THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM
Further thoughts by Scotty Kessler
1. SELECTION: “He chose from the twelve.” (Luke 6:13) Men were his method. 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 multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Men were to be his method of winning the world to the father. By employing this principle of selection, Jesus was employing the fundamental principle of concentration upon those he intended to use. (Pp.21, 24.)
The principle of Selection is most difficult to fully grasp, and yet the most important aspect of discipleship. Disciple simply means “learner.” When available, Jesus can use anyone. His disciples were not well learned but wanted to follow him (Acts 4:13). Jesus kept a low profile to concentrate on his learners. His strategy was to devote himself primarily to a few men, rather than to the masses so that the masses could, at last, be saved. Jesus was deliberate in proportioning His life this way.
2. ASSOCIATION: The principle of Association is about “being together”. The model of the family shows us that discipleship takes time. The only way a father can properly raise his family is to be with it. Consequently, we are to stay with our pupils; be close to them. The prevalent theme throughout the Gospels is simply the fact that they were together. Christ’s whole ministry evolved around them. We must find ways to jointly do the work of life.
3. CONSECRATION: The Principle of consecration is one of obedience. All the disciples were asked to do was to follow Jesus. Jesus expected obedience. We must follow Christ to learn of Him. Here we stress the practical aspect of the faith and challenge each other to a greater depth of faith. “Take my yoke upon you.” (Matt. 11:29). Association with Jesus required obedience and loyalty. Absolute obedience to the will of God was the controlling principle of Jesus’ own life. (Pp 50,51,56,57).
4. IMPARTATION: The principle of Impartation observes how He gave them His Spirit (comforter, counselor). We must let the Spirit have His way, be fully yielded to his command. Work can only be done by His power. We need to trust our disciples to His leadership. His presence is the joyous experience of every disciple. We cannot separate the call to follow from the call to disciple. Each of us is to become servants. We are to look for disciples. Show one another how to live, how to love. Jesus gave himself away. He gave his disciples His peace (Jn.16: 33), Joy (Jn. 15:11), the Keys to the Kingdom (Mt.16: 11), His glory (Jn 17:22), He gave them everything he had and withheld nothing…not even his own life. (Pp.61, 63).
5. DEMONSTRATION: The principle of Demonstration observes that we must model the lesson. We are to be sanctified and set apart. For we are not our own, but we are bought with a price and are now His. Those we come alongside must see those priorities and values lived out. We are to share the inner life of our soul by being vulnerable. Our weaknesses need not impair discipleship when shining through is a transparent sincerity to follow Christ. We are to make clear what personal ministry means by how we live. Christ’s disciples learned his way of living by observing him…he was the method. Practice with them what you expect them to learn. Be involved and keep growing. Set an expectation of reproduction. He demonstrated how to do business. For example, He showed the disciples how to pray. Unless the disciples grasped the meaning of prayer and learned how to practice it with consistency, not much would ever come from their lives.
Another aspect of Jesus’ life which was vividly portrayed to the disciples was the importance and use of the Holy Scriptures. This was evident both in Jesus’ maintenance of his own personal relationship with the Father and in his winning others to himself. He never ceased to use the scriptures in his conversations with the disciples. All this served to show them how they too should know and use the scriptures in their own lives. Moreover, the ability of Jesus to recall so freely Old Testament passages must have impressed the disciples with the necessity of learning the scriptures by heart and letting them become the authority of their lives.
6. DELEGATION: We are to provoke ministry by making specific assignments, which utilize gifts and skills. First duties can be routine tasks, and then more and more demanding ministries and responsibilities can be added. Help them take leadership.
To foster such a perspective we ask the following questions in our time together:
a. Who are you praying for to come into the kingdom and what are you doing about it?
b. Who are you currently discipling and what are you doing together?
c. Who are you prayerfully considering to pursue in discipleship and what are you doing to create such a relationship?
d. Who are you prayerfully considering to disciple you and what are you doing to create that relationship?
7. SUPERVISION: The principle of supervision calls disciples to accountability. Accordingly, not too long after the twelve were sent out, they gathered “together with Jesus” to tell “what things they had done.” (Mk. 6:30, Lk. 9:10) As supervisors, we are to be patient yet determined. Yet we have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights. Keep on your disciples with frequent times of review. Always ask questions to help them process, and work on attitude and character traits. Affirm strengths and self-worth. We can avoid becoming authoritative by letting the Word speak for itself. In a supervisory role, we are to keep the focus on Christ and off ourselves. There is only one authority, that being Christ Jesus.
