When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
When Jesus called his first disciples, he said to them, “Come follow me…and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus was going to show his disciples how to win people for his kingdom. Jesus not only taught his disciples by word but also by example. The four Gospels of the New Testament Scriptures are rich in personal encounters in which Jesus ministers to the practical and eternal needs of ordinary people.
Jesus is the Master par excellence of sharing the good news of his person and work with everyday people. Can anyone better instruct today’s disciples in evangelism than the Master himself? Jesus and the first generation of disciples not only set great examples of early evangelism in the world, but they also convey proven and universal fundamental principles of effective evangelism that transcend their own time and cultures right down to ours today.
This series of articles is entitled Manual of Early Evangelism because that is what it is. A manual is a how-to-book, and this manual instructs us on how Jesus and his disciples reached out with their lifestyle and message of salvation.
This study material can be divided in two parts. The first part selects key passages of Jesus’ ministry in which he encounters everyday people in his community. These lessons are taken from the four Gospels and provide keys to the Master’s work in living and sharing the good news of his messianic mission to save those who were lost. The stories are of real, hurting persons (not unlike those in our own communities) who have a variety of personal needs, but they need most of all to find the love and grace of Jesus.
The second part is a continuation of Jesus’ ministry through the early disciples of the church. The second part selects key passages from the book of Acts. The disciples use a variety of evangelistic paradigms or models taken from Jesus’ own ministry but applied to new circumstances and new communities. You will appreciate the diversity and creativity of the early disciples as they launch into new ministries and strategies, all for the sake of proclaiming the gospel message of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and our salvation.
Manual of Early Evangelism will help you come to know how the early church fulfilled the Great Commission and turned the first-century world upside down for Jesus. How this is to be done today, hopefully, you will discover for yourself as you advance through each lesson. The gospel work of the early church was recorded for a reason. It is for the instruction of every new believing generation so that both the message of the gospel and the agape motivation for sharing it may never be lost. The fish are biting, and you are Jesus’ chosen vessel for the labor of reeling them in. Happy fishing!
The 13 lessons in this series: