Over a year ago some men with vision and a dream to place the gospel in every home in America came up with the idea called "One Nation Under God." Grundy Street has been involved in this work from the beginning. A booklet containing the principles of salvation will arrive in every home in America during late June or early July.
The booklet will contain a toll free 800 number for people to call if they are interested in more information about the Bible, salvation or the churches of Christ. The mailout will offer a Bible correspondence course. As these requests are received at the office in Cookville, they will be entered in the computer and sent to the local congregation for follow up action.
Bible Correspondence Course
All requests for study by mail will be given to the ladies class. It has not been determined which course we will be using. It will be a short course of 5 to 8 lessons.
Personal Bible Study
If a request is received for a personal study of the Bible, we will need to have a team of workers ready to handle these requests. It would also be helpful if we were prepared to offer a Bible study to those who complete the correspondence course.
In this seminar we will be introducing the biblical concept of personal evangelism. This is not designed as a course to answer all your questions, fears, and reservations about personal work.
We will need many workers to knock doors to cover as much of the city as possible. We desire to take advantage of the mailing to every home. We want to make a connection between that mailing and the local congregation.
T. E. A. M. (Teaching, Evangelism And Mission)
1. The Idea. We need to work together. We need support and assistance. It is no fun to be out there all alone in the world. There is strength in being together. It is also an excellent way to learn how to do this work.
2. The Basis. Jesus sent out the twelve apostles two by two. (Mark 6:7) Jesus sent out the 70 disciples two by two. (Luke 10:1) Paul took Barnabas on a missionary journey. (Acts 13:2) Barnabas took Mark and trained him to be an effective worker in the kingdom of God. (Acts 15:39) Paul took Silas. (Acts 15:40)
There is comfort, strength and support in going as a team. This is also the best way to learn how to teach others.
3. The Plan. We are going to form a TEAM of two. One would be the teacher. The other would be the active learner. Much of our lack of evangelistic work is because we have never seen it done. We are not comfortable doing a work that we have never seen anyone else do.
There are some things that can not be learned in a classroom. They must be learned "on the job." I have attended my share of workshops, seminars, and training sessions. I have taught people to use Jule Miller filmstrips, charts, booklets, chain references, Way of Salvation New Testaments, Open Bible Studies, small group Bible studies, etc.
In all of this, the church has not learned how to share the gospel with the lost and lead them to salvation. We have learned tools. We have learned methods. But, we have not learned to use these tools to accopmlish our REAL task.
The plan is a simple one. Team up one with some experience and one who is willing to learn. We look for the "perfect" method and the "best" tool. What God looks for is the "willing" worker. Like the Marines, God is looking for a few good men (and women) to work in the vineyard.
The method is not as important as the doing of it. There are some things that we can learn that will help us. We can learn better and more effective ways.
With this plan, we can train workers, teach the lost and promote growth in the kingdom of God. T.E.A.M. stands for Teaching, Evangelism And Mission. An understanding of these words is essential to our work.
a] Explaining. Teaching requires that we explain the will of God. Teaching implies that one has knowledge and another desires that knowledge and understanding. Teaching is not complete when the passage has been explained, examined and understood.
b] Application. Teaching also includes application. The learner must be urged to apply, accept, obey and follow the will of God in their life.
B. Evangelism. The Greek word suggests the idea of a messenger with good news. Christians have good news. We have a message that the world needs. It is news that they are seeking. Christ has charged us with the task of bearing that "good news" to those who so desperately need to hear it.
We often think, with all the churches in town and all the preachers on radio and television, everyone already knows the story of Jesus and salvation. They do not. They may have been exposed to the facts of the death of Christ. They have not learned how it can change their lives.
C. Mission. We are ambassadors for Christ. We have a "Great Commission" to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Literally the original text states "as you are going, make disciples." (Matthew 28:19) The task of the church is to evangelize. Our job is one of sharing good news.
4. The Beginning. The difficult challenge before us to find workers who would be willing to begin this process. We MUST start somewhere. It might as well begin here and now. We must do the best we can - with what we got - where we are. If we wait until we are perfectly trained, we will never start.
After some are trained for a period of time and some confidence is gained, they can begin to train others. This is the method that Paul urged upon Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:2) Paul trained Timothy. Timothy is told to teach some faithful men. They can, in turn, teach others also.
Somewhere along the way, this method broke down. It needs re-starting. This is the place to begin. Now is the time to start. You are the people.
On - Going Program of Work
A. Variety of Methods. Over the years several excellent tools have been developed. They have been widely used with great success. They work.
I have been asked, "What is the best method or tool for personal evangelism?" The answer is that none of them are perfect for all situations. Each of them is right for some people and some circumstances. The best answer is, "It all depends."
B. Tools Available. Here is a list of some of the tools useful in personal evangelism.
1] Jule Miller filmstrips (records, tape, VCR)
2] Open Bible Study (Ivan Stewart)
3] Correspondence Course (several available)
4] Tracts (hundreds to choose from)
5] Way of Salvation N T (chain reference)
6] Charts (Tisdale, Star, others)
7] Answer their questions directly from the Bible
8] One-shot approaches (Roman Road, Evangelism Explosion)
C. How to Decide. When one looks at the variety of tools at our disposal, one must decide which is best for the person they are planning to teach. We must know the person with whom we are going to study. Here are some questions to ask:
1] How much Bible knowledge do they have?
2] Do they accept the Bible as the Word of God?
3] Will the study be done by long distance?
4] How was the contact made?
5] Did they request the study?
