For too long our philosophy of evangelism has been askew with the New Testament pattern. Our strategy has been “come hear.” We invite people to Sunday School to “come hear” the lesson. We invite people to church services to “come hear” the preaching. We invite people to revivals to “come hear” the evangelist. But the commandment of Acts 1:8 didn’t tell us to tell the world “come hear.” The New Testament pattern was “go tell.”
By Tim Massengale
The story is told of an elderly gentleman who one day took his young, seven-year-old grandson behind the house to plant the summer garden. The little boy was instructed to make a hole in the freshly tilled soil with a sharp stick. Into each hole the Grandfather dropped two or three seeds. First they planted a row of corn, then a row of turnips, then a row of beans, and so on.
Eventually the child tired of his task and wanted to try his hand at planting. The old man considered this for a moment and finally decided he could try. After the hole was made the young lad carefully dropped in three seeds and then watched his Grandfather cover them up. Several hours later, the spring planting was complete.
Two months later, the old man was working in the garden, pulling weeds and applying fertilizer to the young plants. He paused and looked over the coming harvest. He tried to remember what rows he planted and what rows were planed by his grandson. For the life of him, he couldn’t tell. The seeds grew hardy and strong regardless of who put them in the ground.
The lesson is this: the seed did not care if the hand which plants it is a grandfather with a lifetime of experience or the hand of his seven-year-old grandchild. You see, if we will put seeds into the fertile soil, God will do the rest. God will cause the sun to shine; God will cause the rain to fall, God will cause the seed to germinate and grow. And so we learn that if we will do our job, God has promised to do His job.
This is a lesson well heeded by the Church. If we will plant the Gospel seed in the hearts of men, God will do the rest. But we have to put our confidence in the seed, the Word of God. We have to go forth and plant.
Psalms 126:6 – He that goeth forth and weepth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Home Bible Study Works
In the opinion of many who are involved in church growth research, one of the best methods of evangelism is that of home Bible study. It plants the seed quickly and effectively. Anyone can teach one and, with a little effort, anyone can obtain a study to teach.
Without a doubt, home Bible study lessons such as Search For Truth, Exploring God’s Word, and the shorter one and two lesson studies like Into His Marvelous Light and A Place Prepared For You, have been the greatest “tool” of evangelism in recent times. Thousands have been brought to the saving knowledge of Truth in the comfort of their own home by an individual with a burden, a Bible, and a Bible study chart or booklet. Entire churches have been raised up through this one outreach method alone.\