Summary: Help in learning how to talk to others about Christ.
First Baptist Church
A Formula for Evangelism
April 8, 2001
Have you ever been given a difficult job to do, but were not told how to do it? You were left to figure it out on your own. It is an overwhelming feeling. Before coming to Ashland, I worked in 2 churches and 2 hospitals. I graduated from seminary, have a masters degree, am a board certified chaplain, and am ordained. You would think I am well qualified to be a minister. Yet, I remember the first day that I sat behind my desk at church. I thought, okay, now what? Where’s the manual that tells me what to do? Of course, I did figure out what to do, I made coffee.
One of the most frustrating experiences in life is to be given an enormous task to accomplish, but not to be given the details how to accomplish it. Many times in life we are given jobs that seem so big that they appear to be impossible.
And it seems that God has given us a seemingly overwhelming task -- “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In other words, we have the task of telling every person on this planet the good news of God’s love.
To refer to this as the “GREAT COMMISSION” is an understatement! In fact, the Great commission is the purpose of 1st Baptist Church. In essence, we exist to fulfill the Great Commission. After giving us this divine message, Jesus tells us nothing about doing it. It’s one thing to tell me to put together a bicycle, but it’s another thing when there are no instructions.
And yet God calls each one of us to make disciples. Nobody is excluded. Jesus doesn’t say, ‘pastors only’ nor does He say ‘women only’ or ‘men only’ or ‘only those between the ages of 23-48, who were born when Jupiter was aligned with Mars’ are to make disciples. There are no exceptions.
There is no job that can appear more daunting and overwhelming than this one. We’ve been trying to accomplish it for the past 2,000 years. To give you an idea of how far we still have to go before we’re done, picture two cars on a highway, leaving New York City headed toward Los Angeles. One car is traveling at the rate of 10 MPH and the other is traveling at 100 mph. The car traveling at 100 MPH represents the expansion of the world population, and the car traveling at 10 MPH represents the rate at which we are currently reaching the world for Christ. It seems like a losing battle.
So, how is it possible to begin to make a difference in our corner of the world? It basically involves Christians becoming multipliers. You see being a disciple means that not only do we follow Christ . . . we also multiply ourselves by leading others to Christ, and those people lead others to Christ and so on. Suppose every person who is a Christian were to lead one other person to Christ in the next six months, and each of those persons were to reach one other person in six months, and each of those were to reach another person, and so on. It’s like a legal pyramid scheme. The entire world would proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior in a mere 32 years!
For this to work every believer must think of themselves as a multiplier. Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, has come up with a mathematical formula:
HP + CP + CC = MI
High Potency plus Close Proximity plus Clear Communication equals Maximum Impact. So, what does all this mean. Well, let’s take a look at this formula so that we will have a better understanding of how to share our faith in a way that will make it possible for us to fulfill the purpose of our church, the Great Commission.
1. The first part of this formula is “H.P.” which stands for HIGH POTENCY. It means that we have a highly potent relationship with Christ. A vibrant walk with our Lord that is obvious to all who know us. In Colossians 4:6 Paul said, “Let your speech ... your LIFE ... be seasoned with salt.” To have an impact on the world, we must have a relationship with Jesus that is so deep and real that every moment of our lives, even our daily conversations, are “salted” with the love of God. Have you ever eaten fritos without the salt? Yuck!! The best thing about them is the salt. When something is seasoned with salt, you know it. Salt is what gives food flavor. So when our speech and conduct, in other words, our lives, are filled with the salt of God, it is evident to all the world. People recognize us as God’s children.