the years, no one has more profoundly preached the simple Gospel message in
a relevant, contemporary way to the un-churched and never-churched community
than Billy Graham. We have all watched in amazement as his messages have connected
with uncommitted hearers and led them to a personal relationship with Jesus
does God utilize Billy Graham? How do those messages connect as they do? These
questions are often asked of us on the Billy Graham Team. The most basic answer
to that question is simply that Billy Graham is intentional in preaching about
not all of us are called to preach to millions, we are all called to share the
Gospel. It is not the sole responsibility of Billy Graham, other publicly known
evangelists, or even the pastor of a local congregation. It is up to the entire
body of Christ with local pastors leading the way.
you’re thinking, “How do I preach in a way that helps my congregation recognize
their role in evangelism. Is that possible?” Yes! It is possible for pastors
to develop entire congregations that are intentional about evangelism.
look at some beginning steps you can take.
it’s passion. Remember that evangelism is not a program or event. These are
only means to an end, not the end itself. Evangelism is an overflow of what
God is doing in the hearts of His people.
evangelism is powered by prayer. Prayer is an offensive weapon – the tip
of the evangelism spear! We must be grounded in prayer as individuals, and as
congregations, that intentionally pray for the salvation of specific people.
This is where you can really have an impact on your congregation.
to all Billy Graham Crusades, local churches initiate Operation Andrew –
named for the disciple who introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus. In Operation
Andrew, pastors distribute a simple card to their congregations with space to
write seven names of others who need salvation People then commit to pray for
those listed. We often hear of hundreds who accepted Christ before coming to
the Crusade – because of Operation Andrew.
Andrew focuses on prayerfully motivated evangelism by encouraging you to:
- Look Around
your mission field where you live, work or go to school.
- Look Up
because God changes people through prayer.
- Look Out
for ways to cultivate friendships with each person with the intention of sharing
your faith. A simple invitation to dinner or a sporting event will build friendships
which can open the door to talk about Christ.
- Look Forward
by inviting those on your list to special church services. Choose a specific
date, pray and invite them.
- Look After
and encourage those who respond to Christ or even begin to show interest in
the Gospel. They need encouragement. Continue to love and pray for those who
do not respond.
how you, as the pastor, can use Operation Andrew in your preaching to develop
an evangelistic congregation.
a special service where you preach about Operation Andrew and the active step
of praying for the salvation of others. Distribute two Operation Andrew cards
to each person at the service.
people to write down the names of people for whom they are committing to pray-for
salvation. Write the same names on both cards.
people to demonstrate a tangible commitment, such as coming forward and leaving
one copy of their card in a special place at church, such as at “the
foot of the cross.” There’s nothing magical about coming forward. It’s
simply a way to help people mark this time of commitment. Keep these cards
confidential in your church.
specific follow up services where you’ll preach about prayer for the salvation
of others. Ask your congregation, in advance, to bring their Operation Andrew
cards. Spend time as a congregation praying together for the salvation of
specific services where your congregation can expect an evangelistic message.
Challenge your congregation to invite those on their Operation Andrew cards
to these specific evangelistic services.
the surface, these steps might appear simplistic. Do they work? Absolutely!
While it’s not a formula, we see through the millions who have accepted Christ
at Billy Graham Crusades that God honors prayers for the salvation of others.
evangelism is not a program; it flows from personal, Godly relationships. It’s
not an accident, but rather a matter of intention and prayer. As a preaching
pastor, you can lead your congregation into intentional evangelism.
Phillips is Vice President of Crusades and Training and Executive Director of
the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove , Asheville, NC.