20 Quotes | The Master Plan of Evangelism

20 Quotes | The Master Plan of Evangelism

The Master Plan of Evangelism (Revell Publishing, 1986) by Dr. Robert Coleman is a classic text. Here are twenty quotes that I found particularly helpful:

When His plan is reflected upon, the basic philosophy is so different from that of the modern church that its implications are nothing less than revolutionary. (19)

Jesus devoted most of His remaining life on earth to these few disciples. He literally staked His whole ministry upon them. (27)

Having called his men, Jesus made it a practice to be with them. This was the essence of His training program—just letting His disciples follow Him…Amazing as it may seem, all Jesus did to teach these men His way was to draw them close to Himself. He was His own school and curriculum. (38)

The time which Jesus invested in these few disciples was so much more by comparison to that given to others that it can only be regarded as a deliberate strategy. (43)

Once turning to those who had followed Him for three years, Jesus said: “Ye (shall) bear witness because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:27). Without any fanfare and unnoticed by the world, Jesus was saying that He had been training men to be His witnesses after He had gone, and His method of doing it was simply by being “with them.” (44)

When will the church learn this lesson? Preaching to the masses, although necessary, will never suffice in the work of preparing leaders for evangelism. Nor can occasional prayer meetings and training classes for Christian workers do this job. Building men is not that easy. It requires constant personal attention, much like a father gives to his children. (47)

After all, if Jesus, the Son of God, found it necessary to stay almost constantly with His few disciples for three years, and even one of them was lost, how can a church expect to do this job on an assembly line basis a few days out of the year? (48)

He was training leaders for the Kingdom, and if they were going to be fit vessels of service, they were going to have to pay the price. (52)

One simply could not follow Jesus through the course of His life without turning loose of the world, and those who made a pretense of it brought only anguish and tragedy to their souls. (52)

Why is the contemporary church so frustrated in its witness to the world? Is it not because among the clergy and laity alike there is a general indifference to the commands of God, or at least, a kind of contented complacency with mediocrity? Where is the obedience of the cross? (59-60)

Evangelism was not interpreted as a human undertaking at all, but a divine project which had been going on from the beginning and would continue until God’s purpose was fulfilled. It was altogether the Spirit’s work. All the disciples were asked to do was to let the Spirit have complete charge of their lives. (66-67)

Surely it was no accident that Jesus often let His disciples see Him conversing with the Father. (73)

He just kept praying until at last the disciples got so hungry that they asked Him to teach them what He was doing. (74)

The principles of Bible exhortation were practiced before them so repeatedly that they could not help but catch on to at least some of the rules for basic Scriptural interpretation and application. (76)

All the disciples had to teach them was a Teacher Who practiced with them what He expected them to learn. (78)

To His disciples [evangelism] was a definite command, perceived by impulse at the beginning of their discipleship, but progressively clarified in their thinking as they followed Him, and finally spelled out in no uncertain terms… Christian disciples are sent men—sent out in the same work of world evangelism to which the Lord was sent, and for which He gave His life. Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. (92)

It did not matter how small the group was to start with so long as they reproduced and taught their disciples to reproduce. This was the way His Church was to win—through the dedicated lives of those who knew their Savior so well that His Spirit and method constrained them to tell others. As simple as it may seem, this was the way the Gospel would conquer. He had no other plan. (106)

The criteria upon which a Church should measure its success is not how many new names are added to the roll nor how much the budget is increased, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes. (110)

The multitudes cannot know the Gospel unless they have a living witness. Merely giving them an explanation will not suffice. The wandering masses of the world must have a demonstration of what to believe—they must have a man who will stand among them and say, “Follow me, I know the way.” Here then is where all our plans must focus. (116-117)

It does not matter how many we enlist for the cause, but how many conquer for Christ. That is why all along our emphasis must be upon quality of life. If we get the right quality of leadership, the rest will follow; if we do not get it, the rest have nothing worth following. (125)

Robert E. Coleman is Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and Discipleship at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He also served as dean of the Billy Graham International Schools of Evangelism as well as director of the Billy Graham Center Institute of Evangelism at Wheaton College.