A Summary Outline of THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM, Robert E. Coleman reprinted over 63 times since its publication in 1963.
I first read Coleman’s book in 1973 during my college days at East Tennessee State University. I was involved in CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). I wrote this summary after going through the book in an action group; our small discipleship groups on campus. It stayed in my journal and has been like a North Star to orient me through over 40 years in parachurch and congregational service. His book is still in print. And a version with a small group study guide in the back is also still accessible. Let’s make sure our main thing is Jesus’ main thing! Roy King June 26, 2015
Steps to building and sending people to the world:
Luke 6:13- People were Christ’s method.
No evidence of haste just determination.
No big impact at this time, just investing in people willing to learn.
Jesus does not neglect the masses, but realizes that victory will never be won by the multitudes.
Matt. 28:20 He was with his disciples.
He let them follow him, and this was his initial requirement.
Lk. 8:10 Knowledge was gained by association before being understood by explanation.
IT TAKES TIME.
Discipleship involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence.
Matt. 11:29- He required obedience.
Lk, 16:13 -The surrender of one’s whole life to the master in absolute submission to His sovereignty was required.
Mt.27:3-10; Acts 1:18, 19 Few would pay the price.
Obedience to Christ was the means by which those in his company learned more truth.
Obedience was modeled by Jesus as he lived in absolute obedience to the Father’s will. Jn.5:30, 6:38.
Jn.20:22 He gave himself away.
- He gave His peace Jn.16:33, Matt,11:28
- He gave His joy. Jn.15-11,17:13
- He gave the keys to the kingdom which the power of hell could not prevail against. Matt.6:19, Lk. 12:32
- He gave them His own glory so could be as one with the Father. 17.22, 24
- He gave them a compulsion for evangelism. Jn. 17:18, 19 As the context reveals, His sanctification was in an area of commitment to the task for which He had been sent into the world, and in dedication to that purpose of evangelism, He continually gave His life “for their sakes”. “The ministry of the Holy Spirit is God in operation in men’s lives.” ( pg. 72)
Jn. 13:15 He showed them how to live.
- The practice of prayer Lk, 11:11, Matt.6:9-13.
- The use of Scripture Abide in His word Jn.15:7.
- Training to the task of evangelism Jesus did not use fancy classes or tools, only a teacher who practiced with them what He expected them to learn.
Matt.4:19- He assigned them work. He provided them with a vital experience with God and showed them how he worked, before telling them they had to do it.
Their briefing instructions. Lk.9, Matt.10, Mk. 6
- Go to the most susceptible audience Matt.10:5,6
- Move with the movers Matt.l0:ll, Mk 6:10; Lk.9:41
- Expect Hardship.
- Remember- They are one with Christ. Matt.10:40-42, John 13:20 “Think of this identity! The disciples were to be the actual representatives of Christ as they went forth. So clear was this association that if someone gave a child a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, that act of mercy would be rewarded.”
- They were sent out 2 by 2. Evangelism set up Christ for his ministry Lk. 10:l
“Christian disciples are sent men-sent out in the same work of world evangelism to which our Lord was sent, and for which He gave His life. Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do.”
Mk. 8:17- He kept check on them-
He gave instruction, assignments and then regrouping to iron out problems.
Jesus used mistakes and failures for learning Mk.9:17-29,Mk.6:30-44, Mk.8:10-19.
Plan of teaching:
- Constant check-up.
Jn.l5:l6-He expected them to reproduce. (Jn.17:20, 21, 23)
“His whole evangelistic strategy, indeed, the fulfillment of his very purpose in coming into the world, dying on the cross, and rising from the grave depended upon the faithfulness of his chosen disciples to this task.”
A barren Christian is a contradiction. A tree is known by its fruit.
“The only hope for the world is for men to go to them with the Gospel of salvation, and having won them to the Savior, not to leave them, but to work with them faithfully, patiently, painstakingly, until they become fruitful Christians savoring the world about them with the Redeemer’s love.”
“The criteria upon which a Church should measure its success is not how much the budget is increased, or how many names are added to the roll, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes.”(pg.113, 114)
Conclusion: The Steps Summarized
- Begin with a few
- Stay together
- Give them time
- Group meetings
- Expect something from them
- Keep them going
- Help them carry their burdens
- Let them carry on
- Their personal spiritual relationship with Jesus is priority
- The price of victory comes high.
THE Critical Question for you to answer, “Can I trust the character/heart of the person/s over me even when I have good reason to not trust their competence in handling the situation we are facing?”
If you answer, “No” to that question; pray and ask God if you should leave the position. The Bible warns of the danger of leaders with corrupt character creating a wake of destruction. OR …At least know how to pray and be very cautious.
If you answer “Yes” realize that the poor exercise of competence can still sink the organization, wound people including you, and generally make a mess. The lack of or poor communication or a hundred other poorly executed skills related to leading, managing and empowering others still spells poor supervision.
