I have read 2 excellent books: “The Master Plan for Evangelism” by Robert Coleman and “The Great Evangelical Recession” by John S. Dickerson.
I like Robert Coleman’s book very much. It has been around since 1963 with updates & & many reprints. The copy purchased 8/9/2013 said over 3 million copies had been sold. Coleman said “One has to go to the New Testament, and the Gospels to really see the plan for evangelism of Jesus. Jesus intended to save out of the world a people for Himself and to build a church of the Spirit which would never perish. He had his sights on the day His Kingdom would come in glory and in power. This world was His by creation, but He did not seek to make it his permanent abiding place. His mansions were in the sky. He was going to prepare a place for His people that had foundations eternal in the heavens. No one was excluded from his precious purpose. His love was universal.” (from page 15-19)
Coleman’s book may be one of the best books on evangelism ever written. However, since it’s publication in 1963 with frequent updates the Evangelical movement has been in decline. I would like to suggest 2 reasons for this:
1) The Evangelical church may not have accepted the depth and facts of this problem all these years. In my Strategic Planning Consulting Practice over 30 years I found that the first key to change was to find and admit problems. That is very tough for people to face and accept. The “The Great Evangelical Recession” describes the decline in very specific ways. As you read the 1st six chapters on “Trends of Decline” you will immediately recognize the value in acknowledging them.
He said “Of America’s 316 million residents, we evangelicals only account for about 22 to 28 million. This is only 7% of the population. We lose about 2.6 million of those each decade. And the the number of new converts does not hold our position with population growth.” You may question some things but mostly you will believe the facts he has outlined. Some have suggested Dickerson is too pessimistic. For example some say his projected recapture rate of departed evangelical young people is too low. However, it may be too high in the future because of all the other factors in the declining trends.
2) This brings me to the 2nd reason. Both books in effect say making disciples & disciple makers is the answer. Why is it so difficult to develop disciple makers? As a Sunday School teacher at FBC Jacksonville, Fl for 40 years, I had never spent time in one on one disciple making until August 2009. I believe there are several reasons for this:
a) Lack of commitment on my part.
b) Almost total emphasis on evangelism and leaving the disciple making to the pulpit and Sunday School podium.
c) A reluctance to get involved with the nitty gritty of peoples lives with Christ centered and Bible based answers.
d) Not having a process that was a thorough presentation of the life of Jesus Christ and the right relationship with Him. When we started One2Won Discipleship training in August 2009 it was like a light bulb went on for me. This was something with God’s help and power I could do.
Do book writers in general realizes how difficult it is to have a discipleship training program for lay people without some comprehensive but uncomplicated structure leading to reproduction? Some disciples with more Biblical knowledge and experience may use an undocumented process for discipleship training based on their experience. This may lead to creation of mature disciples, but may leave the new disciple without a process they can use to reproduce themselves. This documented process and the work of the Holy Spirit is what makes One2Won reproducible in people’s lives as demonstrated by the 5 generations of men in the picture below.
Two types of people in our churches need discipleship training: 1) Most of our members who are Christians need remedial discipleship training so they can be disciple makers. 2) New converts.
There are 5 generations of One2 Won disciples in the photo below. From left to right Don discipled Joe, Joe discipled Richard, Richard discipled Kaye, and Kaye is discipling Pete.
For more One2Won testimonies click on “Testimony” in “Tagged” at the bottom. Henry Luke