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Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus (9marks: Building Healthy Churches) Hardcover – April 30, 2014
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“Anyone who knows Mack Stiles knows he would find it difficult to be boring, even if he decided to be. The book you are holding incites Christians, not least pastors, to burn to see evangelism become part of the local church’s culture, a driving component of its spiritual DNA. This book is rich in practical implications, not despite its incessant focus on Jesus and the gospel, but precisely because of such focus. It deserves to be read, pondered, and implemented.”
—D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
“The best book on evangelism would be a book that gets right to the heart of the issue and that is written by one who is himself an evangelist. In other words, it would be this book. Mack Stiles is one of the most natural, effective, determined, indefatigable evangelists that I know. I would want to know what he thinks about evangelism, whether it comes in a conversation, a letter, or an entire book. In this short volume, Mack conducts a clear and biblical exploration of how church fellowship multiplies individual evangelism. Every reader will be inspired, encouraged, and equipped to be a congregational evangelist. For the sake of the church, the gospel, and the world, this book belongs at the top of your reading list.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“God gifted Mack Stiles as an evangelist, and this book is the overflow of that gift. I know of few works that combine the theological rigor, pastoral wisdom, and personal experience that Mack packs into this short book. In places I was encouraged, in others challenged. I loved reading this book and recommend it heartily.”
—J. D. Greear, Pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; author, Not God Enough and Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart
“Mack Stiles writes about developing a culture of evangelism in a way that allows the reader to see it! We not only read the truth in this book, we drink in a vision for how our church families can live in a rich, dynamic way. This may be the shortest but most important book you ever read for the life of your church and the spread of the gospel.”
—Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, D. C.; author, What Is a Healthy Church Member?
“The church’s ancient mission to make disciples of all nations is still our top priority today. Our need to be equipped in sharing our faith is undeniably urgent. This is a book about real people learning to share the good news about a real Messiah. It is instructive, encouraging, and compelling—you won’t want to wait to apply what you learn in these pages. And if anyone knows how to equip people to speak of Jesus, it’s Mack Stiles!”
—Gloria Furman, author, Missional Motherhood and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
“I am genuinely excited about this book. Stiles’ books on evangelism are terrific because they combine practical help with theological maturity. And he actually practices what he prescribes.”
—Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, North Carolina
“Mack Stiles has written an outstanding book not just about sharing the gospel (though it is about that) or about being a personal evangelist (though it’s that, too). He’s written a book about how the local church actually helps us share the gospel—eases the burden, instructs, excites, cooperates. Read this little book and be encouraged!”
—Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; President, 9Marks
“I read this engaging book in a single sitting because I was so taken by its content and spirit. Evangelism is a primer on how the Bible addresses the crucial subject of sharing the gospel. I anticipate its wide and enthusiastic reception.”
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Plenty of books discuss individual evangelism. This one, however, zeroes in on an entire culture. Not methods or programs, but an ethos. Spread this book through your church and see what happens.”
—John Folmar, senior pastor, The United Church of Dubai
“This is a Christ-exalting, gospel-saturated book on evangelism unlike any other. Rather than giving you a personal methodology, it deeply motivates you to proclaim and bear the fruit of the revolutionary news of Jesus as a church body. And what makes it even more valuable is that I have seen Mack Stiles model the attitudinal culture he writes about on several continents to the glory of God. He is the most gifted evangelist I have seen God use (so far), bar none. Evangelism is a must read for every pastor and church member.”
—Richard Chin, National Director, Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students; South Pacific Regional Secretary, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students
“I love Mack Stiles’ vision of ‘a culture of evangelism’ permeating our churches. May God work powerfully to bring this vision to reality. This book both encourages and challenges, and, like Mack’s previous books, is a great gift and blessing to God’s people.”
—Randy Newman, teaching fellow, C. S. Lewis Institute; author, Questioning Evangelism, Corner Conversations, and Bringing the Gospel Home
“It did not take long for this book to become my favorite book on evangelism—in part because I could not put it down! The gospel is so clear and the help I received is so tangible. But let the reader count the cost. It may stir something within you that you cannot shake. I will now never be satisfied with anything less than cultivating a culture of evangelism in the church I pastor. I praise God for what he gave me through this book and I pray for more.”