8. REPRODUCTION: The principle of reproduction anticipates fruitfulness in the life of the follower. We are called to make disciples who will, in turn, make disciples. We must develop a vision for multiplication. Dream about their role in the harvest and anticipate the final ingathering. See by faith what God is preparing for his disciples. Today we are working; we will rest in the world to come (Jn. 5:17.) Those whom we come alongside can be taught. Skill is from practice and vision from God. What is needed is not better methods, but better men and women who know their Redeemer from personal experience. They see His vision and feel His passion for the Lost world…and are willing to be nothing so that he might be everything…desiring Christ to reproduce His life in and through them according to his own good pleasure. Go forth and bring fruit (Jn. 15:16).
THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM
BY ROBERT COLEMAN
1. Jesus’ objective was clear. He planned to win the world and his life was ordered by one objective, world evangelism…one person at a time. Everything He did and said was part of the whole pattern (everything with a purpose… always.) This was the motivating vision governing His behavior, His steps were ordered by it, not for one moment did Jesus lose sight of His goal. He was on the business of His Father.
How did Jesus do this? Two controlling principles prevailed:
A) Be with them – you have to “be with” those you wish to influence (spend a quantity of time with your disciples over a quantity of time.) Jesus was “with” his disciples (John 17:12 and 11:54)
B) Have a plan – clearly, communicate a “discipleship plan” that can be reproduced by your disciples in turn to their disciples… and on and on. Jesus communicated a “plan” that could be reproduced to others. (II Tim 2:2)
2. Just as a building is constructed according to the plan for its use, so everything we do must have a purpose, otherwise, our activity (in the Lord) can be lost in aimlessness and confusion.
3. Preaching to the masses, although necessary, will never suffice in the work of preparing leaders for evangelism and discipleship, nor can occasional prayer meetings and training classes for Christian workers do this job.
4. Building men and women is not that easy. It requires constant personal attention, much like a father gives to his children. This is something that no organization or class can ever do. Children are not raised in proxy. The example of Jesus would teach us that it can be done only by persons staying close to those whom they seek to lead (“life on life”).
5. The Church in America has tragically failed at this point. There is a lot of talk in the church about evangelism and Christian nurture (discipleship), but little concern for the “personal association” necessary when it becomes evident that such association involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence.
Of course, most churches insist on bringing converts through some kind of a new believers “class” which usually meets an hour a week for a month or two, but the rest of the time the young convert has no regular on-going contact with a “spiritual guardian” (parent) or with a definite Christian training program like Jesus established with the twelve. All that is expected is that he or she may attend the worship services of the church and possible Sunday School (or a “small group”).
6. Unless new Christians have spiritual “parents” who will fill the gap in a real way, they are left entirely on their own to find the solutions to innumerable practical problems confronting their lives, any one of which could mean disaster to their newly found faith.
Clearly, the policy of Jesus on this point teaches us that whatever method of follow-up the church adopts, it must have as its basis, a personal guardian concern for those entrusted to their care. To do otherwise is essential to abandon new believers to the devil.
It is no wonder that about half of those who make professions of faith in Jesus and who join the church eventually fall away or lose the glow of a Christian, and fewer still grow in sufficient knowledge and grace to be of any real service to the Kingdom’s expansion efforts.
If Sunday services and membership training classes are all that a church has to develop young converts into mature disciples, then they are defeating their own purpose by contributing to a professing Christian’s false sense of security, and if the new convert follows the same haphazard example, it may ultimately do him or her more harm than good.
There is simply no substitute for “being with” people in discipleship, and it is ridiculous to imagine that anything less than this goal, short of a miracle, can develop strong Christian leadership.
After all, if Jesus, the Son of God, found it necessary to stay almost constantly with his few disciples for three years, how can a church expect to do this job in an assembly line basis for a few days out of the year?
This means that some system must be found whereby everyone who wishes are given a Christian “discipler” to follow until such time as he or she can lead another believer themselves (reproduction).
