Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Way to Cast the Net

Hasn't it been great talking so much about evangelism these past weeks?  I've been uplifted, and I hope you have too.  Thus far, we've concentrated on all the people we already know that we can share the gospel with, both in person and long distance. I think that is the absolutely the best place to start, but today I'd like to share methods of sharing the gospel with people we may not know. Here are two ways that won't be intrusive and don't take an inordinate amount of time.

World Bible School is an online Bible course that students all around the world can sign up to take.  The course is composed of 55 lessons, and the computer system grades the multiple choice questions.  I have signed up to be a "teacher." All I have to do is comment on the short answer questions, which are typically more personal. I can also correspond with my student via a mail system internal to the website (in other words, my student doesn't get any personal information about me).

 To be a "teacher" at WBS, you have to provide your congregation information so they can determine from church leadership that you are a member in good standing. After that, you can choose your students from the student board, as many or as few as you would like.
A fisherman casting a net
With World Bible School, you are only teaching people who want to learn. Some of them are already Christians, but not all.  In fact, one of my elders who got involved with the program was able to arrange for a young lady across the country to be baptized.  Long distance it is, but it is still evangelism.  On the other hand, you may get a student who never does more than the first lesson.  I've had that happen more than once.  Just like in any personal evangelism, not everyone will answer the call, but I'm excited to have a new way to cast the net!

Another way to share the gospel is through the prison system.  About a year ago, a member of our church had a family member in prison, and our church began sending her letters of encouragement, along with printed Bible lessons.  Through that encouragement, she became a Christian.  She also gave names of other ladies at the prison that were interested in doing the same thing.  Since then, hundreds of lessons have gone out, and more than 40 people have been baptized.  You see, prisoners are at a low point in their lives, often searching for some kind of answers.  Not only that, but they don't often have a lot to do, and going through Bible lessons gives them a way to occupy their time. 

Getting a prison ministry started can begin with just one prisoner. He or she may know several others who would like to be involved, and the ministry can blossom from there.  Lessons paired with letters of encouragement are great ways to share the gospel with people who so desperately need it.  Our church uses lessons from John M. Hurt publications, but there are many more available.  It is important to know the rules of the prison you are sending letters to.  Many of them have rules like black ink only and no colored paper.  You'll also have to know exactly how to address the letter.  You also want to be careful not to give too much information in your letters.  I always use the return address of the church, and I don't share personal info beyond what is needed for ministry. 

In both of these methods of evangelism, you can work with people who genuinely want to hear the gospel.  If they ask hard questions, it is easy to take the time to think about your answer, since you are corresponding via letter or email.  Once you have thought about how to respond, letters don't take all that long to write, so it is a good way to fit evangelism into the busiest of schedules.  The same general principles of sharing the gospel apply:  Build a relationship, pray for your seekers, and share the truth with love. 


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