Conflicting views on evangelism left me with questions.
Three Circles focuses on brokenness, a passive-sounding concept. Jesus
and Paul often told people they were wicked with just punishment
coming. Ray Comfort argued
using the Law, esp Ten Commandments, convicts them of their sin in a
way that creates real, long-lasting conversions. They don't mention
benefits of Christ, though. Jesus offered the Samaritan Woman living
water before talking about her sin. Others talk about pre-evangelism,
working in relationships vs talking to strangers, and so on. Lots of
All this confusion led me to a new project that was also an excuse to read Scripture. Starting with a short account (Mark), just go through there noting what Jesus did with lessons it might teach. I've shared it as is since I think it could help people. I've done one update. Might add more over time, might not.
(Btw, if you just want to share and minister, you can get to work within minutes using these tactics on my training site. All free with no signups. If you're not sharing, read and apply that first before reading anything else. Better to be sharing where you can than waiting until you could write a book on it.)
Mark 1:14-15. In Galilee, Jesus preaches kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel."
That builds on prior knowledge which includes Old Testament. He tells them to repent and believe.
Mark 1:17. Jesus tells first disciples, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
He offers them a purpose in life. They follow Him. Check other Gospels.
Mark 1:21-22. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. People were astonished at his teaching.
This could be evidence that developing reputation is important ahead of evangelism. We might look at many situations in an isolated way. Yet, many of these people had heard of Jesus. His reputation as a good teacher might draw people in to listen to evangelism. That might tell us to be knowledgeable about Scripture or in general.
Mark 1:23-28. Jesus commands an unclean Spirit out of someone in the synagogue, people are amazed at his power, and his fame spread everywhere.
This might be limited to Jesus. Alternatively, it means to pray for miracles to happen for people we meet since they will cause word to spread. Make sure Jesus' name spreads with it.
Mark 1:34. Jesus healed many with various diseases.
We can attempt supernatural healing. We can give people
tips on managing symptoms, donate medicine, help them get to a doctor,
or help them get insurance. People we meet, esp in poor neighborhoods,
might be lacking insurance due to illiteracy, difficulty with
technology, or an unsupported means of payment. They have the ability
to pay but trouble setting it up. These are also opportunities for
listening to them in general.
Mark 1:44. Jesus told the cleansed leper to show the priests as proof.
This one may not apply to us for conversions outside "obey the law" in how you handle it. We do that to follow God's Law and be blameless before others. However, the cleansing is relevant after conversion: people will see on the outside proof that person changed on the inside.
Mark 2:5. Jesus heals the paralyic after saying his sins are forgiven
This seems like only Jesus could do it. Actually, He gave us the ability to bind and loose things in heaven by sharing his Gospel. He makes the same offer through us. This is definitely powerful since many people already know they're sinners, feel like failures, and so on. Even some agnostics that barely believe in a god will be convinced any that exists won't accept or forgive them. Telling them what they're worth to God, including forgiveness for all failures, can be life-changing.
Mark 4:1-2. Jesus teaches a large crowd by the sea.
This is open-air preaching and evangelism to large groups. I'll note they are voluntarily listening vs some folks with megaphones. Many churches over the milennia argued against open air preaching to large groups. Yet, Jesus does it. Preachers like George Whitefield validated it later with crowds of over 10,000. If you can, get a crowd together whose willing to listen.
Mark 4:2. Jesus uses parables, or metaphors, to help people understand the kingdom of heaven.
Lots of people today quote Bible verses nobody understands. Whereas, Jesus went through trouble to make illustrations to give them understanding. Living Waters' parachute and judge metaphors are examples proven in practice.
Mark 4:11-12. Jesus says the parables help some understand but intentionally confused that audience.
Uh, I just wouldn't do this. We'll let that one be Jesus only.
Mark 4:35-41. Jesus calms a storm.
Pray for a miracle to save the group you're with. If the improbable happens, attribute it to prayers, tell them everyone should be greatful, and then share the Gospel.
Mark 5:23-24. Jesus responds to a cry for help.
There's often people asking for our help. It might be small or big, something we can handle or only God can. We need to respond each time doing whatever we can, even if just listening and prayer. Sometimes, Jesus might step in to do something even greater.
Mark 6:5. Jesus could do no mighty work in his hometown.
Based on prior verses and v6, I think this means most of the group had no faith in Jesus. In other sections, others he healed at least believed he could do that. This tells us immediately that a group's reaction to our ministry, esp visible signs of God's presence, might be mostly tied to how much they're faithfully seeking God. Seeing nothing or much resistance does not mean we're failing. Next, it may justify telling the group at some point that God responds to those that humble themselves a bit, sincerely seek him, and have some faith that he listens. If they take a step if faith, he's respond by working in their hearts, minds, and/or circumstances. I'm actually telling people this during evangelism.
Mark 6:7. Jesus sends them out two by two.
There's two lessons here. First is take a partner. Just seeing a second person makes some think you're more worth listening to. You're also less likely to get attacked. Whatever happens, good or bad, has at least two witnesses. Their gifts might also be helpful.
