I’ve enjoyed reading about the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru.com). The book is called Amazing Faith: The Authorized Biography of Bill Bright. While reading, I came across a list Bill wrote down of “some of the lessons I have learned about evangelism and follow-up through the years.”
One of the most important outflows of a worshiping life is to share the Gospel. In fact, worship should lead us to witness! These lessons have challenged my thinking and convicted me about my own efforts to evangelize and follow-up with people. The lessons that spoke to me the most are numbers 2, 4, 13, 16, 20, and 29.
Bill Bright’s 30 Lessons on Evangelism and Follow-up:
- Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
- The greatest thing that has ever happened to any Christian is coming to know Christ; therefore the greatest thing we can do for another person is to tell him how he or she can know Christ.
- The one thing dearest to the heart of our Lord, assuming that you are living under the control of the Holy Spirit, is that you tell others about Him. Although not everyone has the gift of evangelism, every believer is chosen and ordained to “go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). In other words, every Christian is to witness for Christ as a way of life.
- There is no way you can become and remain a truly vibrant Christian without sharing your faith continually as a way of life.
- If you do share your faith regularly, as a way of life, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will inevitably be a fruitful Christian.
- You can be an authority on the content of the Word of God and still be spiritually impotent and defeated if you do not share your faith.
- Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. It is God who produces the fruit. He only requires that we be faithful in the sharing.
- Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). It is our responsibility to follow Jesus; it is His responsibility to make us fishers of men.
- According to John 15:8, we prove that we are following Jesus when we bear much fruit, when we are actively involved in introducing others to Him. Thus, according to Jesus, we do not prove that we are following Him just because we live a good life, read the Bible, pray, and are active in the church (though all of these are important).
- The more people to whom you talk about Christ, the more there will be who receive Him. (The more you sow, the more you reap.)
- The more people who receive Christ, the more there will be who will become disciples.
- Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Men are born into the kingdom of God through the work of the Holy Spirit, not as a result of gimmicks, arguments, or high-pressure techniques. At the same time, experience has demonstrated in thousands of lives, during almost a quarter of a century, that to be a truly fruitful Christian, you must first be sure you are filled (controlled and empowered) by the Holy Spirit, and second, be trained to communicate the gospel simply and clearly. Keep the presentation of the gospel simply as per the Four Spiritual Laws. In a spirit of love, and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, always seek to bring men to a personal commitment to Christ. Encourage them to pray with you whenever possible. If they are unwilling, encourage them to pray privately and to inform you of their decision. (Exercise care to avoid arguments or high-pressure situations that might result in a premature decision.)
- God has promised He will honor His Word; there is no truth to the idea that we should not talk with men whom we cannot follow up lest, by hearing the gospel and responding and later falling away because of a lack of follow-up, they will build a spiritual immunity.
- The parable of the sower is not based upon the extent to which men are followed up; the fact that some will turn away while others will grow at varying rates is evidenced among those who have extensive follow-up, as well as among those who have no follow-up by another person.
- Essentially, our responsibility in follow-up would seem to be summarized in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (NKJV). The question then is: How do you find those who are faithful among the many who indicate an initial response to the gospel?
- It is good to ask all new converts to study the parable of the sower and tell you with which kind of soil they wish to identify.
- Those who want to be true disciples and fruitful followers of Christ can be followed up through prayer, personal contacts, literature, taking them witnessing with you…the ministry of the local church…Bible studies…
- Try two areas of follow-up–primary and secondary, which incorporate the above means and other methods. Primary follow-up is building men in a person-to-person situation, as in small groups. Secondary follow-up employs one or more other methods, including most of those listed in point 17. The secondary method should be applied to everyone. The primary method should be applied to those who are eager to proceed and who respond to the secondary.
- The cream will rise to the top. Spend time with “the movers,” as they are most likely to become disciples and multipliers.
- We should not be satisfied with spiritual additions; our ultimate objective should be multiplication. Ask yourself, “How many spiritual great-grandchildren can I name?”
- The key to building many disciples is a strong emphasis on evangelism. Few, if any, groups have as many converts in full-time Christian service as Billy Graham and Campus Crusade for Christ–and both groups have a strong evangelistic thrust. The president of one of our leading seminaries stated that 40 percent of its student body was introduced to or influenced for Christ by Campus Crusade for Christ…
- Keep emphasizing the church in follow-up. There are those who say the traditional church has lost its relevancy and “real meaning and fellowship is experienced only small group fellowship in the home.” There is nothing new about that. Thousands of vital churches have small Bible studies, action groups, fellowship, and similar meetings and have had those for years as they seek to minister to the total spiritual need of man: worship Bible study, fellowship, Christian service opportunities, etc. I was introduced to this concept twenty-five years ago when I became a Christian at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. Don’t be deceived by new names for old practices.
- Prayer is one of the most important factors in successful evangelism and successful follow-up. The Scripture gives our basis for prayer: We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). God wants all of His children to be more and more like Christ in every way. Therefore, according to 1 John 5:14-15, we know God will hear and answer if we pray for multitudes to become Christians and for many to become disciples, because we know that we pray according to God’s will.
- We should not fear repetition in follow-up. New Christians need most to understand how they can experience an abundant life in the power of the Holy Spirit and share their faith effectively. Repetition aids learning. The Holy Spirit keeps old truths fresh and meaningful through repetitions if our hearts are right.
- We should not be deceived by critics who say Campus Crusade for Christ is shallow and superficial so we need to spend more time in deep Bible truths. First, what are these so-called deep truths? Second, are these “truths” producing holy, Spirit-controlled Christians who have a vital, fruitful witness for Christ? Many years of good Bible and theological training in the best Bible schools and seminaries do not ensure victorious and fruitful lives for Christ; whereas emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit and sharing one’s faith will. What “deeper truth” is more important?
- Most Christian leaders whom I know have never been followed up personally in the traditional sense. Some years ago I was participating in a seminar devoted to follow-up. Many Christian leaders were present. All of us were concerned with the need for better follow-up of new converts. Suddenly, it occurred to me to ask each of these leaders, “Who followed you up?” Not one of these men, including myself, had been followed up personally. Most had been followed up in the fellowship of various church meetings, Sunday School, Bible studies, etc.
- Philippians 1:6 is a reminder that the Holy Spirit, who produces the new life in the believer, will continue to help the believer grow.
- The heart of the matter is whether we can believe that the Holy Spirit is able to finish what He has begun according to Romans 8:28-29, which tells us: “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him–and all along he knew who would–should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers” (TLB).
- Never forget the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s power. After years of discipling, most of the disciples deserted Jesus at the cross and one betrayed Him. It was Pentecost that made the ultimate difference!
- The Holy Spirit is the only one who can adequately follow up and help the new convert to grow and mature in his faith. Encourage the new convert to depend upon the Holy Spirit and not on your clever ideas or on excellent follow-up material.
Excerpt from Amazing Faith: The Authorized Biography of Bill Bright by Michael Richardson. (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press) 2000, p. 131. Not used by permission.