Preaching And Prayer For Evangelism Tom Phillips January 1, 2004 Through 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 Christ. How 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 evangelism. While 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. Perhaps 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. Let’s look at some beginning steps you can take. First, 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. Second, 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. Prior 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. Operation 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. Here’s how you, as the pastor, can use Operation Andrew in your preaching to develop an evangelistic congregation. 1. Have 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. 2. Ask people to write down the names of people for whom they are committing to pray-for salvation. Write the same names on both cards. 3. Ask 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. 4. Schedule 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 others. 5. Schedule 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. On 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. Remember, 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. _______________Tom Phillips is Vice President of Crusades and Training and Executive Director of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove , Asheville, NC. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.