6] What questions have they asked?
7] What do they need to understand?
You need to know your tools. It is important to know which instrument is best suited for this situation. Therefore, it is vital that you know the person you are going to teach AND the strengths and weaknesses of each of the tools from which to choose.
Open Bible Study
The one method that, in my view and experience, has the most advantages and fewest disadvantages is OBS. It is a simple method. You can learn the basics of Open Bible Study in a few minutes.
I have used OBS for a number of years. I have seen it work. I attended a four day workshop taught by Ivan Stewart. It will work. It is simple. Biblical. Effective.
In one year, using this method the church in Missouri baptized 68. The following year we baptized 95. It is possible.
The material consists of four sheets of paper; three lessons and a worksheet. You will also need pencils and Bibles for each one in the study.
How To Teach OBS
1. Open Bibles to the passage.
2. Ask one person to read the passage.
3. Ask them what God is saying here.
4. "How would you answer this question, ...?"
5. Ask others about their answers.
6. Mark the answer and go to the next question.
Here is what we will do ...
1. Form groups of four.
2. Within each group count off 1, 2, 3, 4.
1. New convert
2. Lost friend
4. Silent partner (speak when asked to speak)
3. Sit at tables with Bibles and pencils
4. Begin the study
5. Do the first five questions.
A. Strengths of OBS.
1] Begins with the authority of the Bible.
2] The student can use their own Bible. One can use any translation of the Bible. (Catholic Bibles, J. W.'s New World Translation, bad translations.)
3] You can use Bibles that are all alike. You can go by page numbers to locate references for those not familiar with the Bible.
4] It obtains their present understanding of baptism and salvation without argument.
5] Allows the Bible (Holy Spirit) to do the work.
NOTE: Brethren, we must get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do the work Jesus sent it here to do. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. (Jn. 16:8)
6] It removes all arguments from the study.
7] It provides a broad foundation. It covers more than plan of salvation. It also teaches about denominationalism, worship, instrumental music, giving, communion, and many more topics.
8] It is short. It only takes three lessons. It is not long and drawn-out.
9] OBS uses the Bible rather than equipment.
10] 90% retention ratio after five years. For the Jule Miller filmstrips it is less than 50%.
11] Does not require the teacher to have great knowledge of the Bible.
WARNING #1: The biggest drawback to getting people involved in teaching is "FEAR." We are afraid that they might ask a question. We fear that we might not know the answer. We are afraid that we might say the wrong thing. We want to keep learning, but never get around to doing.
OBS removes the fears from teaching. Get yourself out of the picture. Let the Bible do the teaching.
WARNING #2: The biggest problem with those who are teaching others is that they know too much. They have all the answers. They know the arguments. They attempt to win arguments instead of souls. We often win the argument and lose the soul.
If your goal is to win arguments please DO NOT HELP US IN THIS PROGRAM. We do not need that kind of help. If you have all the answers; know the arguments; are ready to prove them wrong; YOU WILL DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD.
B. Weaknesses of OBS.
1] Can not be used with illiterates. They must be able to read to use OBS. If they can't read, use filmstrips or charts.
2] Takes three weeks (three lessons) to complete.
Keeping Things Rolling
Many programs of evangelism start with great excitement and die in a few weeks. Maybe a few have been baptized. Then we run out of contacts. We try to set up studies with the three or four people that come to mind. These avenues soon reach the end of the road. Where do we go next?
Door - knocking is not very fruitful. Here are the statistics:
1. Knock 60 doors to set up one study.
2. Set up 5 studies to get past the first lesson.
3. Conduct three studies to baptize one person.
This means that we need to knock on 900 doors to have one baptism. There MUST be a better way to reach the lost. There is a better way.
In the New Testament church, the method of finding contacts hase been called:
A. Web evangelism. All of us have webs of relationships that others do not have. You could ask a person to attend church with you and they would come. I could knock on their door and invite them and they would not come.
The church must take advantage of the web relationships that we have. Here are some observations:
1. Your evangelism will be most effective among those with whom you have a personal relationship. You will be more effective teaching those with whom you are friends.
2. The longer you are in the church, the fewer of the non-Christian webs you will have. The typical new convert will have 12 to 15 web relationships. By the time one has been in the church for 10 years the number of webs drops to 4 to 5.
3. Many salesmen use this approach. He will tell you about a friend that gave him your name. He will mention friends of yours that bought from him. He will ask you for names of people that you would suggest he visit.
B. Oikos (house) evangelism. The Greek word for house is "oikos." Most of the cases of conversion in the book of Acts were households. The jailer, Cornelius and Lydia are examples of houses being reached.
With each conversion a new household is opened up for further contact. Illustration - We reach one lady. The door is open to reach her husband, children, parents and other relatives. This also opens up the webs of friends, co-workers, associates and neighbors.
To keep things rolling it is important to follow the webs, open the doors of the household, and follow the leads of contacts that are available because of the new convert.
We can do this by:
A. Contact interview. Ask the new convert who they would like to have us study with. Ask them to list three each: a] Relatives b] Fellow workers c] Associates d] Friends. Ask if they would like to help them study the Bible.
B. Involve the new convert. Ask them to set up the study and use their house. Tell them that you will conduct the study if they will help. This will reinforce their teaching. It will get them into the flow of evangelism before they lose the excitement.
All I have done tonight is introduce you to a tremendous tool. It is easy to use. Let it do the work. I will be glad to assist by:
A. Further explanation of this method.
B. Teaching a study with you.
C. Helping you teach a study.