|Field 1: Ploughing||Field 2: Sowing|
|Field 4: Harvest||Field 3: Growing|
This second of the Four Fields is all about communicating the Gospel in a way that is culturally and spiritually relevant so that it will result in many coming to faith. In this series of lessons on sowing you will learn many clever strategies for sharing the Gospel. This first lesson is an overview.
There are many strategies for bringing the Gospel to the world around us. Some work really well while many do not. Once again, Jesus is our model so we look to him for guidance. His methods were highly effective and he sent the Holy Spirit so that we can be just as effective as he was (John 14:12-14).
In these lessons we will learn many Biblical methods of sharing the Gospel that are sensitive to South Asian culture. The purpose of field 2 is to increase dramatically the number of times we share the Gospel:
No witnessing: No harvest
Little witnessing: A small harvest.
Much witnessing: A large harvest!
2. SO WHAT IS THE GOSPEL MESSAGE?
Jesus was the Gospel
What is the Gospel? The word Gospel simply means Good News. Jesus was not just the good news in human form, he also shared the good news every day of his ministry. Luke describes what he shared beautifully in Luke 4:18-19:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
Good news: Healing. Liberation. Freedom. Divine favour. Freedom from Satanic oppression!
We share the good news not because we want to increase our numbers, or because we have been told to, but because we love people as Christ loved them, because we have compassion on those who suffer from Satan’s actions, and because they are missing out on a fantastic relationship with the creator of the universe. This was the motivation behind Christ’s statement quoted above.
Paul’s gospel message
Paul’s summary of the Gospel message is found below.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
A basic Gospel message will articulate the following:
- God made everything perfect and had a perfect relationship with Adam and Eve.
- But we all now separated from God because Adam and Eve rebelled against God.
- This rebellion, called sin, is destroying us and we see it all around us.
- Nothing we can do can fix it: religion, lifestyle, relationships. Nothing works.
- But Christ freely paid the price for our separation from God.
- We can reconnect with God only by accepting Christ’s free gift.
- Because he loves us he leaves it up to us to accept or reject this free gift.
- Reconnection with God will last forever, no strings, and it’s awesome!
3. WHO IS BEST TO SHARE THE GOSPEL?
Billy Graham was the greatest evangelist of the 20th Century. Yet he is not our Biblical model of someone sharing the Gospel. Compare Billy Graham’s life with the woman at the well (John 4):
|Billy Graham||Woman at the well|
|Male, westerner, educated, talented, used preaching model, expensive mass evangelism, formalised presentation, an army of helpers, many converts fell away||Female, outcast, rejected by her own people, wrong religion and ethnic group, no education, lots of enthusiasm, simple and personal, message of transformation, immediate, knew lots of people|
New believers are the most excited and most believable carriers of the Gospel message. A changed life is the greatest message of all. DMM’s grow fastest with new believers sharing the message of salvation to all their friends and family.
For those who have been believers for longer it is a matter of being ready. Each time you share the Gospel; whether it be a testimony of salvation, an answered prayer, a word of knowledge, prayer for a person, showing unconditional love, doing acts of mercy and kindness and the like, we call that a Gospel seed.
This is what we proclaim, in as many different ways as a diamond has facets!
4. TOOLS FOR SOWING GOSPEL SEEDS
Before beginning the task of sowing Gospel seeds here are some training ideas that will help you to maximise your results:
- Learn to hear and understand the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Follow them!
- Pray for the lost, for you family, for your contacts, anybody God puts on your heart.
- Pray for divine opportunities to share. The Holy Spirit always answers these prayers!
- Expect something to happen every day. If your antenna is up, you will be more effective.
- Stop thinking about yourself all the time, think of others needs.
- Try to see lostness in the eyes of everyone you meet.
- Face your fears. Even Paul had to do this (1 Corinthians 2:2-3).
- Know that the Holy Spirit is already touching the lives of many you will share with.
- Every believer can and should be sharing the Gospel.
- Gospel seed: Anything that lifts up Jesus as Christ.
- Don’t profile or judge people, you never know who will be the most receptive.
- Evangelism immediately after salvation is powerful.
- Don’t look to western models of evangelism. Look to Jesus and New Testament methods.
- Keep it very simple. That way it is reproducible in a new believer.
- Always be culturally relevant.
Some Biblical instructions on Gospel sowing:
- Prayer for workers!!!!! (Luke 10:1-2)
- Look for a person of peace, this is super-important. (Luke 10:5).
- Love one another (John 13:35)
- Share your testimony (Acts 1:8)
- Pray for miracles and healings (Luke 9:2)
- Obey the leading of the Holy Spirit (John 5:19)
Some practical ideas for sowing that have worked for others:
- Offer to pray for people needs. This is one of the best ideas of all.
- Start a discovery Bible study (DBS) with inquisitive non-believers. This is also very effective, but more on this in a later lesson.
- Talk about the joy of your changed life: Before meeting Jesus, your salvation experience, then your changed life. Make sure you only take 2-3 minutes maximum with strangers. Then ask if they would like to know more.
- Prayer for your friends and family, your oikos!!!!!
- Invite people to your house for meals. That’s when people open up and share their heart.
- Become a friend. “Can I help?”
- Feed people who are hungry. Buy a stranger a coffee.
- Meet people’s greatest needs.
- Use the internet in areas where evangelism is very dangerous.
- Become a family to those without family.
- Offer to up-skill people in a practical area for free.
- Use the three circles evangelism tool. More on that later.
- Meet serious community and village needs. The Bhojpuri Movement in India uses this method to great effect.
- Avoid methods that cost money or use technology.
- Many salvations and new simple churches follow from a miracle or healing. In India it is as high as 70%. So pray for healings as much as possible.
- Share stories of answered prayer.
- Use the CAMEL method with people who only accept the authority of the Qur’an. There is a whole lesson coming up on this technique.
Lift up Jesus, Don’t pull down other religions
Never attack or criticise other religious beliefs or practices either. Proclaiming the greatness, goodness and love of Jesus Christ and the blessings to be had in life with him, is all that is needed. Allow people to make their own comparisons and come to their own conclusions as the Holy Spirit guides.
- Usually one in twenty people with whom you share will want to know more about Jesus
- You will get better with experience.
- For every 20 trained in these Gospel seed sowing methods listed above some 12-15 will do nothing, 3-5 become active, and 1-2 will become superstars.
- If you are successful and someone gives their life to Jesus, encourage them to sow their own Gospel seeds as soon as possible.
- Almost everyone will say “yes” to an offer to pray for them and this can lead to a great discussion.
1.Count how many times you have sown a Gospel seed in the last week. What about in the last month?
- Set a target for the number of Gospel seeds you will sow this week. Start low and work up with more confidence.
- Choose five methods listed above and experiment with them.
- Step out of the boat like Peter did. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel (Luke 9:26)