be for many, just look at all the “mooshy stuff” shared on Face Book. Certainly our love relationship with Christ is even stronger.
Evangelistic Fellowships do not promise to effectively incite, equip and establish every participant in a lifestyle devoted to reaching the lost for Christ that will never waver, but they do seem to be helping saints learn a habit intentionally helping one another be evangelistic. They have, in my estimation, a good chance of helping brethren develop an evangelistic lifestyle.
Many of the posts I share concerning how brethren have reached out or at least thought about doing so, come to my attention in the sharing time of Evangelistic Fellowships. And the testimony of those sharing is that they are encouraged to reach out in ways they they are not used to, partly because of our time together in evangelistic fellowship.
I encourage you to think about beginning an Evangelistic Fellowship in your congregation. I trust that you too will find the rich blessing in it, we here in Anaheim are. I am eager to see what the long term effects of such a work will have on the church’s evangelism. God’s will be done, and brethren be equipped as instruments of it.
You are welcome to contact me about finding help in initiating an Evangelistic Fellowship in your assembly: Jeff Yost; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, #714-363-3315. God bless you.