I reread The Master Plan of Evangelism the other night. This gift to the Church was written by Dr. Robert Coleman back in 1963. I had the privilege to sit under his teaching a few years ago when I did my doctorate work.
We are using this book in the New Testament class I am teaching here at North Side starting this Sunday night. The concepts are so simple and biblical they seem shocking these days. I would love to share with you some of my favorite quotes:
- “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 the programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow” (21).
- “The result is our spectacular emphasis on numbers of converts, candidates for baptism, and more members for the church, with little or no genuine concern manifest toward the establishment of these souls in the love and power of God, let alone the preservation and continuation of the work” (32).
- “Having called his men, Jesus made a practice of being with them. This was the essence of his training program – just letting his disciples follow him” (37).
- “Amazing as it may seem, all Jesus did to teach these men his way to draw them close to himself. He was his own school and curriculum” (38).
- “With such haphazard follow-up of believers, it is no wonder that about half of those who make professions and join the church eventually fall away or lose the glow of a Christian experience, and fewer still grow in sufficient knowledge and grace to be of any real service to the Kingdom” (47).
- “Jesus did not urge his disciples to commit their lives to a doctrine, but to a person who was the doctrine, and only as they continued in his Word could they know the truth” (55).
- “We cannot give something away which we do not possess ourselves” (70).
- “He did not ask anyone to do or be anything that he had not demonstrated first in his own life, thereby not only proving its workability but also its relevance to his mission in life” (77).
- “He did not expect more from his disciples than they could do, but he did expect their best, and this he expected always to be improved as they grew in knowledge and grace. His plan of teaching – by example, assignment, and constant checkup – was calculated to bring out the best that was in them” (97).
- “We fail, not because we do not try to do something, but because we let our little efforts become an excuse for not doing more” (98).
- “If the disciples failed to impart his Spirit and method to others who would keep this work going, then his ministry with them all these years would soon come to naught” (102).
- “This is the new evangelism we need. It is not better methods, but better men and women who know their Redeemer from personal experience – men and women who see his vision and feel his passion for the world – men and women who are willing to be nothing so that he might be everything – men and women who want only for Christ to produce his life in and through them according to his own good pleasure” (109).