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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, 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, DC; 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, Senior 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, Seven Dangers Facing Your Church
About the Author
J. Mack Stiles is a pastor of a church in Iraq. He used to work as CEO of Gulf Digital Solutions and general secretary for the Fellowship of Christian UAE Students (FOCUS) in the United Arab Emirates. He 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!
Describes the interaction he has had with Stiles church. Stiles is an elder. Platt met person after person who have been directly influenced by Stiles’ evangelism. Platt met people who were now spending time sharing their faith with others. He observed a church in which the “culture” of evangelism was spreading, not just people sharing their faith on occasion.
Stiles takes some time stating he is not focused on coming up with a marketing plan for evangelism nor focusing on human understanding nor arguing someone in the kingdom. Stiles states “I believe that God loves the world and has a wonderful plan for evangelism; His church.” This is the premise of the book. That God has given the duty to the church (people) to share the message of salvation. Stiles goes on to say that he is not necessarily a great evangelist but God has used him to develop this “culture” of evangelism.
1. Altar Calls and Laser Lights
1. Stiles tells the story of a time his friend and him walked up to the front of the church as his friend accepted Christ. It was commercialized and confusing. Stiles then goes on to define evangelism.
2. Stiles defines evangelism as “teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” Stiles breaks this down by saying teaching is heralding and proclaiming. The gospel is the message form God that leads us to salvation. This message includes the aim that people are persuaded, or convinced. Stiles is quick to say that persuade does not mean manipulate. The chapter goes into the four parts, (teaching, gospel, aim, and persuade) very clearly. For gospel, Stiles says, “The gospel message answers four big questions: Who is God? Why are we in such a mess? What did Christ do? And how can we get back to God?”
3. Stiles speaks of evangelism humbly in that he recognizes that God has used a variety of means to lead people to Himself.
4. Walking down an aisle or raising your hand is not the public declaration of faith the bible speaks of. The bible speaks of baptism as the means for this to occur.
5. Jesus was “engaging, but he never entertained.”
6. “The hope in evangelism is that we so steep ourselves in gospel truth and gospel living, and so apply ourselves to gospel study, that the gospel can’t help but come out of us.” p. 34
7. “Evangelists are like trained counselors who are called upon to talk to people threatening suicide. Their aim is to talk potential jumpers off the ledge. The counselors don’t use force and don’t lie. They use truth, hope, and reason to persuade. They stay calm and cool; plus, they are kind, because they know a life is at stake.” p.39
2. A Culture of Evangelism
1. Stiles begins this chapter speaking of the reasons people do not evangelize. He speaks first of fear and then people being so rooted in the church and only church activities that they sometimes don’t have interactions with outsiders.
2. Most people are brought into church and the faith through family members or friends. When Christians intentionally talk about the gospel with people they know, people get saved.
3. When the “culture” of evangelism spreads through the church it no longer becomes a burden but people get excited as they help each other out.
4. This “culture of evangelism
1. Is motivated by love of Jesus and His gospel
2. Is confident in the gospel.
3. Understands the danger of entertainment
4. Sees people clearly
5. Pulls together as one
6. Includes people teaching people
7. Models evangelism
8. People who share their faith are celebrated.
9. Knows how to affirm and celebrate new life
10. Ministry feels risky and dangerous
1. “I long for a culture of evangelism that is risky in the sense that we’re confronting culture. Mostly that means disregarding what people think of us.” p. 59
11. A culture that understands that the church is the chosen and best method of evangelism.
3. Connecting Church and a Culture of Evangelism
1. This chapter explains that the local church working together can do great things for the gospel but the local church needs to understand that the “main task of the church is to be the church.” … “the church’s role is not to run programs”
2. People need to think how they can be reaching out and not leave that to the full time ministry workers.
3. Stiles describes what a healthy church looks like and how it is Christ centered. He goes into this because we need an accurate view of the churches mission to understand where the local church plays into evangelism and equipping believers.
4. Intentional Evangelists in a Culture of Evangelism
1. Here we begin to see how Stiles’ church does evangelism. The church is active in handing out new books to lead people to Christ when they first come to the church. The Spirit leads people to work independently yet together as they share their faith.
2. Congregations are not led by guilt but by knowing they are ambassadors for Christ.
3. “Churches must treat the gospel as a way of life. Gospel centrality is crucial to a culture of evangelism.” p.88
1. We sing the gospel
2. We pray the gospel
3. We preach the gospel
4. We look for the gospel in our bible studies.
5. Actually Sharing Our Faith
1. Give yourself grace when you share
2. Meet people where they are
3. Look for open doors
4. Be compassionate
5. Remember we have answers to life’s biggest questions
6. Be intentional in your conversation
7. It’s good to ask permission to share the gospel
8. Ask lots of questions, be a good listener
9. If you know someone has an issue in life, learn about it before hand.
2. Stiles' main way he shares the gospel is by developing a friendship and asking the person if they are willing to go through the gospel of Mark. As they go through the gospel either one on one or in a small group, Stiles will share the gospel and ask pointed questions in time. He has seen many people come to Christ over the years through this method.
3. Sharing the gospel has an impact on the people who do it, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every god thing we have in Christ.” Philemon 6