Today we continue with Step 4 in the series: “Ten Practical Steps For Planting New Churches,” written by Rev. Manuel Molina Flores.
In this step we will cover how to introduce someone to the Jesus of the Bible. The tool we choose to use to present Christ is not important. The critical thing is to remember that your goal is to bring people into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, our only Savior (Acts 4:12), and guide them to repentance and faith in him (Acts 20:21). The evangelist will guide the contact through a series of meetings, conversations and Bible studies that will allow them to learn who Jesus is and how to believe in him.
- Evangelism is a process:
Evangelism deals with guiding an unbelieving person to begin a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Many times, unbelievers lack correct information or have erroneous concepts of God and Christianity. They need to be influenced – perhaps for the first time – by Biblical revelation. Through frequent contact, the evangelist should guide them through a process of redefining their concepts regarding God, humanity, sin, grace, etc., in order that they may begin to align with the truth of the Bible. Never take for granted that another person shares your same understanding or definition of these terms!
- Regeneration is an act—a new birth:
While evangelism is a process, regeneration is an instantaneous act, and God is the one who makes the change (2 Cor. 5:17). We must be sensitive in the process of evangelism, but we must not ignore that there is a moment of decision when each individual must repent and believe (Acts 2:37-41; 4:4; 16:30-35).
The external, visible testimony of a decision for Christ is water baptism. To be consistent with Biblical patterns, the process of evangelism should culminate in the decision to confess faith in Jesus and put faith in him (Rom. 10:8-13). The individual gives testimony to this decision with water baptism (Matt. 28-19-20), publicly identifying with the triune God and the Church as the Body of Christ.
The goal of evangelism is to guide men and women in the process of beginning a personal communion with God through Jesus Christ. It is not to simply to come to an agreement on theological truths. It is to come to know a Person: Jesus (John 4:10; Acts 4:12). Discipleship classes should begin immediately after conversion. These lessons will help the believer to know Jesus better. Discipleship as a constant relationship between God and every Christian should continue until we arrive in heaven.
Use the Bible in such a way that the new believers are willing to seek God in the Word. He will speak to them through it. Avoid simply answering a question they can find for themselves in Scripture. Pray with them in a simple, direct way, demonstrating that you know God will respond in a definite, visible way. Remember that you are guiding them in a personal relationship with God who longs to reveal himself to them. He wants to establish an intimate relationship and have fellowship with them for eternity.
***Watch for Step Five in the next post.