The time spent Wednesday and Thursday in class was unforgettable. My cohort was taught by Dr. Robert Coleman.
If you don’t know that name, you should. Dr. Coleman has been a mentor of mine from afar since 2000. This week, I got to thank him for that face to face. Dr. Coleman wrote a book in 1963 entitled, The Master Plan of Evangelism. The book is ranked #21 on the top 50 most influential books that have shaped evangelicals. Not too shabby.
Here’s the first paragraph of the book:
It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow him. this revealed immediately the direction his evangelistic strategy would take. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon to public. Men were to be his method of winning the world to God.
Billy Graham wrote the foreword to his book. They are tight buddies. And this 80-year old minister who has served in ministry and been married for over 50 years taught me for two days in class. I don’t think I will ever be the same.
I got out-preached by an 80-year-old man!
His book, and much of the content of his teaching, focused on the way Jesus plans to reach the world. I told Dr. Coleman that there was scarcely an original thought in his book. After every few sentences, Dr. Coleman had a set of parentheses around the Scripture reference where he got the idea from the ministry of Jesus.
So much of Dr. Coleman’s book, ministry, and life is simply by the Book. He is a man filled with the Spirit. Oftentimes, he would be teaching and he would break out into worship through song or begin to prayer all of a sudden. It wasn’t breaking it up for him. He just walks with God. Have you ever been in the presence of someone who it was evident they were walking close to Jesus?
Walk away thoughts:
- I want to finish strong.
- I want to grow closer to Jesus every day of my life.
- I want to love my wife so much that it affects everything I do.
- I want to take my children (and grandchildren like Dr. Coleman) all over the world to see how big God is and all that he is doing.
- I want to know the Word. I mean, really know the Word.
- I want prayer not to be my second language – I want it to be my first.
- I want to expect God to do great things in and through my life for his glory.
- Did I say, I really want to finish strong?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.