A Heart and Head for reaching the lost
Beginning soon after I became a Christian in college I became heavily involved with Campus Crusade. As part of the CCC “Central Action Group” we met to learn about our relationship with Christ, study the Bible, pray and share our faith using the Four Spiritual Laws. We were “expected” to share with others out of our love for them and the Savior. Rich was totally committed to making sure we were “humanly” prepared to tell anyone, anywhere at anytime about the power of the Gospel to save.
As president of the Campus Religious Federation for two years I became friends with several other students from every religion represented on campus. It was a great experience in tolerance, empathy and learning about others’ faith and cultures. I was a much richer person having known these fellow students and had several opportunities to talk about my own faith and beliefs.
During my “spare time” I became involved with a somewhat different approach to discipleship and evangelism by working with both the campus group of The Navigators and the Baptist Student Union. What a great exposure to “soul winning” as we used to call it.
The first time I ever shared my faith was on a beach. As I found a hapless soul several years older than me to tell the most important message mankind had ever known I stumbled and stuttered through the Gospel. As we stood there in our swim suits he kindly but firmly told me he wasn’t interested. I distinctly remember thinking that if this guy’s salvation depended on my to clearly present the Gospel he would never make it to heaven. As we huddled at the camp grounds Rich assured us all that “we were expected to be faithful, God was expected to produce the results”. I heard that about a thousand times and it still ring true today.
Before I knew it, Rich, the campus director for Crusade recruited his discipleship group of about 6 to 8 men (students) to train for a Billy Graham Crusade coming soon to our capital city. We attended classes on campus and travelled to the event on Friday night. “Mind blown!” As a fairly new believer but pretty far along in my belief God could use me to share with others we walked down to the stage where Dr. Graham offered his message to those standing on the field with us to place their faith in Christ. There we shared Steps to Peace with God.
A couple of years later Rich recruited us to become camp counselors at a Christian boys camp for the summer. We learned lots about having fun with kids, being silly and working hard. But, the big take away was learning to share out faith with kids between the ages of 10 and 15. What a blast!
After college I worked various jobs, became very involved in my local church and shared the Gospel when/where I could. Occasionally, I was asked to preach (despite my lack of training) and it changed me from within.
My work took me all around the country. I soon met my future wife and after years of being encouraged by numerous men I had great respect for considered full time ministry and we moved from Philadelphia area to Dallas for seminary.
At DTS we spent four pretty grueling but incredibly rewarding academic years learning how little we knew about God, the Scriptures and most everything else related to God and ministry. But, God was faithful. We use to joke, “Its tough to get into Dallas and almost impossible to get out!” I studied under such men as Howard Hendricks, Norman Geisler* and several other world renowned theologians, authors and preachers. All of them had a heart for the Gospel and a commitment to personally sharing it with those around them and expecting students to do the same.
Dr. Geisler* routinely required us to visit homes within a few miles of campus during the evenings and ask if we could talk to residents about Christ. My wife and I also manned the Billy Graham phone banks during several of his TV crusades.
One of many highlights was studying under Larry Moyer who founded EvanTell Ministries. His “Bad News, Good News” approach to sharing was a great way to share.
During these same years I learned Evangelism Explosion, another clear, but not always concise way to share the Gospel. Through our church of 6,000 we studied in small groups with The Navigator 2:7 Discipleship Series. A big part of 2:7 is learning to share one’s faith. Through 2:7 we learned The Bridge Illustration.
During my years as pastor I preached the Gospel from the pulpit, taught others to share their faith with those in their lives and be bold but loving. I taught others to work with Billy Graham Crusades, use The Bridge and follow up with those who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It has been quite a ride and I look forward to many years of serving the Savior as He allows.
During my pastorate I discipled many young (and several older) adults like myself. I used Nav’s 2:7 Series to train them and of course, they learned how to share the Gospel. I left the full time pastorate to go on staff with the new group Navigator’s Church Discipleship Ministry which focused on developing church leadership, starting small groups and sharing the Gospel. And always throughout most of my Christian life we were expected to tell others about Christ and salvation.
As Rich years earlier taught me I’ve attempted over the years to “share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God”.
I can’t say heaven will be crowded as a result of my efforts, both by those who “prayed” and those who didn’t. But, like others I’ve simply tried to tell others the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
My Diary: The Purpose
As a result of years of exposure and experience I hope you’ll help me bring the same to others; to help us all learn and live the truth; to deal faithfully with a culture increasingly hostile to God’ message of salvation and most of all to see others come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
At this point, it may bear repeating that it is indeed God’s loving message to man and not man’s.
I hope you’ll join me, teach me and others and learn how we can all be better at what has called each of us to as believers in Him and those saved by His miraculous power.
Soli Deo Gloria,
A Reluctant Evangelist a.k.a. Don
- It is very sad news that Dr. Norman Geisler went to be with His Savior July 2019.