Summary: Coleman brings Jesus’ early ministry to reality in his book. He explains, in 9 easy principles, “the master plan of evangelism,” Jesus’ way.
Jesus’ Plan of Evangelism: Matthew 4:19
“…Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19
Introduction: Many churches are considerably “dead” today. A large number of churches fail to teach the importance of evangelism. These churches are trying to attract members of other churches to transfer over their memberships. In essence, all these churches are doing is taking the fish that have already been caught, taking them out of one fish tank and putting them in another. There is no spiritual growth growing on in these churches. I believe that evangelism is the heart of the church. Although preaching to the multitudes is necessary, it will not train leaders to disciple others. This is not a gift, it must be taught. Jesus says, “I will make you fishers of men.” The key word being “make.” Discipleship includes follow up. A person who just comes to church once a week (Sunday Christian) to be fed the word, but does not fish for men is no real service to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus says, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” This implies two things: One, if you are following Him, he will make you a fisher of men. Two, if you are not becoming a fisher of men, you are not following Him. Robert E. Coleman touches on this very subject in his book, “The Master Plan of Evangelism”. Coleman writes, “Our concern should not be with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow.” Coleman brings Jesus’ early ministry to reality in his book. He explains, in 9 easy principles, “the master plan of evangelism,” Jesus’ way.
1. Selection: He chose 12 men who were suited for the job. Ask God to give you a handful of people that you can work together in winning, training, and reproducing other kingdom builders throughout the 92% of the world that is yet to know Christ as Savior and Lord. The majority of excuses I hear when I speak about evangelism are, “I don’t know enough about the Bible,” “I’m just a regular believer,” or “That might be for you, but it’s not for me.” Let’s focus on the men that Jesus chose to follow Him. These were blue collar workers in everyday society. None of them were religious leaders or held any prominent position in the synagogue. None of them were considered wealthy. As a matter of fact, most of them were raised in the poor section of the country. These men that Jesus picked were considered as pretty rugged people of their day and ours. Peter had a foul mouth and a horrible temper. There wasn’t one that had an academic degree in the arts or philosophies of their day. People who you evangelize do not have to be smart. They jus have to be teachable. Jesus will “make you fishers of men.” These guys were known to be mistaken in their judgments and slow to comprehend spiritual things, but they were honest men. The basic principle here is that Jesus can use anyone who is willing.
2. Association: You must spend time with them. Spend extended time in mentoring, nurturing, encouraging, and ministering together. As Jesus’ ministry grew bigger, He found it necessary to narrow His select company to a number that was manageable. This shows a good picture of how Jesus wanted an intimate relationship with His followers. Therefore, we as teachers should also seek an intimate relationship with our students. We should get to know our students personally. Coleman points out, “the more concentrated the size of the group being taught, the greater the opportunity for effective instruction.” Jesus also prayed for His students which is a great picture for us. Here is where we must begin just like Jesus. It will be slow, tedious, painful, and probably unnoticed at first, but the end result will be glorious, even if we don’t live to see it. We must decide where and when we want our ministry to count.
3. Consecration: Present ourselves as a living sacrifice. Be wholly dedicated and committed. Demonstrate full consecration. When the time came near for Jesus to leave, He spent more time with His disciples, not less. This is a good picture for us to not make ministry a job we retire from, but to make it a lifestyle. Jesus ate with His disciples, slept with them, prayed with them, worshipped with them, and visited crowded cities together. They were His spiritual children and the only way that a father can properly raise a family is to be with them. Those of us who are seeking to disciple others must be ready for them to follow us, as we follow Christ.
4. Impartation: Give them books, websites, tapes, c.d.’s, tools, and assignments. Give them ideas and motivation. Give them materials to learn on their own as well. This will help with their personal growth with the Lord.