—Jason C. Meyer, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota
“Imagine a local church where every member knows the gospel and walks in step with it, where all are concerned for unbelieving people, where it is natural for leaders and members to talk about evangelistic opportunities, and where members are regularly inviting unbelievers to read the Bible together or to attend small group Bible studies or Sunday services. If that sounds encouraging to you, then you’ll want to read this book and let Mack guide you step by step toward a culture of evangelism where evangelism is simply a natural outflow of the gospel life.”
—Juan R. Sanchez, Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; author, 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing Your Church
About the Author
J. Mack Stiles is CEO of Gulf Digital Solutions and general secretary for the Fellowship of Christian UAE Students (FOCUS) in the United Arab Emirates. He has worked for many years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the United States. He is the author of Marks of the Messenger and Speaking of Jesus.
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J. Mack Stiles helps Christians develop confidence in the responsibility to tell the nations about Christ in his excellent little book, Evangelism. The author rightly responds to churches who turn the evangelistic endeavor into a mere program. Rather, he encourages the church to develop a “culture of evangelism” which is “built on people filled with the power of God’s Spirit proclaiming the gospel of God’s grace in the context of their everyday lives and relationships.” The main theme, then, is built around an entirely different paradigm; a mindset that can and should dominate every local church.
Stiles endorses a modified definition of evangelism that I rather like: “Evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” Such a definition works well in the pulpit, classroom, local park, and coffee shop. Francis of Assisi may have been well-intentioned when he quipped, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” But wordless evangelism is no evangelism at all (no offense to The Wordless Book – which actually uses words, in the final analysis). Stiles speaks emphatically, “There is no evangelism without words.” Such a gospel should include important words that include God, man, Christ, and human response.
The culture of evangelism that Stiles favors emerges clearly in chapter two. The author dreams of churches committed to eleven ideals:
A Culture Motivated by Love for Jesus and His Gospel
A Culture That Is Confident In the Gospel
A Culture That Understands the Danger of Entertainment
A Culture That Sees People Clearly
A Culture That Pulls Together as One
A Culture in Which People Teach One Another
A Culture That Models Evangelism
A Culture in Which People Who Are Sharing Their Faith Are Celebrated
A Culture That Knows How to Affirm and Celebrate New Life
A Culture Doing Ministry That Feels Risky and Is Dangerous
A Culture That Understands That the Church Is the Chosen and Best Method of Evangelism
Such a culture becomes a reality when God’s people put the gospel at the center of every activity. The gospel emerges in every song, every sermon, and every classroom. In this gospel-centered culture, people are equipped – prepared and passionate about presenting Christ to lost people.
J. Mack Stiles has written a fantastic book that I commend to Christians – not only to read, but also to absorb and apply. Perhaps the harvest is just around the corner!
Path: Stiles addresses how the local church can “do evangelism” poorly, and then by clarifying terms, looking at the NT, and giving examples he shows how the church can cultivate a culture of evangelism.
Sources: Stiles uses many stories from his past and quotes from popular authors such as Packer, Keller, and Whitney.
Agreement: I really appreciated the focus on how the church works together to share the Gospel. We are not alone. As we share Christ with others, we can trust that God will use others along side of us to draw people to himself. It challenged me to think broader than handing out a tract and walking away.
Personal App: How am I pursuing individuals for gospel conversations and how am I helping others in theirs?
Favorite Quote: “If you do not know how to teach the gospel, you may not truly understand it. And if you do not understand it, you may not be a true Christian.”
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
is interested in sharing their faith.
is seeking to help their local church.
is a church member.
Other books along this theme would be:
Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Revell, 2006.
Dever, Mark. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. First Edition. Crossway, 2007.
Packer, J. I. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.
This book is well worth your money to buy and time to read and reacquaint yourself with the gospel and our duty to proclaim it!