Skills can be learned and practiced and improved in many cases if a supervisor is humble and teachable.
SO — what do you think and do?
Think — I should not assume that someone over me knows how to lead me well. Your supervisor/s are not mind readers and often do not have a good feel of what you need to carry out your responsibilities. They are too concerned about their own work to know yours well. They often hired you to do what they do not have time or desire to do.
Do — Inform the supervisor/s what you need to be empowered and effective in your responsibilities. List your vital contributions to the organization. Then describe what you need now or in the near future to be effective. Sit down and discuss the list — even when it includes items such as, “Limit surprises that disrupt my day or week… they confuse my priorities and push me out of clarity into crisis reaction.” Be honest but realistic about the nature of the workplace. Lead UP the way you want to be addressed by someone UNDER you.
Remember that you work FOR them. Do not assume that you know their preferred work language. Ask questions and then be diligent to lay down your own preferences, if necessary, to use their language. WHAT IS A WORK LANGUAGE?
Examples of questions that uncover work language or style?
- How do you prefer to communicate? (face to face planned meetings, as you walk by, e-mail, text, phone, etc.,)
- How do you prefer to address conflict? (write up summary and then ask to meet to follow-up, over lunch, etc.,)
- How do you prefer to evaluate results? (standard reports of benchmarks, surveys, daily tasks accomplished, etc.,)
- How do you prefer to handle personal non-work issues in my life? (leave it at home, let’s have coffee, at weekly meeting, etc.,)
Bottom Line — We are ALL developing competence in leading UP to those over us and DOWN to those under us. Stay humble and ask this question, “What am I doing that is making your job more challenging or difficult?” Then listen, act on what you hear and follow up in a few weeks to see if you have improved.
WHAT IS HELPING YOU TO LEAD UP OR LEAD DOWN?
Theologians have a range of perspectives on this question. Here is my take.
1) The church and the kingdom are not the same but are closely related.
2) Think of a timeline. On one end you have Abraham, in the middle you have Jesus on earth, and on the right hand end you have the return of Christ.
I see God’s goal — launched with Abraham was to have a people who would declare, “You are our God!” and over whom He could say, “You are my people!” As God adopts his family he goes from a tribal network to a nation to a church (people scattered among every nation) to the kingdom.
BUT — Jesus declared that with his coming as redeemer and the indwelling Spirit now in every one of God’s people we were to be living out kingdom lifestyle and values.
The lives of Christians should make people want to be in Jesus’ kingdom family. The power, peace, love etc., should all be evidence that the message of salvation in Christ is true and available.
What are your thoughts on churches with 10,000+ members in your personal experiences and connections, are these people being discipled?
These two questions were asked by students at Columbia international University. www.ciu.edu
1) God must like congregations of all sizes since churches ranging from less than 10 to over 100,000 do exist.
2) All of the largest congregations in the world are outside the United States and yet most congregations around the world are quite small (less than 50).
3) I am not convinced that size is the critical factor in effectiveness of community or disciple making. I have observed some very unhealthy small congregations and some very fruitful large congregations. The focus of the leadership, the values guiding how the church invests its time, money and communication, the quality of the personal and group prayer life, the level of joy in the group life — and I am sure there are other elements — these have more to do with impact and community than the number of people.
This question comes from a student at Columbia international University www.ciu.edu.
It can be challenging to define terms these days. Check out this doctrinal statement as one I often use when asked what I believe. THE LAUSANNE COVENANT .
Words tend to be colored by how we see them being used. Several of my African American friends struggle with being identified as “evangelical”. They have told me it brings up many distasteful images. These Christian brothers affirm all of the essentials of the faith that I do but we have difficulty finding a term that has not polluted by its usage by certain groups or the media. The church we attend has been using terms like: “progressive multi-ethnic church” and a “Christ centered Acts 1:8 family”. These are both very long and still carry some baggage or may not be understood by some groups.
I think maybe I will just go back to “Christian” or “Follower of Jesus Christ” and try to live in such a way that others get a good definition from my life.
This question is from a student at Columbia International University www.ciu.edu.
1) Our world is changing and that includes how people respond and become disciples of Jesus. Once churches are over 20 years old many begin to lose their flexibility to make necessary changes. They have diminished desire to be risk takers — often a necessary ingredient to be able to reach people.
2) Leadership tends to be expressed in a generation. As a new generation emerges the leadership for that generation needs ways to carry out the leadership mantle.
3) There is a false assumption in the question. Resources to reach the least reached and unreached on the planet is not exhausted by planting new churches where the church is already established. The problem is a lack of focus, commitment and generosity by the established church to reach those outside their circles of influence.
4) Often new churches are more invested in local, regional and global witness than older churches.