Second lesson is leave it at two. Many churches bring
their entire group to evangelism, often focusing on big events. I feel
that's a mistake. Jesus limited them to two at a time. Then, each pair
went in different directions to talk to different people. Why? After
the benefits of two, leaving it at two maximizes the number of
interactions with non-believers by your group as a whole. A church can
cover a larger area more quickly by consistently sending pairs. The
pairs can also go see all the people that would show up at an event.
you do an event, you might be able to do either smaller ones or just
spare a few pairs for that night. Other pairs and those on other
are visiting other people in a more targeted way.
Mark 6:8. Don't load up on necessities and valuables.
Lesson is probably to rely on God as much as possible when on mission. Plus, you don't look like a target to bandits. Dressing humbly might also increase positive reception by people who have no visible reason to think you're about money or something.
Mark 6:11. They shook the dust off their feet and left when not well-received.
These were Jews visiting Jews with a Jewish tradition. The only thing I'll say is they didn't stick around to argue with resistant people. They presented the Gospel for some amount of time. Upon a rejection, they made it clear the other party made their decision, that it woukd cost them something, and moved on. We can do that. Most would agree to move on but what about letting the recipient know the consequences? Should we do that?
Mark 6:18. John the Baptist was in jail for telling Herod his marriage was unlawful.
We're to expose evil. John the Baptist, mostly an
evangelist, was even calling out the king. Employer, gang member,
royalty... the level of risk is not a factor in whether we have to
sin what it is. Aside from personal freedom, some might not take these
risks since they think they'll be able to evangelize more if they're
alive and free. Daniel's tests, this section, and apostles' trials
we face whater we must face with God deciding on the rest. Who does
that will show who trusts God with their life. Then again, we saw in
Acts they avoided areas that were too dangerous at times. Perhaps
whatever call out they'd do was already clear for those people by the
point they were willing to jail or kill apostles. It's worth further
study of times they faced vs avoided the danger to see if there are
lessons about what God expects.
Mark 6:20a. "Herod feared John knowing he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe."
This is so important. Christians are called to live pure, holy, and blameless lives. This is *so* important. Herod probably already wants John dead. Yet, he not only holds back but protects him due to his holiness! Holiness is a rare, powerful thing that has effects on individuals and groups. Sometimes direct, sometimes reputational, and sometimes God Himself causes the effect responding to your holiness. Both during and outside of evangelism, it's important Christians words (esp jokes), hobbies, associations, jobs, and so on present a holy image to obtain this benefit.
Mark 6:20b. Herod was perplexed by, but glad to hear, John.
Extending above, a righteous person following and preaching God's Law is probably different from every person they've experienced. We're not like merely "good" people following worldly principles. Our standards are otherworldly, our goodness is not circumstantial, and the Spirit of God empowers our message. Stay consistent in your walk so the Spirit creates more of these opportunities. When you spot them, focus harder on that person or crowd.
Mark 6:23. Herodias' daughter pleased the king a lot.
Really charming. Herod vowed to Herodias' daughter he'd give her
anything she asked.
People in authority are people with their weaknesses. Even when acting favorably, the Devil can lure them in to making foolish decisions that hurt evangelism efforts. Maybe even kill evangelists.
Esther and Paul showed with their allies the reverse can happen, though. I don't remember if those relationships with secular rulers are all Providence or if there's Scripture saying to try to form them. Trying to form them might set one up for trouble. I'm defaulting on being good to any that Providence brings to you.
Mark 6:27. John the Baptist was beheaded in prison.
Serving God and calling out evil can lead you to prison. You might be executed. John didn't relent on his mission to try to live either. We must be loyal to our Lord Jesus sharing His Gospel no matter what.
Mark 6:34. Jesus saw a great crowd of lost people, had compassion on them, and began to teach.
People who are lost and desolate saw Jesus. They tried to get near Him. Jesus saw their need and confusion. Compassion in Greek is a word that means up from the bowels. He feels an overwhelming urge to help them. He cancels whatever He's doing to go to them.
Mark 6:35-44. Disciples want to leave, Jesus says feed the people, with what they reply, and He miraculously provides for them.
Disciples already want to leave. They're tired. The people can fend for themselves. Jesus is probably tired, too. He still tries to meet their physical needs. He's going to perform a miracle, too. Hard to say what this tells us. The first lesson might be to keep putting work into critical moments like these to help and reach as many as we can. Rest when we truly have no energy left or when nothing is happening.
Might be a lesson on provision. We see to trust God to provide. I'm talking about praying for others, even large groups, for God to deliver them from their situation. Then, when God answers, He expects them to be there to serve those people. His solution was delivered through their hands, feet, and time. The way it was delivered would let them briefly talk to many individuals. Quick ways to share the Gospel... such as short explanation, tracts, and Gospel sites... let us capitalize on such moments.
Mark 6:39-43. Jesus commanded, they obeyed, were satisfied with what they got, and had abundance left over.
Jesus can help us meet our immediate needs. More important, we can tell people only Jesus can truly satisfy them. This is a deep sense of satisfaction. He provides it in abundance like the bread and fish. Accept Him, invest time in Him, and that investment pays dividends into the next day.