This discipler should stay with the younger believer as much as possible, reading, praying, and studying the Bible with him or her, all the while answering questions, clarifying the truth, and seeking together to help others in service to the Kingdom (“learning by doing” . . . TOGETHER).
7. If a church does not have such committed disciplers willing to do this service, then it should be prioritizing the training of some to be disciplers at all cost.
1. Jesus gave all he had to his disciples, nothing was withheld, not even his own life.
2. He lost no opportunity to impress on his disciples the deep compulsion of his own soul aflame with the love of God for a lost world.
3. His disciples saw how their master denied himself many of the comforts and pleasures of this world and became a servant among them. They saw how the things which they cherished – physical satisfaction, popular acclaim, prestige – he refused; while the things which they sought to escape – poverty, humiliation, sorrow and even death – he accepted willingly for their sake.
4. Jesus considered no service too small or sacrifice too great for his disciples when it was rendered for the glory of God.
5. Jesus continually gave his life for his disciples’ sake, as we should also give to our disciples.
6. Just as they had observed for three years, the disciples were to give themselves in selfless devotion to their disciples whom the Father God loved and for whom their master had died.
7. Such a demonstration of love on the disciples part was to be the way that the world would know that the gospel was true. How else will the multitudes ever be convinced? (John 13:35)
8. Love is the only way to win the free response of men and women, and this is possible only by the presence of Jesus Christ within the hearts of mankind.
9. All the disciples were asked to do was to let the spirit have complete charge of their lives.
10. We must all evaluate the contribution that our life and witness is making to the supreme purpose of Him who is the savior of the world.
a. Are those who have followed us to Jesus now leading others to Jesus and teaching them to make disciples like ourselves?
11. It is not enough to rescue the perishing, though this is imperative, nor is it sufficient to build up newborn babes in the faith of Christ, although this too is necessary, in fact, it is even not sufficient just to get them out winning souls, as commendable as this work may be. What really counts is the faithfulness which our converts go out and make disciples out of their disciples. Surely we want to win our generation for Jesus, and to do it now, but this is not enough, our work is never finished until it has assured its continuation in our disciples, and in THEIR disciples etc, etc…. in the lives of ALL those redeemed by the Savior.
Jesus life was ordered by his objective (winning souls, world evangelism). Not for one moment did Jesus lose sight of his goal.
* Entrust the gospel message to reliable men.
* At first glance, it might have appeared that Jesus had no plan.
* Unassuming and silent, unnoticed – amazing simplicity.
* “Men” were his method of world conquest… a few men. His concern was the men the multitudes would follow.
* Select a few laymen, and keep the group small in order to work
Narrow the select men to a manageable number (principal of concentration).
Pursue men that can lead multitudes.
Devote to a few men in order to save the masses.
The men must believe in you. They must want to do it.
They are the first priority, all of the time. Everything else “fits in” as able.
Go on the road with the men; take them together (get a van if necessary)
There is something about sharing your faith, working together that produces
When disciples are ready, send them out and debrief for instruction.
Knowledge is gained by association, not explanation. More is caught then is taught. Here there is more unofficial, than official meetings.
Run errands with, or simply talk.
Come and follow me.
Don’t “try to lead”, rather let them follow.
In order to let them follow, you have to be with them, be observable.
Modeling. They are watching you – be a visible example.
Come and see. Watch him do his deal.
When alone together the disciples could talk things over and there in private they could see Him intimately.
One living sermon is worth a thousand explanations.
In his presence they could learn all they needed to know.
He chose 12 that they might be with him.
Personal appointment of constant association.
As time went on, Jesus spent increasingly more time with them, not less.
Frequently he took them on retreats … they took trips together.
The need to be alone with his disciples.
He scarcely let them out of his sight.
No format, no formula.
He was with them individually, in small groups and large groups.
Favor shown to a small group in training.
Principle of concentration and selectivity.
Everything is done for the few so that the multitudes might be influenced.
The multitudes are won easily if given leaders that they can follow.
No crash programs. Get to those individuals who the people follow.
Train a few of the humble to become great.
Reproduce your life in a few chosen men who will carry on the work.
We are living for the next generation.
Jesus make it a practice to be with them.
Incredibly simple. No formal school, no outward courses.
All Jesus did to teach was to draw them close to himself. He was their school
curriculum; there was a natural informality. Jesus asked only that his disciples
Knowledge communicated in terms of walking among them.
