Last week, we started to look at some different evangelists from the Bible. While looking at different individuals from the Bible is important and it still is, it is also good for us to look at other preachers throughout history who have made an impact when it comes to evangelism and how they have shaped evangelism going forward for us to learn from. I have mentioned Martin Luther from the Reformation Movement in 1517 who went against the Catholic Church and was letting people know about Jesus from a relational perspective. Another person that I can think of when it comes to evangelism is Issac Watts (1674-1748). When it came to Watts, he was really big into worship and how worship was supposed to be. He was known as “the father of English hymnody.” He placed heavy emphasis on this idea: “a Christian song should express the thoughts and feelings of those who sang rather than merely relate the experiences and circumstances of the psalm writers of the Old Testament.” He had a heart dedicated to worship. Another person I can think of is Dwight L Moody (1837-1899). He began a different kind of evangelism called “The Gospel Wagon.” It would be like a Sunday school bus. He had a passion for making sure that children would know Jesus at an early age and helping them grow. In 1859, his Sunday school class became the largest class in the entire Chicago area. In 1860 as a young 23 year old, he was preaching the gospel to Union soldiers during the Civil War. Eventually, he started The Moody Church in 1871. When a fire destroyed the building, he decided to travel but it eventually took a toll on him and he actually took a break from ministry in 1872. He went to England and was preaching at his friend’s church and felt like there was a disconnection between the people and the gospel. The more that he preached, the more engaged people were getting. While spending his time in England, Moody started different evangelical campaigns with Ira Sankey in 1873. The point of this story is not about sharing something about a preacher or how he preached. The point is to place emphasis on that he went across the sea to spread the word of God to all people. He was following the Great Commission based in Matthew 28:19-20. This is just one of the many examples of evangelism in the modern era. Moody was part of what was called the Laymen’s Prayer Revival from 1857-1890.
Think about yourselves for a moment: how bold are you to share the gospel? There have been people throughout the course of history who had the courage and the boldness to stand up for Jesus. We will examine and view some things in the upcoming weeks, but it’s important to examine some things from the modern era as well. Paul tells us to “examine ourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5) as well as not being ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16). When it comes for your opportunity to share the gospel, how do you respond? Fearful or courageous? If you are courageous, keep it up. If you are fearful, don’t be. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” If you say you don’t have the spirit of fear, then be bold and strong because God is with you. I challenge you to put your fears aside and surrender it to God because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Heavenly Father, I pray for Your continuous strength and wisdom as we continue to do the things that You have called us to. As we grow Your Kingdom, let us not be ashamed of it. Instead, let us embrace it and let Your word shine before others so that the darkness will flee and Your light will shine through. In Jesus name I pray, amen.