Because of the more aggressive and confrontational tactics we hear about, evangelism has developed a bad connotation. Doors are shut hurriedly, phone calls end abruptly, and e-mails left unanswered.
After all, isn't this a task better handled by the pastor?
Perhaps it's time to reexamine John Wesley's model of evangelism as a full, natural circle—where it's a communal beginning point rather than a solitary end.
The central motive of authentic evangelism is: Having received a message that's made all the difference in our lives, we desire to share that message with others in the hope that it will transform their lives as well. Wesley models an evangelism that reaches out and welcomes, invites, and nurtures, and speaks to both head and heart.
"Evangelism is about relationship," the authors write. "How we are in relationship to God, who is able to transform us into new beings. How we are in relationship to our neighbor, whom we must love like ourselves."
As one reviewer says, "Knight and Powe have given us a relational book. They describe the deep connection between John Wesley's thoughts, Charles Wesley's hymns, scholarly thinking about evangelism and biblical understandings of the gospel—all in relation to the needs, concerns, and hopes of everyday people."
Learn on your own or as a congregational group from this practical study on living an evangelistic life that demonstrates the transforming power of loving God and neighbor.
Lead in Evangelism by Henry Knight III and F. Douglas Powe, the Leader's Guide is also available here.