In his book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever has written a challenge for every Christian to become involved in the Great Commission. He does so by asking and answering questions about such a task. Each chapter is titled in a question format:
- Why Don’t We Evangelize?
- What Is the Gospel?
- Who Should Evangelize?
- How Should We Evangelize?
- What Isn’t Evangelism?
- What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
- Why Should We Evangelize?
Each chapter is easy to read and full of practical examples and ideas, and he supports every idea in the book biblically. Dever speaks about the need for honesty in our evangelism (tell them the whole truth of the gospel, not just an “easy-believism” message to get a positive response). Not only do we bring the gospel to people with honesty, but also with urgency. They need to respond to God’s call now. Don’t wait. But there is also a need for joy in sharing the gospel; people need to know that this good news of a restored relationship with God will bring them great joy.
Dever’s conclusion, “Closing the Sale,” provides a great balance for us as we share the gospel. It is not our job to close the sale, to get a decision or to force a choice. God does all of that. We are called to share the message. And the book provides the reader with great ideas and challenges readers to step out in evangelism. But it is God who is going draw the person into the kingdom.
What was my big “takeaway” from this book? There are many, and one comes in the chapter on “How Should We Evangelize.” Dever does not recommend a simple, one-size-fits-all method, but rather suggests some general principles that should be a part of our personal evangelism opportunities. I particularly like two of those suggestions. First, use the Bible so that people know that you are sharing God’s plan for salvation, not your own. Second, use the church. That means not only inviting them to church, but also letting them see the church (God’s people, God’s temple) in action. Allow unbelievers to see how “attractively different” the Christian community is. What a great suggestion!
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism is a book that every Christian needs to read. You will find it easy to follow (and very easy to read!). It will challenge you. It will help you.