Interact Magazine 1998
Volume 9 Number 3
Ministers of local churches have many opportunities to share the gospel with people and see them come to faith in Christ. I think of one elderly lady who made an appointment to arrange her funeral. At the conclusion of our time, I asked if she had made the most important arrangement of all: had she come to the place in her life where she knew that if she died that night she would wake up in heaven. She said she didn’t know. I then shared the gospel with her and she gladly accepted Christ as her Saviour. While I was very excited about that, I want to say that there is something more exciting, and that is seeing someone else I have trained share their faith and lead another to Christ. But something even more thrilling is to see someone I have trained, train someone else who then leads another to Christ. This is called multiplication.
The training method I have been using for nearly 20 years is Evangelism Explosion. I have found it to be the most effective tool for teaching others to share their faith and, more importantly, to train someone else on a one-to-basis. The EE training which has been utilised for some 20 years in Australia is culturally adapted for the Australian community and designed to equip Christians to effectively and sensitively verbalise the gospel. It is a 16 week program with its strongest feature being ‘on the job’ training.
What does it offer the church?
It is local church based evangelism training.
Christians in a local congregation are recruited, equipped and sent out into their community.
It is a proven tool for conversion growth.
We have found, as many churches do, that we regularly see people come to faith. Christians who know how to share what they believe and how to lead a person to Christ will continually see fruit.
It is a proven tool for spiritual growth.
There is no doubt that when individuals share their faith they grow very quickly and strongly in their own walk with Christ.
It creates a vision for intentional evangelism.
We plan to reach people rather than just letting it happen. Because of our weekly training program we need to find people to share the gospel with and that in turn makes us look hard at our overall Parish ministry program. This ensures that we are intentionally reaching people in our community and not just drifting along, hoping someone might come through the door.
There is a very strong prayer ministry that supports the training.
Each trainee and trainer has two prayer partners. So as a team of three people visit, there are nine others at home praying for them.
What does EE have to offer the pastor?
It produces a harvest-centred ministry (Luke 10). The EE ministry develops a mindset where the members of the church see the fields that are ‘white unto harvest’ and look for creative ways to reach the lost.
It provides an effective means of equipping Christians to share their faith (Eph. 4:11,12).
It is a process of multiplying oneself. 2 Timothy 2:2 reminds us that we need to train faithful men who will in turn train others. The pastor cannot and should not seek to do all the witnessing.
What does it offer the person being trained?
It really helps them develop good personal skills in relating to people and being sensitive to them.
Very importantly, EE training promotes witnessing as a way of life. Christians learn to share Christ wherever they are, not just during the weekly program.
It contains a sound theology of the gospel. There is a very clear gospel presentation, where the person witnessing knows exactly what they want to say and how to say it. The presentation contains everything a person needs to hear to make a decision for Christ.
Role-modelling is a key element. Trainees see their trainers model how to share their faith in ‘on the job training’. This allows the trainee to grow in confidence and gradually learn how to share the gospel.
The major strength and distinctiveness of the EE ministry is an ongoing equipping process for the local church which can be effectively integrated with other evangelistic strategies, eg Christianity Explained, Alpha, seeker sensitive services, etc. The training utilises the contacts generated by the local church and then brings them into discipleship in the local church community.
A recent development has been Youth EE Training. St Matthew’s at Manly and All Saints at Figtree have in the last two years sent a youth team to Bali, Fiji and Papua New Guinea to train Youth Pastors to return to their churches and train their own youth in how to share the gospel. The impact on our young people has been amazing. We praise God for these opportunities.
The training to commence the process in the local church is through a Leadership Course for pastors and key leaders – five days in length, costing $290. Once commenced in the local church, participants receive training manuals, follow-up materials, etc. The trainee package is approximately $35 per person.
The training is conducted by:
Evangelism Explosion Ministries Australia
PO Box 168
Port Kembla NSW 2502
Phone 02 4275 1033 Fax 02 4275 1367
Rev Richard Harvey, Senior Minister at St Matthews Anglican Church, Manly
© Richard Harvey (1 November 1998)