Evangelism: More Caught than Taught posted by Evangelism Explosion on Jan 23, 2014
What do driving a car, riding a bicycle and swimming have in common? Yes, they’re all means of getting from point A to point B; and, they are all things you can do by yourself. But a third important common denominator is that they are skills almost impossible to learn by classroom instruction alone.
In his classic book, The Training of the Twelve, A. B. Bruce concluded that Jesus’ method of training overwhelmingly involved personal interaction. As Dr. Kennedy said, “Jesus didn’t organize a class called ‘Apostles’. “ The disciples learned to pray, give, serve, minister and evangelize by first observing Jesus’ behavior, then mimicking his behavior as He coached them, and finally, putting into action what they learned.
It’s helpful to remember Dr. Kennedy’s four Biblical principles of Evangelism Explosion:
1) Every Christian is to be a witness. (Mark 1:17; Acts 1:8)
2) It is the responsibility of the Pastor to equip the saints. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
3) Equipping is best done by on-the-job training. (Mark 3:14)
4) Training soul winners is spiritual multiplication. (2 Timothy 2:2)
While OJT is absolutely foundational to evangelism training, there always exists a temptation to try to teach witnessing in a class. However, experience proves that trying to produce a soul winner via lectures alone is about as likely as producing a successful driver, bicyclist or swimmer in a classroom.
In the local church, EE ministries inevitably experience highs and lows. In Del City, Oklahoma, Robert Harris and I were accustomed to the highs and were puzzled (and somewhat discouraged) when only a few people were enlisted for one new EE semester. I remember much soul searching and prayer leading to the following conclusion: We are dedicated to equipping people for evangelism, not because large numbers follow us, but because it is the command Jesus gave to His followers. We don’t take others with us for OJT because it’s convenient, comfortable or easy, but because it is the Biblically mandated, time tested, and historically proven means of producing disciples.