Category: News

How to Make Smart Staffing Decisions

Three weeks ago I participated in my first Purpose Driven Church Conference in Lake Forest, CA with Pastor Rich Warren as the host.  Wow! Practical, purposeful, encouraging and inspiring with lots of ideas shared. In this post I simply share one of the 45 minute breakout sessions dealing with choosing the right leaders as staff. […]

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Examining the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality

The 2018 General Synod of the Reformed Church in America commended the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality to churches and classes for “reflection, study, and response … as a means of deepening our understanding of the biblical teaching on human sexuality and finding a pathway forward toward unity in mission and ministry.” (The […]

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#HowToNavigateInAPolitically/RaciallyChargedCulture

Wow, that is a long hashtag, and by the way, don’t look for it on Twitter, because I am not much of a twitter guy.  However, I am a guy who is deeply concerned about the political and racial divide in our country.  We have seen this divide most recently in the emotionally charged issue […]

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Reflection on the RCA General Synod 2018

Reflection on the RCA General Synod 2018 A little over a week ago I returned from the RCA’s General Synod held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Being asked to write on my experience has forced me to intentionally reflect on the experience. I would boil my summary down to two words: Cautiously Optimistic. […]

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All Conditions of Hearts

Be merciful to those who doubt. Save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear. Jude 22 and 23. The hard facts about the work of evangelism is not everyone responds. In reference to the parable of the sower Jesus tells in Matthew 13, hearts come in all conditions. […]

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Strong Leadership Development Systems

Book Recommendation:  The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler, Bethany House Publishers 2012 In my previous posts I had the privilege to highlight the reality of the need for proper character development in Christ in order to lead in healthy ways.  In this short offering, I want to present the idea of the necessity of conviction […]

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And the Walls Came Tumblin’ Down

Growing a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church is no simple task. But it is one that is crucial to the advancing of God’s kingdom. It is just as critical as a witness to the world and to larger church. In other words, this is about more than us! A few years ago, my wife and I purchased […]

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The Logical Implications of Being “For” Something

One thing emphasized by the leaders of the Gospel Alliance is the desire to be known for what it stands for rather than what it is against. Choosing to be for something, however, always results in rejecting other choices or options. This idea of saying “yes” to something resulting in saying “no” to other things […]

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A Book Review on the Power of the 72

Lately, I’ve been reading an incredible book by John Teter titled, The Power of the 72, Ordinary Disciples in Extraordinary Evangelism. John’s goals for this book is to 1) provide a clear theological foundation for evangelism and the call to first preach the gospel to the poor; 2) present his theory of process conversion which […]

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Lately, I’ve been reading an incredible book by John Teter titled, The Power of the 72, Ordinary Disciples in Extraordinary Evangelism. John’s goals for this book is to 1) provide a clear theological foundation for evangelism and the call to first preach the gospel to the poor; 2) present his theory of process conversion which has been field-tested in America and Asia for five years, so that we know how non-Christians come to faith; 3) call us to master four ministry tasks that are central to personal evangelism; 4) prepare us for daily rejection by providing the perspective of eternal joy (p. 14).

I appreciate that this book is well-organized by being divided into two parts. The first half is theology and the second half is application. The section on theology explains the theology of ministry flowing out of being, evangelism that prioritizes the poor, and a fresh understanding of persecution and suffering. The part about application provides practical input on how to “do” evangelism with real people (p. 15).

John Teter is the senior pastor of Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Long Beach, California. He and his wife chose to plant their church in West Long Beach believing that the mission of God is to create new communities of faith that are multiethnic and multiclass. John feels a passionate call to bring the gospel to the poor. He defines these people as the vulnerable because they should be seen in a way that includes lifestyle and not just their economic reality. He says on page 40, “To solve our deepest problems, we must dive deeper into Scripture. To put it plainly, the massive gaps between races, cultures, and economic classes are in opposition to the New Testament vision of a reconciled and reconciling church.” Evangelism today sinks or swims based on the strength of relationships. The way to build trust with people is to have strong friendships. Where you live and who you do life with determines the nature of the spiritual fruit in your ministry (p. 51).

The passage of Scripture John uses as a theme for this book is Luke 10:1-20 in which Jesus is training and deploying his disciples for ministry. John makes the observation that the lives of the 72 teach us that evangelism is not just for the spiritually gifted. The good and hard work of evangelism is a call for all disciples at all times (p. 10).

In making the point about evangelism beginning with our own faith in Jesus, John writes that Jesus trained the 72 for personal evangelism. He introduced the concept of opposition and persecution, and he taught them how to respond to unbelieving and potentially hostile people (p. 25). Ministry results can be very fickle, and Jesus doesn’t want us to base our joy on things that can be taken away. True evangelism always moves from the victory, never toward the victory (p. 26).

I appreciate how John referred back to Jesus’ teaching that the 72 should rejoice that God had written their names in heaven. This promise helps us keep our perspective as we continue to proclaim the message of the gospel.

In the theology section of the book, John spends time talking about ministering out of a vibrant relationship with Jesus. He says that evangelism is a grace and a means for more grace for those who keep their souls happy in God (p. 32).

I’m glad John spent time writing about rejection. He makes and interesting point that Luke wrote seven verses in chapter 10 that are instructive, but he spent the same amount of time teaching the 72 how to handle rejection. Those of us who love God and his kingdom can forget that there people around us who will choose rejection. Even though I should expect it, this choice always surprises and saddens me. John makes some helpful comments about the Greek word, thlipsis. He quotes another pastor to provide a definition: Thlipsis is the pressure experienced along the line where kingdoms clash; along the line where the kingdom of light clashes with the kingdom of darkness; along the line where the kingdom of justice clashes with the reign of injustice; along the line where the rule of life clashes with the rule of death (p. 60). An entirely different dimension of suffering awaits the 72. We are called to operate on the fault lines between two colliding kingdoms. Living out the deeds of the faith of the 72 is the catalyst for this collision (p. 61).

I love how John associates himself and all disciples with that first group from Luke 10 known as the 72. We share in this call to proclaim the gospel and to serve on the frontlines in advancing the kingdom. And then, whether accepted or rejected, successful or failing, our names are written in heaven. John returns to that point after sharing his own stories about relating to other non-Christians.

There is so much more in this book to enjoy, learn from, and process but I will end here and encourage you to get a copy for yourself and see just how practical personal evangelism really is and how accessible it makes the kingdom of God for the non-believer.