Over the past few months, we’ve been placing renewed emphasis on our value of loving the lost by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to be a church that keeps Jesus’ call to make disciples at the center of everything—and that means the gospel must grow deep in us and go wide through us. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already noticed growth in our church’s culture of evangelism. People are talking about evangelism, praying for their neighbors, looking to be equipped to share the gospel, and (most importantly) taking steps of faith to actually do it. We’ve got momentum, people! And we want to keep that going. Over the coming weeks, I’m planning to put out a few short blog posts like this one to help keep evangelism on our minds and our love for the lost burning hot.
This time, I simply want to highlight a few resources that can help us continue learning about evangelism as our sermon series comes to a close. We’ve mentioned quite a few resources from the pulpit, and several of you have asked for our staff book list. I’ll just mention a few. All of these have influenced the way our staff thinks about evangelism, and they also have the advantage of being bite-sized and easy to understand—these are books you’ll actually finish!
1) Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles, Crossway. ~100 pages
We drew our definition of evangelism from this simple but helpful book. Stiles stresses that evangelism is a task given to the church (not merely individuals)—and that the church is uniquely suited for it. Every church has a culture of evangelism; the question is whether it’s a healthy one.
2) Conversion: How God Creates a People by Michael Lawrence, Crossway. ~115 pages
Lawrence brings clarity to a sometimes muddy topic: conversion. Often our theology of conversion comes more from Christian culture than from Scripture, and what we believe about conversion affects the way we go about evangelism. If we want to be effective evangelists, we need to be clear on what our goal is. Those of us who are witnessing to folks who think they’re already Christians will find this book especially helpful.
3) Unlikely Converts: Improbable Stories of Faith and What They Teach Us About Evangelism by Randy Newman, Kregel Publications. ~160 pages
This might be my new favorite book on evangelism. Drawing on numerous interviews with believers, Newman seeks to describe how people typically come to faith today (gradually, communally, variously, supernaturally) by interweaving principles, Scripture, and stories from his interviews and experiences. He then lays out some guidelines for how we should evangelize: carefully, fearfully, kindly, and prayerfully. Newman is clearly a gifted evangelist, but he writes for “the rest of us,” and he strikes the right balance of challenging us and encouraging us, of teaching and inspiring. (Includes discussion questions.)
4) The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements, Moody Publishers. ~130 pages
This book focuses on one of the most powerful tools at our disposal for reaching people with the gospel: hospitality. Hospitality isn’t just for people who know how to cook a 5-course meal, it’s for anyone who wants to use their home as a tool to love their neighbors and make space for gospel conversations. The authors do a great job of getting practical and helping us take small steps towards making hospitality a “way of life.” (Includes discussion questions.)