The disciples were distinguished by having “been with him.” (Acts 4:13)
His whole ministry revolved around them.
If others came around, they were welcome, but his mission was the few men.
If you wanted Jesus, you got the disciples also (could not separate).
He was 100% on call for them so that they would watch him.
He ate with them, slept with, talked with, walked with, traveled with, prayed
and worshiped with.
Even when Jesus was ministering to others, the disciples were always with him. He let them watch him in action publicly also. The disciples were always there to
observe and listen. This was a double dividend, in that without neglecting
regular ministry to those in need, he maintained constant ministry to his
disciples. Thus they got the benefit of everything Jesus said and did for
others, plus with his personal counsel and explanation in private after.
This virtually means Jesus had no time to call his own.
Jesus purposely reserved the most revealing things for his few chosen ones
He deliberately invested all he had in a few men so they could be properly
While Jesus trained his men, others were welcome to come along (women also)
You come together in order to “go out”. It is for service sake, not to have a
special “clique” in isolation (though there are times of isolation for instruction
sake). Give yourselves away in service and devotion to the Lord.
He never forced his lessons upon them. Rather, he just kept praying until the
disciples asked him to teach them. Give them lessons when their hearts are
ready to receive them. He never ceased to use the scriptures in his
conversations with them.
Teach them how to win and train souls… the bottom line.
He took advantage of the teaching situations that occurred in everyday life, since
he was with them. It made learning “realistic.”
Practice with them.
Don’t ask people to do what you haven’t demonstrated first.
Show them how to do it.
They are constantly with you.
Find and train men to reach men.
Work for men, seek them. Win them. Train them.
The best work is always done with a few.
Plan to do many things together that you would be doing anyway.
Teach them to “give it away.”
All the disciples had to teach them was not “curriculum” but the teacher.
The only way a father can properly raise a family is to be with them.
Don’t overlook the “commonplace” as a vehicle of instruction.
Many can attach themselves to the disciple community, but any personal
attention given to those outside of the community was done also with them.
Develop men who could in turn give this kind of attention to others.
The church was the means of following up all those who followed beyond the few
specific commitments (including summer’s) renewable by us both, though at any point someone could “opt out” of the commitment.
Travel with; continue with, mission project with… first as a few men together, then
as individuals if only some of the group is available.
Constant personal attention to a few chosen men.
Building men requires constant personal attention. No class or organization can
ever do that.
Persons must stay right with those whom they seek to lead.
Be together as much as possible.
He gave all he had. Nothing was withheld, not even his very life.
The things cherished, physical satisfaction, etc. he refused. While the things
they sought to escape (poverty, humiliation, sorrow unto death), he welcomed
No service is too small, no sacrifice too great.
World evangelism… one man at a time.
Mass recruitment is an easier strategy, but much less effective, long term.
We don’t need better methods, we need better men.
Christian disciples are “sent men.”
Evangelism is the “heartbeat” the one thing that is most necessary of all that we
are called to be and do. It gives meaning to everything else we say and do
Give practical work assignments and expect them to be carried out.
The work is the evangelization of the world.
Intentional training, always purposeful, always an agreed upon “reason” for
attempting. Not just doing “whatever”.
Be intentional, or little will get done.
Have a plan and execute it.
The Christian worker is never without personal supervision.
Learn by doing, apply the education that you are getting.
Keep the vision clear….world conquest.
Disciples must be brought to maturity, then turn them loose to do unto others.
All things with a purpose. Storm the heights, don’t hold the fort.
Reproduce and teach others to reproduce.
Set the direction. Set the pace.
Make leaders not followers.
Our concern is for the next generation.
Win and train.
Give the disciples opportunities to do outreach, as a group and then two by two.
Get them into a position of vital relationship with God.
Be delighted that they bring others around.
Jesus kept the vision before them by his activity.
Make fishers of men… win souls.
The disciples needed to put into practice what Jesus had taught them. He sent
them forth and debriefed them afterwards, pushing them into the world.
Concentrate your time on the most promising individuals.
The concern of Jesus was “togetherness.”
Never ask anyone to do something that you are unwilling to do yourself.
The disciples often went out in advance to set ministry up.
Holy Spirit empowered mission.
The kindness of God – be kind.
Feed the sheep.