In the month of December, our church will be working through a sermon series on evangelism. As we focus each week on our task of spreading the good news, I want to recommend a book study as a supplement. This can be read individually but, as with most things, this would be better done within a group. Let me encourage you to consider Jerram Barrs’ book The Heart of Evangelism for your next Life Group study or to read it through with your prayer triad.
In his own words, Barrs is “not trying to create another seven-step program of evangelism.” Rather, he is laying out the principles found in scripture as an encouragement to fulfill our mission and show God’s desire is to see His people gathered through it. The Heart of Evangelism is divided into four sections. In section one, Barrs lays out the call of every Christian to be an evangelist, to be a part of the spreading of God’s kingdom through the proclamation of the good news to those around us. Section two discusses God’s own heart for evangelism and the reality that it is actually we who are reluctant to share God’s good news. Section three explores the barriers to evangelism, including the barriers within our own hearts and minds, barriers within the church, and barriers in our world. Finally, in section four Barrs proposes seven principles from the New Testament that we should follow in our evangelism.
To help you make the most of this great resource, here is a simplified Four Week Study Plan to use as a Life Group or your Prayer Triad.
Week 1: Prayer is our most important calling in evangelism
Chapters 7 and 8
Focus: “unless God builds the house those who build it labor in vain” Psalm 127:1
Week 2: God is the eager evangelist
Chapters 14 and 15
Focus: Out of great love God goes through tremendous lengths to save his people.
Week 3: Barriers to Evangelism
Chapters 20 and 24
Focus: Identifying and addressing the issues that keep us from sharing the gospel.
Week 4: Sharing the Good News
Chapters 26 and 27
Focus: The content of the gospel and how we go about sharing it.
Additional Study: An in depth look at Barrs’ seven principles can be found in:
- Show respect – Chapter 28
- Build bridges to the gospel – Chapter 30
- Understand what others believe – Chapter 31
- Speak the right language – Chapter 34
- Use reasoned persuasion – Chapter 35
- Clarify the good news – Chapter 37
- Challenge the heart and mind – Chapter 38
Copies of the book are available in the church resource room. Feel free to drop by and pick up a copy. I pray that this will be an encouraging resource and a study that will challenge you to take part in the gathering of God’s people through evangelism.
Author: Rev. Wes Andrews